News

CAIC to sign MOU with CARPHA

The forty-eighth regular meeting of COTED kicks off today with an opening ceremony at 10:00am in Guyana and continues tomorrow.

On the agenda for discussion taken from the Meeting of Officials held on April 11-12, 2019 are the implementation of the CSME, intra regional trade, as well as external economic relations and trade relations.

Over the next two days, the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce, represented by President Ramesh Dookhoo will sign an MoU with CARPHA to improve the competitiveness of Caribbean businesses through the strengthening of health in Caribbean socieities.

"The Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) is committed to influencing and shaping the Caribbean private sector as a world class brand that is competitive by becoming more innovative and productive in a resilient environment. To achieve this, the productivity of our workforce in both the goods and services sectors must be grounded in a healthy culture supported by the appropriate health infrastructure.
 
We are committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Goals for the region and through this relationship with CARPHA and other agencies we are focused on Goal 3 – Good health and well-being, Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth, Goal 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure, and Goal 17 – partnerships to achieve the goal.
" - Ramesh Dookhoo, CAIC President
 

Public Consultation - Evaluation of the CARIFORUM EU EPA

The European Commission is conducting public consultations where you can express your views on aspects of EU laws and policies before the Commission finalises its proposals.

Stakeholders directly affected by the Agreement include: -
 -Businesses (including SMEs) in the Caribbean and in the EU, including from agricultural and fisheries sectors, as well as agro-industry and other manufacturing sectors, industry, and services providers;
 -Business organisations, associations and chambers of commerce in CARIFORUM and in the EU at regional, sectoral, national or local level;
 - Workers representatives and trade unions in the Caribbean and the EU;
 -Citizens/individuals, workers, consumers in CARIFORUM and the EU, including Outermost Regions;
Further stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Agreement, for instance:
 -Public authorities: at EU, Member State and local level in the EU, and at federal, state and municipal level in CARIFORUM countries;
 -NGOs and other civil society organisations, including trade unions and organisations representing consumer, environmental, social, and human rights issues, in the EU and CARIFORUM;
Other stakeholders interested in trade policy, for instance:
 -Academia, research institutions, experts, think-tanks and consultancies in the EU and in Cariforum.

For more information and to respond to the questionnaire, click here

CAIC welcomes the Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce to give its collective voice to Regional Private Sector concerns

The voice of the Caribbean Private Sector is strengthened by the formation of the Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce (CARICHAM), which was launched on April 1-2, 2019 in Barbados. The Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) congratulates the CARICHAM members for coming together to engage in areas of disaster risk reduction (DRR), transportation, trade facilitation and promotion, advocacy and membership value creation, as well as knowledge sharing and best practices.

With the CARICHAM designed to foster constructive partnerships, it is hoped that the Network will partner with the CAIC to influence the private sector in its role to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and further the work towards the development of better societies in the region, whilst promoting our productive sectors globally.

The CAIC would like to engage with CARICHAM on the following: -
• Dispute Resolution and Harmonisation of Business Laws through the OHADAC and Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that would allow for FAIR intra-Caribbean trade and increase the ease of doing business within the region, making it attractive for foreign and local direct investment.
At the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) the CAIC has represented the region in influencing deliberations on Investor-State Dispute Relations and the reduction of legal obstacles faced by MSMEs, to which we welcome inputs from the Network.

• The CAIC sees room for collaboration in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction and climate change, for which the CAIC has been the Caribbean champion with its partner Latin American Economic System (SELA) whose focus is to incorporate Business Continuity as a strategic module in business planning. We believe that business continuity is integral post-disaster to allow manufacturers and suppliers of goods and services to minimise disruptions in exporting and diminish the national economic effects.

• To aid the region in achieving the SDGs, the CAIC through its partnerships with the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) and Caribbean Public Health Agency, along with engagement from the Network to deploy capital can lead to the realisation of decent work standards for labour and the development of healthier societies.

• A healthier society can be achieved and the region’s ranking in supply and value chain can be increased if the CAIC and CARICHAM engage to move the development of the region away from a ‘ready market’ for the rest of the world to diversify the economies from Agriculture to Agri-Business, moving away from energy sector declines to the commercialisation of knowledge transfer in the oil and gas sectors.
There are several other initiatives that the CAIC is engaged in with the objective of innovative, sustainable, and viable economies for the region. To this end, we have lobbied for and given support to organs of CARICOM, CARIFORUM and non-political Caribbean organisations, for it is in their success that the region can be truly united with a negotiating force that will reap choice benefits for the Caribbean.

The CAIC is eager to welcome CARICHAM and other interested parties to lend their support towards the development of sustainable economies in the region. Partnering with Academia through the UWI in pursuit of Public Private Academic Partnerships (PPAP), the CAIC views each stakeholder as integral to propel the region forward in the creation of an innovative environment and the transformation of our economies.
Another area close to our hearts is building on Legacy Foundations in the region and recognises the work being done in Jamaica by Lascelles Chin, ensuring that we are not fully dependent on IFIs for our future but rather, the private sector can invest and reinvest in the future of our societies and generations to come.

Building “Brand Caribbean” is the internationally recognised Cricket West Indies (CWI). Cricket is at the bedrock of the Caribbean and is to date the most successful organisation to unify the region. Nevertheless, CWI does not exist on its own and thus the CAIC supports the CWI in its launch of the ‘WI’ (pronounced “WE”) brand. Outside of the players and the game there is the commercial aspect of cricket, which creates an opportunity for the private sector to get involved to increase the success of the representing teams by investing and developing the regional team, which will be returned in exposure and overall improvement in society.

There is an increase in service providers in the region and while the CAIC has begun discussions at the level of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee and the ACP to place services on the agenda, we welcome more coordinated support from CARICHAM given their embracing of other BSOs. We suggest that a Cooperative model of advocacy be utilised to ensure that each organisation has an equal vote, which is a direction the CAIC has been heading in. We trust that the Network in its open invitation to other BSOs will give support for the services sector with tangible mechanisms to trade specifically in Modes 3 and 4. This will allow professionals to easily access work in the EU, North America and intra-ACP. It will also encourage and incentivise entrepreneurs to export via a commercial presence in the European and North American markets.

The formation of the Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce is similar to the Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions. We believe that despite the differences between product and service, the aim of developing sustainable Caribbean economies should take precedence and the parties will leverage on each other’s strengths and create opportunities with the volume of businesses regionally represented by another of our partners Caribbean Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (CASME), Small Business Associations and non-traditional BSOs.

The CAIC remains committed to serving the Caribbean private sector with our advisory services, negotiation and advocacy through objectivity and transparency, devoid of political and personal interference that the CAIC and similar organisations can fall prey to.

High-Level Dialogue Between ACP Non-State Actors (NSA) ACP States and the ACP on the ACP-EU Negotiations for a Post-Cotonou Treaty

COMMUNIQUE/DECLARATION
High-Level Dialogue Between ACP Non-State Actors (NSA) ACP States and the ACP on the ACP-EU Negotiations for a Post-Cotonou Treaty
Brussels, Belgium: 8th March 2019

1. The High-Level Dialogue between the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group and the Non-State Actors in the ACP, was held in  Brussels, Belgium on 7th and 8th March 2019. The meeting participants were drawn from the Executive team of the Civil Society Forum, the Steering Committee of the ACP Non-State Actors (ANSA) and other NSA representatives invited by the Council of Ambassadors. It would be recalled that the ACP had convened meetings with Civil Society in the region which led to the formation of the ACP Civil Society Forum (CSF) since 2001. This Dialogue is the second ACP official engagement with the broader scope of Non-State Actors (NSA) since the first NSA actors meeting in October 2017.

2. ACP Non-State Actors (ANSA) and the ACP Civil Society Forum came under the umbrella comprising the Private Sector Organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media, Labour Unions, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), the Academia, etc., from various ACP Countries. The aim was to bolster and renew the commitment of Non-State Actors, who work together to deepen partnerships, and are committed to building on ACP UNITY to generate mutually beneficial outcomes on common intersected priorities.

3. The Dialogue which is the first formal interaction between the ACP and NSAs since the launch of the ACP-EU post-Cotonou negotiations in September 2018, benefited from technical presentations by the ACP Secretariat, the Committee of Ambassadors, and robust interactions and debate that deepened knowledge arising from the ACP-EU relations and implications for the economy and future, with emphasis on specific strategic priorities such as: Environmental Sustainability, climate change and sustainable management of natural resources, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development, and Security, human rights, and good governance.

At the end of the Dialogue, the following key resolutions were arrived at:
i. WE recognize the objective of a new Agreement that consists of a Foundation and three regional partnerships; yet we stand UNITED as Non-State Actors of ACP and agree to work together towards a common agenda.
ii. WE commend the ACP Secretariat for initiating and organizing the meeting especially at such a time in the history of ACP-EU cooperation and post-Cotonou Agreement relationship. We want to reemphasize the commitment of ANSA towards advancing sustainable and inclusive development andimplementation of the post-Cotonou and UN Sustainable Development Agendas.
iii. WE welcome the ACP Negotiating Mandate for a Post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement with the European Union, which was adopted on 30 May 2018 by the 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers held in Lome, Togo. The Dialogue recognizes the importance of utilizing existing priorities such as those agreed under the negotiating directives for a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Its Member States of the one part, and with countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the other part.
iv. WE commend the ACP and EU negotiators for the progress made to date, and encourage them to ensure that the future ACP-EU relations reflect and respond to global challenges, and address the regional specificities and priorities of ACP people at large. To this end, we urge that the priorities articulated by the Pacific ACP region which underscored the need for a genuine and durable partnership founded on the principles of mutual respect and cooperation, should be taken into account in the negotiations.
v. WE collectively highlight the need to further strengthen the long-standing relationship between the ACP and the NSA's, through a partnership underpinned by Article IV and Article VI of the current Cotonou Partnership Agreement. In addition, common areas of strategic interest focused not only on civil rights and political movement but also on economic development and capacity building.
vi. WE specifically request an institutional provision and adequate and predictable funding in the new partnership beyond 2020, focusing on sustainable capacity building support for civil society and private sector engagement. We underscore the resilience and commitment of the ACP Secretariat towards ensuring the ACP Non-State Actors are given a rightful place, but officially request a visible position to participate in the Operational Committee that will be set up by the Ministerial Council as a key Actor to enhance coherence and implementation on the reformed institutional architecture to govern Post-Cotonou agreement.
vii. Having examined the contents, technical details, status and outcomes of the post-Cotonou Agreement negotiations so far, WE further commend and express confidence in the ACP negotiators for keeping faith with pro-poor and development-oriented focus that takes into account the state of the ACP region and her populations in the negotiations. We note with delight that the ACP negotiators have learnt lessons from the previous Agreements and their implementation outcomes which had lopsided results tilted against the ACP States.
In order to further strengthen and deepen the gains of the negotiations so far, WE canvass the following positions and recommendations:


a. WE Commend the ‘single undertaking’ approach and the insistence on changing the ‘Donor- Recipient’ approach taken by the ACP negotiators; nonetheless, taking into account the varying development status and imbalance in economic weights between the two parties (ACP and the EU) in the negotiations, WE urge the negotiators not to lose sight of the consideration of Special and Differential Treatment provisions that would give adequate protection to the citizens of the ACP.
b. WE are satisfied with the positions taken by the ACP negotiators on thematic issues such as political dialogue, Democracy and Human Rights principles, Peace and Security, Access to Productive Resources, Policy Coherence, and Migration; nonetheless, WE further urge them to remain focused to insist on: (i) mutual dialogue that considers the plight of the ACP citizens,
(ii) the importance of value chain development approach to agriculture and the protection of extractives and other raw materials from ACP countries, (iii) resistance to the unilateral imposition of sanctions and or the use of divide and rule approaches (as supported by Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement), (iv) emphasis on practical integration of economic and social rights as integral part of human rights as encapsulated in the UNDHR and other International Instruments, (v) the capacitation of NSAs working on ECOSOC Rights in order to facilitate the empowerment of the ACP population and the reduction of poverty in accordance with the  ustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and (vi) the mutual removal or relaxation of visa restrictions among ACP and ACP-EU, for business actors and tourism to encourage trade, Foreign and local Direct Investment and investment protection.
c. WE note with dissatisfaction that ACP Non-State Actors were recognized only on paper during the lifespan of the Cotonou Agreement till date, despite the clear provisions of Articles IV and VI of the Cotonou Agreement that accorded full recognition as partners. To this end, WE call on the ACP Secretariat and Negotiators to accord full and practical recognition to the ACP NSAs in the post-Cotonou era by ensuring the institutionalization and creation of adequate structure and funding to facilitate the operationalization of activities of ACP NSAs (like their counterparts in the European Union) in preparation for the effective participation in the implementation and monitoring of the post-Cotonou Agreement.
d. WE further call on the ACP Secretariat, the Committee of Ambassadors and other relevant Institutions of the ACP to consider the selection of 2 representatives of the Non-State Actors (each from Private sector and Civil Society) with requisite knowledge and experience to be part of the ACP post-Cotonou Negotiating Team in order to give full expression to the provisions of Article IV and VI of the Cotonou Agreement. WE also call for the inclusion of the NSA representatives in the negotiation process for the regional protocols. This would further strengthen the ACP NSAs capacity but also facilitate and deepen the integration of and benefit from practical field experiences, especially from the private sector and civil society perspectives.
e. WE note the plan of the EU to replace the EDF with Neighbourhood and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) as a funding mechanism. We however caution that the NDICI should be an improvement on the EDF, in terms of its funding and focus. We call for the
consideration of the development effectiveness principles, appropriation, managing for development results, mutual accountability and partnerships in all of the development cooperation instruments of the post-Cotonou.
f. WE call for the consideration of the following in the technical issues of the post Cotonou Agreement negotiations, namely: (i) the need for provision of more responsive development finance for the benefit of SMEs, especially given that majority of the ACP private sector operators are within the SME bracket, (ii) effective development of trade infrastructure such as transport - road, rail and air, telecommunications and innovative technologies, etc. to aid rural development, (iii) the reduction of importation of finished products in order to facilitate jobs in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, encouraging ACP industrialization, (iv) the avoidance of conflicting commitments particularly in the areas of scope and schedule of trade liberalization and commitment to new issues such as e-commerce, etc. and (v) the imperative of discussing Mode 4 of Services in order to achieve the nexus between trade and migration to benefit the ACP youthful population.
g. WE recognize the diversity of membership and shades of operation of Non-State Actors (namely; civil society organizations, NGOs, Labour Unions, Private Sector, Media, Academia and CBOs, etc), and the need to guarantee inclusive process and popularization of information among the citizens, WE call on all members of the ANSA privileged to attend/participate in the Brussels meeting to ensure proper and effective dissemination of the report/outcomes of the meeting to other Non-State Actors at regional, National and local levels.
h. WE urge the ACP to consider securing a sustainable funding window (5-year development funding) for Non-State Actors to activate Social Investment Programmes targeted at startup/youth employment facilities that jump-start capacity building, entrepreneurship growth and value chain development among actors in Member States. WE further commit to engaging amongst the ACP private sector to develop sustainable reinvestment into our ACP in the forementioned programmes through innovative solutions such as Indigenous Legacy Foundations.
viii. Delegates at the Dialogue expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General of the ACP – HE Dr Patrick Gomes, ASG Leonard-Emile Ognimba and all staff of the ACP Secretariat, as well as the Committee of Ambassadors for approving and facilitating the platform for ACP Non-State Actors to meet. Finally, given the value of these dialogues, we appeal for more formalized, regular meetings.
ix. On this International Women’s day, Delegates felicitate with and congratulate women across the ACP and EU.

GIZ, CARPHA support game changing coral restoration project in St. Lucia

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, April 3, 2019 – The German International Cooperation (GIZ) in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is providing support for a major coral restoration project in Soufriere, St. Lucia. The aim of this project will be to restore populations of Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) corals at sites inside the marine managed area to accelerate the recovery of these important ecosystems that sustain livelihoods in tourism and fisheries for St. Lucia. The current focus will be to establish a sustainable recovery plan for these critically important fast-growing branching corals.

The project is being implemented through the CLEAR Caribbean and the Sandals Foundation of St. Lucia and is a scale up of a pilot coral restoration project (CORELLO Project) which began in 2017 with the Sandals Foundation and the Caribbean Development Bank working in close collaboration with the Department for Fisheries and the Soufriere Marine Management Association (SMMA).

The launch of phase II of this project entitled: “The Public-Private Partnership for the Saint Lucia Coral Restoration Programme for Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainable Livelihoods” took place on Wednesday March 13th at the Sandals Foundation Dive Center in Castries. Addressing the audience at the launch event, Lyndon Robertson, Head of the Environmental Health and Sustainable Development Department, CARPHA, explained the link between environmental health and protecting human life. He highlighted that the CATS Programme, implemented jointly between GIZ and CARPHA, was delighted to formalize a vibrant Public-Private Partnership with CLEAR Caribbean and the Sandals Foundation as a model for tackling environmental restoration programmes and ecosystem based adaptation efforts, disaster risk management and the creation of sustainable livelihood initiatives that supports natural resource management. He described the value of this Public-Private Partnership as ensuring sustainability for interventions beyond the lifespan of the project. This approach has the benefit of engaging local partners usually with livelihood outcomes.

Once implemented, the project is expected to provide technical vocational training to fishers, equipment for key stakeholders including dive shops and fishers, to encourage local ownership and sustainability. The project will be developed as an activity that tourist and recreational divers can actively engage in with the goal to generate income and financial viability over the life of the project.

Phase one of the project focused on the establishment of coral nursery structures in the Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) where more than 2,000 fragments of Elkhorn and Staghorn coral were propagated and grown. Phase two will focus on the establishment of additional nurseries, training and outplanting to selected sites within the MMA. A water quality monitoring programme will also form part of this collaboration.

WHY IS CORAL RESTORATION IMPORTANT?
Coral reefs are commonly held in awe for being beautiful underwater fixtures that make the ocean more colourful and vibrant. However, their role in the marine environment is much more profound. Widely known as “rainforests of the sea” coral reefs are integral to the survival of many species of marine life
providing habitats and nurseries to approximately 25% of the ocean’s fish and other organisms.

Established coral reefs serve as natural barriers against wave action. The branching species are noted for dissipating wave energy and for protecting vulnerable shorelines. In a 2014 study entitled “The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation” the authors write that “Coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97%” (Ferrario et al.). Coral reefs also contribute immensely to biodiversity and ecosystem resilience which is critical to climate change adaptation in the region.

Despite these benefits, the health of coral reef systems around the world and in the Caribbean are in a decline. Globally, there has been a 40% loss of corals reef systems in the last 30 years. In the Caribbean region by contrast, which was 9% of the world’s reefs, at present only supports about one-sixth of its original coral cover. This is alarming and the impacts of climate change, water pollution, overfishing, sedimentation and disease further threaten the survival of many coral species. In the 1980s for example, White band disease killed over 95% of the Caribbean’s Elkhorn and Staghorn coral colonies.

The loss of coral reef systems also has serious economic implications for Caribbean economies. The sustainability of coastal fisheries and tourism is highly dependent on the intactness of these reef systems. Human assisted out-planting will serve to promote sexual reproduction and biodiversity of the regions reef systems which is one of the main goals of the restoration programme.

As a result, the overall aim of The Public-Private Partnership in Coral Restoration Programme for Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainable Livelihoods project is to promote an ecosystem based adaptation approach to addressing resource management and climate change in St Lucia with an element of sustainable livelihood embedded in these efforts.

For more information contact:

Malika Thompson
Communications Officer
Phone: 758 452 2501
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CDB Ramping up Research to Address Caribbean Region’s Challenges

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday February 11, 2019 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is ramping up its research activity to help regional Governments better tackle challenges related to environmental sustainability, economic and fiscal resilience, and implementation.

“Taking it a step further, this year, the Bank proposes to publish research that focuses on assessing and measuring the vulnerability and resilience of our Borrowing Member Countries. This work will improve the measurement and therefore the utility of the index as one of the tools CDB uses to allocate our most concessional resources,” said CDB’s Director of Economics Dr Justin Ram.

The Director stressed the urgent need for reform and action to build macroeconomic resilience, environmental sustainability, productivity and competitiveness, and human capacity—a position outlined in the Bank’s study, entitled A Policy Blueprint for Caribbean Economies.

Reviewing the economic support CDB provided to help countries build resilient economies and societies, the Director highlighted investments in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

In Anguilla, CDB provided an initial US$5.6 million hurricane recovery support loan to help the Government meet external debt payments. The Bank followed this with a US$9.3 million exogenous-shock policy-based loan (PBL), which aims to restore fiscal sustainability and enhance the country’s resilience against natural disasters.

The BVI benefitted from an emergency relief loan of US$67 million which CDB approved in December 2017. The Bank expanded this support with a US$50 million PBL in March 2018.

Ram noted that economic and financial volatility and uncertainties were at play in a number of BMCs.

“As such, building economic and fiscal resilience and the shoring-up of financial buffers were high priorities of the Borrowing Members and the Bank,” he said.

One such intervention included a US$75 million PBL to the Government of Barbados to support implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Programme.

The Bank is also working to assist BMCs in improving their implementation rates, another issue underlying the region’s economic and social challenges. This challenge is outlined in Implementation: Delivering Results to Transform Caribbean Society, a research product the Bank published last year.

“One reason why our development goals tend to be difficult to achieve is that transformation in this region is usually a slow process. Implementation rates for public projects are as low as 20 per cent in some countries. In 2017, the Bank was keen to better understand, and propose solutions for addressing these implementation challenges. In doing so, we investigated regional and global best practices for achieving quicker and better development results,” stated Ram.

Subsequently, the Government of St Lucia approached CDB for assistance and is now benefitting from a US$5 million project to support the establishment of an Implementation and Delivery Mechanism.

Dr Ram said the Bank’s research which includes forthcoming publications on digital transformation and regional energy markets, worked alongside the Bank’s economic interventions as tools in building stronger economies and accelerating economic transformation in the region.

“Transformation requires, fiscal discipline, human development, environmental resilience and an improved business environment. Our publications seek to provide our policymakers with the tools needed to chart this transformational path,” he stated.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

You don't talk for us

THE 15-country strong Caribbean Community (Caricom) has written to Secretary General of the Organisation of the American States (OAS) Luis Almagro Lemes calling on him to make it clear that he did not speak on their behalf when he recognised Juan Guaido, the head of the Venezuelan National Assembly, as the interim president of Venezuela.

Caricom is seeking to distance itself from Almagro’s position as it views its role in the Venezuelan leadership crisis as non-intervention, non-interference and is hoping to have the matter resolved diplomatically.

In a letter dated January 31, Dr Timothy Harris, Caricom chairman and Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, explained that Caricom held an emergency meeting on January 24, one day after Venezuela’s National Assembly voted to declare Guaido as the country’s interim president, and mandated him to write Almagro “to express our disapproval and grave concern that you in your capacity as Secretary-General, have adopted, by recognising the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido as interim president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”.

 

Courtesy: Trinidad Express

Caribbean rum producers move to protect intellectual property

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Caribbean rum producers met in Barbados recently to discuss how best to protect the intellectual property behind regional rums.

The attending members of the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) heard from several experts, including Francis Fay, head of geographical indications in the European Union Commission and Bernard O’Connor, a well-respected international attorney on intellectual property and author on geographical indications.

The half-day panel discussion examined the establishment of geographical indications (GIs) for rums from individual countries. Several in the grouping — Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Guyana – are close to or have already established national GIs for their products. Participants also discussed ways to protect and advance the reputation of the authentic Caribbean rums produced by WIRSPA members.

Speaking at a reception and tasting of member brands, Komal Samaroo, chairman of the grouping and head of the Demerara Distillers conglomerate, observed that while the industry was one of the oldest in the region, its future potential was considerable. Already the largest agro-based export earner after minerals for CARICOM/CARIFORUM states, it is also its premier export product with an international reputation for quality.

Protecting this heritage and developing the opportunity, said Samaroo, called for careful management of the intellectual property intrinsic to the value of the product. The panel discussion and the view of the international experts were that a participatory approach based on broad consensus was a key factor in successfully realising the potential of the industry in the global market.

Also speaking at the event, minister for agriculture and food security for Barbados, Indar A. Weir, gave his government’s commitment to supporting the industry, to achieve its full potential in the international market.

The Caribbean is widely regarded as the ‘home’ of rum and where the word ‘rum’ was first coined. Its countries have long been famed for their products and many have historical records showing rum being produced here since the 17th century.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

Statement by the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on the latest developments in the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

The following Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago; Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname;, meeting by video-conference on 24 January 2019, issued the following statement.

“Heads of Government are following closely the current unsatisfactory situation in Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a neighbouring Caribbean country.  They expressed grave concern about the plight of the people of Venezuela and the increasing volatility of the situation brought about by recent developments which could lead to further violence, confrontation, breakdown of law and order and greater suffering for the people of the country.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy.

Heads of Government reiterated that the long-standing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by recent events, can only be resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.

In this regard, Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate dialogue among all parties to resolve the deepening crisis.

Reaffirming their commitment to the tenets of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability, the Heads of Government emphasized the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace.

Heads of Government called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilize the situation and underscored the need to step back from the brink and called on all actors, internal and external, to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region.

Heads of Government agreed that the Chairman of Conference, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis would seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the U.N’s assistance in resolving the issue.”

 

Courtesy: CARICOM Today 

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