Caribbean leaders agree to establishment of Council of Ambassadors

PM Bruce Golding

ST. KITTS, AUGUST 19, 2010 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have agreed to the establishment of a Council of Ambassadors as a new mechanism they hope will lead to the effective implementation of decisions taken in the efforts to deepen the regional integration movement.

CARICOM Chairman and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Hon. Bruce Golding told reporters after a meeting in St. George’s, Grenada, he hoped the new mechanism would be approved when the regional leaders meet later this year.

“The concept would be that the ambassadors would be based in their respective countries, they would head what we have termed the regional integration unit which is to be established in a few months,” said Golding, who chaired a one-day meeting of the CARICOM sub-committee on Governance.

“Some countries already have it, like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, other countries have a unit which is for…the implementation of the CSME (CARICOM Single Market and Economy) obligation.

“The concept is that we won’t have to create new institutions where these exist already, what we would need to do is ensure that they are calibrated with the new mandate of the ambassadors,” Golding said, adding that the jobs of the ambassadors would be “to follow up, make sure that domestic action is taken to give effect to the decisions of the heads”.

The meeting followed concerns raised at the Jamaica meeting of regional leaders in July that there was a need to improve the governance of CARICOM and to advance plans for the review of the organisation of the CARICOM institutions and secretariat. Prime Minister Golding said that he hopes that by July 2011, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which establishes CARICOM would be further adjusted to recognise the Council of Ambassadors as an independent organ.

He told reporters that in the interim, the Council of Ambassadors could be set up as a Sub-Committee to the Heads. The meeting was also attended by the Prime Ministers of Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada and Guyana’s President His Excelelncy Bharrat Jagdeo.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Hon. Kamla Persad Bissessar, who is a member of the CARICOM sub-committee on Governance did not attend the one-day meeting, since she is on a 10-day trip to the United States. Port of Spain was represented by the Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. the Hon. Surujrattan Rambachan.

The meeting also agreed to the establishment of a nine-member committee to begin the process of pre-selecting candidates to replace CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington, who announced his intention to step down by year end after 18 years in the job.

Mr. Golding said the committee would be chaired by Barbados Foreign Minister Maxine Mc Lean and that he hopes the committee could come up with a preliminary report and a list of candidates by September when the Heads gather in New York. The Jamaica Prime Minister said he hopes the new CARICOM Secretary General would be in place by January 2011.

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