The newly re-engineered Caribbean Association of Industry & Commerce (CAIC) will use the platform of its upcoming Annual General Meeting to re-establish its relevance and importance as a key regional private sector representative body. This will be held at the Cave Hill School of Business/UWI, Barbados on November 1, 2013.
Speaking about the rejuvenation process from his office in St. Kitts, the President Mr Carol Evelyn noted that “Our commitment to, and our vision for the region remains unchanged; our priority is working with all the key private sector stakeholders and representative organisations to generate a high level of value for businesses in the region and to contribute to increasing the average GDP/capita of the people living in the region by 90% in seven years time. We are focused on promoting the interests of private sector stakeholders through productive regional and international involvement in the relevant forums, private sector development initiatives, and in all areas pertaining to trade and business development”.
“Our efforts to rebuild this regional machinery have encountered many challenges along the way; most forward is an overall hesitancy within the private sector across the region to commit. This has resulted in the CAIC outsourcing its Secretariat to a regional management consultancy firm that has brought about a financial restructuring of the CAIC which has made it self-sufficient and resourced it with the capability and capacity to respond to its members needs”.
“We recognized that the current economic landscape has changed the way that we do business and to some extent people are in a preservation mode rather than moving more aggressively towards growth, development and expansion. People are indeed looking for value for money and we are pleased to say that we believe we are overcoming this challenge and the stage has been set for more dialogue and collaboration.
“Dialogue is indeed key but we have also been engaged in rebuilding the turnaround since January 2012 by our engagement in practical initiatives and focus on the following:
[list-ul type="check"][li-row]Representation of the private sector at CARICOM and Cariforum events such as the opening of Heads of Government sessions, West Indies Cricket Board and other regional meetings to which the CAIC has been invited.[/li-row] [li-row]Developed and maintained and online presence that is regionally based and globally focused at www.carib-commerce.org and a growing on-line community on its Facebook Page[/li-row] [li-row]Contributed to investment promotion for the Caribbean region through active membership and participation in the Regional Investment Promotion Steering Committee.[/li-row] [li-row]Developed on the existing relationships with extra-regional private sector support frameworks such as the International Chambers of Commerce, Eurochambres, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation, Compete Caribbean, Economic Cooperation for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) to establish a facilitative mechanism for increasing trade and development amongst the private sector. This is intended to facilitate the establishment of six extra-regional CAIC presences in non-traditional or emerging economies such as Canada, Estonia, China, Fiji, Tunisia and Brazil.[/li-row] [li-row]Engaged cooperation with Sistema Economico Latinoamericano y del Caribe (SELA) and engaged a commitment on behalf of the Caribbean private sector on disaster risk mitigation, business continuity and environmental preservation.[/li-row][/list-ul]
“As we move forward the CAIC is fully embracing the technology to facilitate business and dialogue; to this extent financial members will be able to participate in our upcoming AGM through online facilities. Going forward our members will not only be part of face-to-face interactions but also be part of a large facilitated virtual private sector community of interest that is flexible and adaptable and can deliver customized solutions to satisfy a wide range of disparate needs.”
Intra-regionally, the CAIC has been maintaining co-operation and developmental work with its counterparts and stakeholders in the Caribbean including:
1) Caribbean Court of Justice
2) Caribbean Development Bank
3) Cariforum Secretariat
4) Caribbean Association of Small and Medium Enterprises
5) Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies
The CAIC is also very committed to its obligations and liaison with the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CCS) and has continued dialogue on EPA implementation and workability. It has also committed to launch the Caribbean Business Council at the AGM this year.
This meeting will give us opportunity to update our members both on our progress and on the Association’s way forward. It will also reinforce the fact that the CAIC will be an innovative, leading edge, private sector stakeholder driven, highly efficient organisation that maximises the outcomes for Caribbean private sector stakeholders, promotes trade and business growth and development, and will make a major contribution to improving the economic and social status of the peoples of the Caribbean.
For further information you may contact Ms. Jan Sirjusingh at telephone number 1-868-766-3131
The EU has indicated that it will apply the principle of differentiation to the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programmes (NIPs), with the resultant effect that the majority of NIPs in the Caribbean Region will be cut. Such action is regrettable.
The Director-General of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) Directorate in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Mr Ivan Ogando Lora, expressed this view en route to the JPA, which will be held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 14-16 February, 2013.
He further stated that “the European Union (EU) has been a valued, longstanding development partner. However, its stance on differentiation has prompted the CARIFORUM Region to take a hard look at this partnership, as, at a time when regional states are counting on reliable resources to implement the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Caribbean-EU Joint Strategy — neither of which makes specific provisions for financial support — the EDF, as the core source for financing development cooperation within the framework of CARIFORUM-EU relations, now faces the prospect of being scaled back.” Mr Ogando cautioned that the mechanics of the application of differentiation remain internal to the European Commission.
Mr. Ogando was invited by the JPA organizers to participate in the 9th Regional Meeting and deliver an address on the CARIFORUM-EU EPA. His speech will delve into various facets of the implementation of the EPA, with a particular focus on issues of note that the CARIFORUM and EU sides have engaged on through the Joint Institutions that oversee the implementation process. In taking stock of the Agreement’s implementation and elaborating on the future of CARIFORUM-EU relations, Mr. Ogando indicated that he will call attention to the negative effects of the EU’s New Development Policy, about which Caribbean leaders have already raised serious concerns.
Most recently, Caribbean Heads of Government voiced their concerns with respect to the new EU Development Policy, in discussions with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, on the occasion of a CARIFORUM-EU High-Level Meeting held in the margins of the first Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC)-EU Summit in Chile last month.
At another recent high profile event — the Seventh Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in December 2012 - the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and the then Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony described as “disquieting” the issues of differentiation and graduation, which he said “target the economic vitality and the future development of some vulnerable [ACP] Member States.”
The Secretary-General of CARIFORUM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, also expressed concern over the possibility of a decrease in development assistance from the EU under the new EU Development Policy. In an address to the Twentieth Meeting of the CARIFORUM Council of Ministers in Santo Domingo in November 2012, he underscored that the new policy threatened to cast a shadow over CARIFORUM-EU relations.
According to organizers of the upcoming JPA, the Meeting will be jointly chaired by the two Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU JPA, Musikari Kombo and Louis Michel. It is expected to bring together 15 JPA parliamentarians from national parliaments of the Caribbean Region and an equal number of JPA Members from the European Parliament to exchange views on a number of issues of interest to the Caribbean.
The fifteen signatory Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (CARIFORUM) States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.
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