Mr. Holness was speaking on Tuesday morning at the opening of the 30th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which is being held in St. Kitts and Nevis, 26–27 February 2019.
He gave a quick overview of some of the achievements and commitments made during his time as Chairman of the Conference, speaking first of hosting the39thRegular Meeting of the Conferencewhich was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in July 2018. Mr. Holness said that during the Conference, a “giant leap forward” was made in response to the concerns of CARICOM Member States with regard to being treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
He explained that Procedures on the Refusal of Entry were adopted with an agreement to implement them by August 2018.
He further outlined that during the same meeting, Member States demonstrated their commitment to ensure that the free movement of skills provisions in theCaribbean Single Market and Economy(CSME) Regime not only worked for the principal beneficiaries, but also for their families, through the signature of the Protocol on Contingent Rights.
Following the 39thConference, the Heads of Government met in September in a Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee chaired by Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon. Mia Mottley, and again in a Special Session in December 2018, where they had further discussions regarding the Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica's Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks (CRCC) and implementation of the CSME.
"The meeting was graciously hosted by Prime Minister Rowley in Port-of-Spain and delivered the St. Ann’s Declaration, which cemented our resolve that we must give impetus to the CSME. Among other decisions accordingly, we reclaimed the objective of economic growth and development and emphasized the central role of the private sector and labour in assisting the Region on this path," the Outgoing Chairman said.
Other achievements outlined by PM Holness included a decision to add Agricultural Workers and Security Guards to the agreed categories of skilled nationals who will be entitled to move freely and seek employment within the Community. He also confirmed that Beauty Service Practitioners and Barbers can move and work as artistes.
Strategic engagement with external partners was another area of focus, and, according to Mr. Holness, that was the reason much of his attention was geared towards strengthening relations with bilateral, regional and international development partners.
This, he said, included engagements with the Presidents of Chile and Cuba during the 39th Heads of Government Meeting, as well as representing the Community at theBRICS Plus Summitin Johannesburg, and at theG20 Summitin Buenos Aires, both of which he described as fruitful engagements.
In concluding, he said that Jamaica was honoured to have been entrusted to serve as Chair and gave his commitment to continue working to deliver prosperity for the Region.
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