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  • The 40th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of Caricom will be held from July 3 to 5 in St. Lucia.

    The 40th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of Caricom will be held from July 3 to 5 in St. Lucia. | Photo: VTV

Published 2 July 2019

The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of a “peaceful resolution” and the “recognition of the constitution and the rule of law."

As leaders converge in St. Lucia for the 40th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the bloc’s Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said on Tuesday that despite divergences the 15 member-countries are united in their stance on key issues regarding Venezuela. 

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“There is a common view on a number of issues that we adhere to very, very strongly. The principle of non-interference and non-intervention. The issue that there must be a dialogue between the opposition and the government. The issue of non-politicization of aid,” LaRocque told reporters prior to the meeting which will be held from July 3 to 5.

The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of a “peaceful resolution” and the “recognition of the constitution and the rule of law, all of which are principles that up to this day, every single member state, whether they recognize Juan Guaido or not, or they recognize President Maduro or not, adhere to.”

This statement evokes May 1, when Caricom also called to recommit to a peaceful solution in the Latin American nation.  Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Chairman of the group, Timothy Harris said the bloc “has been working earnestly to promote meaningful dialogue and diplomacy, as well as a four-phased process called the Montevideo Mechanism, whose aim is an inclusive and lasting solution.” 

While Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) rejected U.S. imperialism and intervention on Venezuela during the group’s 18th Political Council held on the same month. 

Single Market and Economy: High on the Agenda

At the meeting, heads of government are expected to build on the St. Ann’s Declaration approved at their 18th Special Meeting on the Caricom’s Single Market and Economy (CSME), in Trinidad and Tobago in December. 

Measures to enhance the agreed upon platform will be debated and approved to support the Region’s growth and development agenda. 

Among them, a more formalized, structured mechanism for engagement with the region’s private sector and labor; expansion of the categories of skilled nationals entitled to move freely and work within the Community, to include Agricultural Workers, Beauty Service Practitioners, Barbers and Security Guards; and ensuring Community-wide recognition of each Member State-issued Caricom Skills Certificate. 

Blacklisting of the bloc’s member states by the European Union is also high on the agenda. Caricom countries have vowed to increase advocacy efforts against what they say is the EU’s “unfair publication” of uncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, teleSUR’s correspondent in St. Lucia, Alison Kentish, reported. 

“Many of our countries have done what they have been asked to be done and yet they get themselves back on the list...So it should make for a very interesting discussion, but the issue is that we are being blacklisted and very often we are not being consulted to see what we are doing,” LaRocque stated on the pre-summit press briefing. 

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