The 23rd Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) was opened on Thursday at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, in Georgetown.
Under the Chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Haiti, Lener Renauld, the forum got underway with representatives of the 16 participating states.
Chairman of CARIFORUM, Lener Renauld
Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge
The Caribbean Forum is a subgroup of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and serves as a base for economic dialogue with the European Union (EU). It was established in 1992 and has a membership of the 15 Caribbean Community (Caricom) states, along with The Dominican Republic.
Renauld’s delivery on Thursday at the forum was in French. He said it was a requirement at any CARIFORUM meet. But speaking with the media immediately after, the Chief-of-Staff of Haiti’s President said that there needs to be some coordination between countries of the Caribbean.
“We have to strengthen the coordination among ourselves and we want to find out in the meeting what are the difficulties we can confront together, in order to improve our relation with the European Union, mainly the cooperation relation and the long-term relation. We have to get a new relation with the EU and we are working towards that,” he told media operatives.
Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said CARIFORUM Member States continue to pursue their inclusive human, social and economic development in an environment characterised by tradition of sound democracies, stable political environments and solid human rights and governance practices. He said the political environment continues to be characterised by free and fair elections, peaceful retention or changes in Government and recourse to the judicial system to resolve related problems.
Greenidge said however, that the implementation of development initiatives in CARIFORUM continues to be challenged by the Region’s vulnerabilities and exposure to external factors including climate change, financial, economic and other measures taken by developed countries, insecurity occasioned by transnational crime, trade in illicit drugs and small arms as well as social dislocation at the community level.
He said “in addressing these issues, CARIFORUM states have resorted to a number of political, economic and social initiatives. The prospects for the future include continued observance of democratic traditions, deepening of regional political level cooperation, and deepening of involvement in hemispheric arrangements”.
Greenidge said CARIFORUM states face serious challenges to economic resilience and have found it difficult to recover rapidly to either internally or externally generated shocks.
CARIFORUM was formally established through the signing of the Georgetown Agreement in Guyana in 1975, shortly after the signing of the Lomé Convention. The Lomé Convention was an international aid and trade agreement between the ACP and the European Community (EC). It was renegotiated and renewed three times. The ACP/EU Cotonou Agreement had a first revision in 2005.