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    Haiti's President and Current Chair of the Caribbean Community, Jovenel Moise (C), shakes hands with former Chairman, Grenada's Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, while Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque looks on, at the opening ceremony of the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti February 26, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 February 2018

Caricom begins its 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting in Haiti, climate change, corruption, and Venezuela are top on the agenda.  

Caricom begins its 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting today in Haiti and climate change is on the top of the list of member states agenda.  

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The presidents of Caricom (Community of Caribbean States) nations, whose members include Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica as well as Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela as observers, are placing climate change management high on their agenda at this week’s meeting in the wake of 2017’s increase in number and magnitude of hurricanes, heavy rains and earthquakes that ravaged the Caribbean and Latin American regions.

Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Granada says that hurricanes Maria and Irma, which both struck the region last September, left a record number dead and never before seen levels of destruction on several islands. He added that Caricom was one of the first organizations to help the islands recover from the storms - especially hardest hit Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.

Last November the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced it had collected over US$1.3 billion in pledges from international governments to help Caricom mitigate climate change.

Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse who is hosting this week’s meeting said to the 15 member presidents, "my objective in the coming months is to … leave the Caribbean community stronger (and) more united."

Particularly, Moise wants members states to combat rampant political corruption, improve infrastructure and tourism among the island nations and to make Creole, French, and Dutch official languages within the multinational organization.

The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI) wants Caricom to add to their agenda its support of Venezuela and denounce U.S. interventionism in the member country’s political affairs.

The CMPI in a written statement says that  Caricom member nations - Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, the Bahamas and Guyana - sided with the United States, “the largest and most menacing imperialist nation of our hemisphere,” at a recent Organization of American States (OAS) meeting. These five countries aligned to the United States and OAS to support their economic and political blockade on Venezuela, a move the organization says is an "illegal and subversive intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela."

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