News

Save the Date: Trinidad and Tobago Public Consultation on the Decriminalizing of Mariijuana

The Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago invites interested parties to a public consultation on the decriminalising of marijuana in the twin-isle republic.

Interested parties are required to RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The consultation takes place on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 at 1pm - 4pm in Port of Spain.

Details on the venue are forthcoming.

Cuba to expand facilities for foreign trade

HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) — Cuba will develop an integrated digital platform this year in order to facilitate foreign trade operations, which will be linked to the simplification of procedures for the export and import of goods.

The Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCE by its Spanish acronym) will provide information and will allow managing, through electronic means, the required approvals for the entry and exit of the products.

According to Vivian Herrera, an official in the ministry of foreign trade and foreign investment, the implementation of VUCE will go through several phases due to its complexity and should be fully operational by the end of 2019.

The establishment of the window, she added, responds to the commitment to trade facilitation contracted by the Cuban government before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has the technical assistance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD).

This will mean an important step forward, as until now only the electronic single window systems at the General Customs Office and the one at the Mariel Special Development Zone were operating, Herrera said.

Streamlining foreign trade operations is essential for Cuba given its economy, with a high dependence on external links, which includes the acquisition of essential items such as fuel and food.

According to the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, more than 3,000 foreign companies participate in these transactions, and the purpose is to continue diversifying the market for exports and imports.

 Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

St. Ann's Declaration on CSME

Courtesy: CARICOM

 

WE, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), meeting at Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago 3-4 December, 2018 on the occasion of the 18th Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM;

Recalling the 1989 Declaration of Grand Anse which initiated the process towards the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the signing of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in 2001, which established the CSME and the launch of the CSME in 2006;

Convinced that the CSME continues to be the most viable platform for supporting growth and development in the Member States of CARICOM;

Recognising the need to make it more closely attuned to the needs and priorities of Member States and contributing more visibly to growth and development and to the welfare of the people of the Community;

Having reviewed its progress and acknowledged that it should have been further advanced;

Having considered the “Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks”;

Having also considered the perspectives of the Member States of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS);

Underscoring the critical role of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) in supporting the CSME;

Having exchanged views with the representatives of the private sector and labour and encouraged by their commitment to the regional integration project and their recommendations for the enhancement of the CSME;

Recognising that the goal of our regional integration process is to enhance the well-being of all of the citizens of our Community;

 

DECLARE:

We are committed to take action at the national level to advance the regional integration agenda;

We are determined to ensure the equitable distribution among the peoples of the Community of the gains realised through the regional integration process;

We have agreed on a formalised, structured mechanism to facilitate dialogue between the Councils of the Community and the private sector and labour;

We have also agreed to amend the Treaty to include as Associate Institutions representative bodies of Private Sector and Labour;

We have agreed that in accordance with Article 50 of the Revised Treaty which deals with the principle of accelerated implementation, that the principle will be applied to any initiative which is consistent with the Revised Treaty;

We agreed that that those Member States so willing would move towards full free movement within the next three (3) years;

We have mandated that steps be taken to deepen cooperation and collaboration between the Secretariats of CARICOM and the OECS to avoid duplication and maximise the utility of scarce resources;

We will reinforce the operation of our security mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the regime allowing the free movement of CARICOM nationals;

We will examine the re-introduction of the single domestic space for passengers in the Region;

We have agreed to work towards having a single security check for direct transit passengers on multi-stop intra-Community flights;

We will conduct a special session on Air and Maritime Transportation at the Intersessional meeting of the Conference in February 2019 to focus on this critical aspect of integration as a whole and the CSME in particular;

We will include Agricultural Workers, Beauty Service Practitioners, Barbers and Security Guards to the agreed categories of skilled nationals who are entitled to move freely and seek employment within the Community;

We reiterate that that a skills certificate issued by one Member State would be recognised by all Member States;

We will complete legislative and other arrangements in all Member States for all categories of Free Movement of Skilled Persons;

We will finalise the regime that permits citizens and companies of the Community to participate in the Public Procurement processes in Member States by the year 2019;

We will take all necessary steps to allow for mutual recognition of companies incorporated in a CARICOM Member State;

We have mandated the Community Council to develop appropriate recommendations on the proposal for the introduction of a regime of sanctions for the consideration of the Conference;

We welcome Haiti’s commitment to full integration into the CSME by 2020;

We have appointed Professor Avinash Persaud to lead a restructured Commission on the Economy to advise Member States on a Growth Agenda for the Community

 

Other Members of the Commission on the Economy (CCE) –

Mr. Chester Humphrey
Dr. Damien King
Mr Georgy McGuire
Mr Roger McLean
Dr. Wendell Samuel
Mr. P. B. Scott
Ms. Therese Turner-Jones
Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Mr. Pascal Lamy

 

 

Joint Statement from the Fourth Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee

1. The fourth Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Consultative Committee (CC) took place on 3rd and 4th December 2018 in Castries, Saint Lucia, co-chaired from the CARIFORUM side by Dav-Ernan Kowlessar and from the EU side by Brenda King. According to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM States and the European Union, the task of the CC is to assist the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council in promoting dialogue and cooperation between representatives of organisations of civil society. The agreement also recognises the role of the CC in monitoring the implementation of all economic, social and environmental aspects of the EPA and in strengthening dialogue between representatives of civil society.

2. In order for the CC to fulfil its role and to provide added value to EPA implementation, it needs (1) the monitoring and evaluation framework to be in place and implemented, and (2) to be made aware of its budget allocation under the 11th EDF so it can (a) plan for its meetings, (b) manage its work plan, and (c) identify which organisation will act as Secretariat to the CARIFORUM side of the CC. This is vital for the CC to achieve its 3 main goals which are: (i) to be an advocate; (ii) to provide technical support and advice; and (iii) to increase visibility and awareness, inter alia via the dissemination of information.

3. The CC repeats its call for permanent observer status at the Trade and Development Committee (T&DC) in order to guarantee the timely and relevant contribution of the CC to the Joint Council.

4. The CC thanks the EU Commission for the introduction of the new facility that allowed the delegates to attend the 4th meeting of the CC. The Co-chairs welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Commission how this facility can be further improved.

5. The CC welcomed the exchange with the representatives from the CARIFORUM Directorate and from the EU Delegation to CARIFORUM at the meeting, which was valuable and appreciated, as it reflected the acknowledgement of the CC’s role in the implementation of the EPA. In addition, the CC especially welcomed the presence of the representative of the Parties from Saint Lucia at the morning session of the first day . The CC strongly encourages that this good practice continues at future meetings of the CC.

6. The CC highlights that, given the slow pace of the implementation of the EPA and the marginal benefits achieved to date, the CC therefore requests that it receives the Terms of Reference for the 2020 EPA Review as it is important that this incorporates recommendations from the previous review. The CC also wants to be an active partner in this review as it is of crucial importance to more directly involve civil society organisations to ensure that the benefits of the agreement are realised.

 

7. The CC additionally calls for this review to include detailed analyses on the impacts of the EPA on trade in goods and services as well as investments. Furthermore, the analysis needs to include the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including indicators that measure social and environmental impacts, ILO core labour standards and Decent Work.

8. The CC regrets that most CARIFORUM member countries do not yet apply the regional preference clause, which is key for promoting intra-regional trade, regional integration and the development of regional value chains. The CC strongly recommends that this be a focus for resolution in the upcoming review.

9. The CC regrets that some CARIFORUM participants were not able to obtain a Visa to attend the fourth meeting being held in a CARIFORUM member state. This brings to focus our call for implementation of the regional preference clause and the mechanisms for temporary entry of Natural persons (Mode 4).

10. On Post-Cotonou negotiations, the CARIFORUM side of the CC should contribute to the development of the future priorities for the CARIFORUM region and wants the opportunity to engage directly with the technical expert, based in Brussels, that will support this process.

11. The CC appreciates that the ‘octroi de mer’ aims to support local industries in outermost regions (ORs) until 2020. This decision is based on TFEU Article 349 which calls for specific measures to address the structural factors of these regions, namely small size, remoteness and dependency on a limited range of exports. The combination and permanency of these factors impede the development of the ORs, inter alia though diseconomies of scale. The CC aims to highlight that CARIFORUM SIDS share these same features, so this should be taken into account within the EPA implementation framework as regards Other Duties and Charges (ODCs). The CC considers that under the principle of coherence and analytical parallelism, since ‘octroi de mer’ is grandfathered under the EPA, some flexibility should remain as for the elimination of ODCs under the same circumstances and respecting a reasonable and jointly agreed framework.

12. The CC requests that the T&DC pays attention to Article 16 para. 3 of the EPA, which refers to the elimination of ODCs on EU products by CARIFORUM States by December 2018. The CC asks for an update on which CARIFORUM States have or have not, or cannot eliminate the ODCs due to economic problems and request that there is some flexibility from the EU.

13. The CC wants to facilitate a bridge between civil society organisations from Europe and the CARIFORUM region by creating an online medium to share knowledge and opportunities for capacity building, projects and programmes. We believe this will create more impactful partnerships amongst for example; employers, capital, consumers, youth and trade unions.

14. The CC notes that most EU Member States have not yet put in place the administrative arrangements to facilitate the market access granted under Article 83 of the EPA for Contractual Service Suppliers (CSS) and Independent Professionals (IPs) from CF states and requests that this be established. [see annex]

15. The CC welcomes the EU’s second Report on Implementation of EU Free Trade Agreements and notes that it confirms the initial analysis of the CC that CF Trade in Services have increased approximately seven fold between 2013 and 2016. Given the lack of disaggregated data to understand these figures, and the absence of a monitoring and evaluation framework, the CC proposes that a project be defined and managed by a CC sub-group to better understand the sub-sectors and regions that account for these changes.

16. The CC notes the recent adoption by the European Union of the Regulation (EU) 2018/848 on organic agriculture, which, amongst other changes, replaces the current import regime based on “equivalence” to a need to prove “full compliance” with EU rules and the list of authorised substances. While acknowledging the new EU rules bring clarity and improvements in certain points in the implementation of the EU Organic Regulation, the CC recommends that technical assistance is provided to help with this transition.

17. The CC purports that, in view of fulfilling its role as an advocate, it will produce regular views on topics relevant to the EPA and its operation. The dissemination to the relevant stakeholders will raise visibility, awareness and understanding of the EPA. The CC would therefore want to access the necessary resources including the existing communications infrastructure.

CAIC supports referendum to replace Privy Council as CARICOM Court of Appeal

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad - On November 6, 2018 Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada will go to the polls to vote in a referendum to determine whether to replace the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Despite calls from the Opposition Parties in Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada to reject the CCJ, the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), encourages the electorate to choose the CCJ. In this regard, a strong regional court, in the form of the CCJ, will strengthen the Caribbean Single Market and help more Caribbean companies to build global business models, and advance the Caribbean as a self-sufficient, self-reliant and mature region.

The CAIC has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OHADAC, which seeks to advance the harmonisation of business law in the Caribbean. The CAIC also represents the private sector on the CCJ Trust Fund, as well as it sits as an observer to the Working Group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). These representations and lobbies are in line with the strategic vision of the CAIC to build more sustainable, value adding and global enterprises that have strong business ethos.

As a region, we attempt to break the mental bonds of colonisation and while we have faith in and have modelled our governing, legal and judicial institutions after the British systems, we have to adapt these frameworks to be relevant and add value to the Caribbean we have become whilst looking to the future.

The LASCO Chin Foundation - A Sustainable Socio-Economic Intervention Model

The LASCO Chin Foundation (LCF) is a recently established organisation on a mission to intervene with Jamaica's at-risk youths to break the cycle of poverty and crime to become successful members of society.

The activities of the Foundation utilise a Sustainable SocioEconomic Intervention (SSI) model© that relies on effective local and international partnerships to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged youths over the long-term.

To launch the LCF in the US and to solicit international partnerships and support, we are collaborating with the Jamaican Diaspora Education Task Force in hosting two (2) events in Florida.

LCF invites interested participants to attend either of the Inaugural Benefit Galas which will be held on November 16, 2018 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, 9700 International Drive, Orlando, and on November 18, 2018 at the Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Pl, Miramar, hosted by Miramar’s Mayor Wayne Messam.

Under the patronage of Hon Lascelles A. Chin, Founder and Executive Chairman of the LASCO Affiliated Companies, the Keynote Speaker at both events will be the Most Honorable PJ Patterson, ON, OCC, PC, QC, former Prime Minister of Jamaica. Senator the Honorable Ruel Reid, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Information will be the special Guest in Orlando.

Register to attend CARIF 2018

CARIF 2018 logo

The Caribbean Infrastructure Forum (CARIF 2018), now in its third year, is the largest gathering of the regional infrastructure market on the annual calendar. The Caribbean urgently needs to modernize across its infrastructure sectors, with solutions that support growth and climate resilience.

CAIC is proud to partner with New Energy Events and IJGlobal, the hosts of CARIF 2018.

The forum will convene policymakers, utilities, financiers, and multilaterals to map out the region’s infrastructure needs, build vital relationships, and introduce world-class Caribbean projects to international sources of financing.

For more information and to register to attend visit www.newenergyevents.com/carif/attend

CAIC members qualify for a 10% registration discount. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the discount code.

CAIC to attend United Nations General Assembly Business Summit Events

At the September 2015 regular session of the UN General Assembly of Nations; all 173 members adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; a plan of action for people, planet, peace and prosperity; with an essential role spelled out for business.

Two years after its adoption and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the business community is being called upon to deliver greater action and impact.

Several events with a business focus or that engage private sector participation are being organised during and around the 73rd regular session of the UN General Assembly in New York, NY, USA during the period September 18th, 2018 to September 30th, 2018.

The CAIC, through its Head of Secretariat; Mr Dav-Ernan Kowlessar will attend the following events, and invites interested BSOs to indicate if they are attending any of the events or would wish for the CAIC to gather information or engage dialogue at any events. The full list is available at

https://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/news_events/LeadersSummit2018/UNGA-Week-2018-Business-Guide.pdf

Sep 24

10:30 am - 12 noon New Technology and mobile solutions

Co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the GSMA, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and UNDESA, this event brings together global leaders and experts from the public and private sectors to discuss how business and governments can collaborate to:

  • promote the effective and responsible use of new technologies, mobile services and innovation to accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals;  
  • close digital divides;  
  • support a sustainable planet;
  • and ensure the digital revolution leaves no one behind.

Sep 25 

4:00 pm Disrupting Climate Change

To address climate change, new technologies will need to be commercialized across a wide array of industries, yet securing the necessary financing to support such development remains a key hurdle in the energy transition. The conversation will be exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with financing new low-carbon technologies. Business leaders will share the work their companies are undertaking to develop new technologies, and discuss ways in which the financial sector and industry are partnering to advance these efforts.

Sep 26

3:00 pm to 7:30 pm Africa: Open for Business Summit 

The African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN), the UN Senior Africans Group, and the African Union Commission, and the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Global Partnerships Forum (GPF), with support from the United Nations Department of Public Information, will host the Africa: Open for Business Forum at the United Nations during the high-level debate in September to showcase the leadership of the African continent in addressing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Agenda 2063.

The private sector has been influential in the development of Africa’s economy, particularly in regard to the Sustainable Development Goals. Private equity players invested $3.8 billion in 145 deals across Africa in 2016, supporting initiatives ranging from agriculture and energy to healthcare and financial sectors. Many investment monoliths point out that investing in “social good” creates an even bigger return. Investing in Africa, as many have already realized, creates social good and financial return – the goal of impact investing.

The Africa Open for Business Summit Is a two-part Initiative, starting with the New York launch in September 2018, followed by the First Africa-Diaspora SDGs Summit, to be held later in Banjul, The Gambia. The Africa-Diaspora SDGs Summit will convene mayors and elected officials, youth international intergovernmental organization officials, educators, artists and intellectuals, the private sector and civil society, with a view towards Achieving Public Understanding of the SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063 through Education, building on the outcomes of the Africa: Open for Business Summit.

Sep 27

8:30 am Moody’s Climate Week Briefing

Hosted by Moody’s Investors Service in partnership with the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI), the Climate Week Briefing will focus on the risks that the climate change poses on corporations and governments, and the role of the green bond market in promoting a low carbon economy. Moody’s analysts will address carbon emission mitigation, it’s approach to green bond assessments, and the impacts expected from the green bond issuances which Moody’s has assessed to date.

Senior executives from the industry and Moody’s senior analysts will hold lively discussions on the following:

  • • The credit risks corporate sectors face as a result of carbon transition
    • The impact of physical climate risks on public finance issuers
    • How municipalities are incorporating green infrastructure and sustainability projects into critical programs 

5:30 pm to 9:00 pm Regional Action on Environmental Democracy to fulfill vision of 2030 SDGs

"Regional Action on Environmental Democracy to Fulfill the Vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda” is an event to enable dialogue and inspire countries to sign and ratify the Escazú Agreement, a historic binding treaty on environmental democracy for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasizing the rights of vulnerable people and environmental defenders. The Agreement opens for signature on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. The event is hosted by the Governments of Costa Rica and Chile and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and co-sponsored by The Access Initiative, Amnesty International, Civicus, Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), Namati, Open Society Foundation, and World Resources Institute.

Request for Submissions of Interest

The Caribbean Policy Development Centre is commissioning a research paper under the auspices of the CARIFORUM Consultative Committee of the Economic Partnership Agreement.  This research aims to assess the status of trade in services within the Economic Partnership Agreement with reference to access by Caribbean service providers to European markets. Specific attention will be paid to access to markets by small to medium sized service providers in the CARIFORUM region. 

Terms of Reference: http://docdro.id/IpJbJxs

Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (UTC/GMT-4) on Wednesday 20 June, 2018.

 

Courtesy: CPDC

Caribbean bankers urge readiness for the EU’s general data protection regulation

CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Caribbean Association of Banks urges Caribbean-based entities that interact with data on European Union (EU) citizens to implement the necessary systems and processes for compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All entities that interact, in any way, with EU persons or their data, including (but not limited to) hotels, financial institutions, hospitals, airlines and professional services firms should be assessing whether GDPR applies to them.

GDPR is a comprehensive data privacy law that applies to businesses handling personal data of EU individuals, regardless of the businesses’ location or the occurrence of a transaction. GDPR covers all personal data such as emails, telephone details, ID cards, passport information, website cookies, etc., and this list is non-exhaustive. Entities are expected to be compliant with GDPR by May 25, 2018. Failure to comply has far reaching implications for entities and their business operations.

It is important to note that, if an entity does not comply with GDPR and its requirements, they expose themselves to significant penalties and fines.

If an entity is in breach of highly important data the resultant fines are:

• Up to 4% of its global gross turnover or,
• EUR 20 million (US$24.8 million)

If an entity is in breach of any other data the resultant fines are:

Up to 2% of its global gross turnover or,
EUR 10 million (US$12.4 million)

According to a Deloitte GDPR Benchmarking Survey only 15% of organizations surveyed expect to be fully compliant by May 2018, with many scrambling to implement appropriate measures.

The CAB strongly recommends that Caribbean financial institutions and other entities that interact with EU-citizen data assess their responsibilities under GDPR and put the necessary systems in place to avoid the negative consequences of non-compliance with GDPR.

 

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

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