CARICOM relies on Mexico to bring regional issues to G20 attention

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 21ST 2012 (CUOPM) – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has signalled that it is relying on Mexico to bring to the attention of the G20, issues that are of critical importance to the Community, including the slow reform of multilateral institutions, climate change and the achievement of sustainable energy for all in the Small Island Developing States.

At the opening of the Second CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Monday, attended by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, both the Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, His Excellency Desiré Bouterse, President of Suriname, and host, the Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, spoke of enlisting Mexico’s support, as the current chair of the G20 which meets next month, in raising matters of critical concern to the Region.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (third from left) among Caribbean leaders and the Mexican President in photo session at the CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Barbados on Monday.

President Bouterse pointed out that though the G20 was an important forum in which the Community had great interest, it was a forum within which “regrettably, we do not have a voice, though this body makes far-reaching decisions which impact significantly on the viability of our economies”.

“As we discuss the G20 later today, we will delve into the details of the concerns which we have, and on which we will be seeking your continued advocacy within the G20 forum. We recognize that as host of the G20 Summit this June, you are well placed to be our voice and to articulate our concerns and positions. We look forward to positive outcomes of those discussions,” President Bouterse said.

He added that the Community was pleased that the themes which Mexico would focus on at the G20 Summit resonated well with the Region’s own areas of interest, including economic stabilization and structural reforms as foundations of growth and employment; enhancing food security; and the promotion of sustainable development, green growth and the fight against climate change.

For Prime Minister Stuart, perhaps the greatest contribution that Mexico could make to the cause of Caribbean development at this uncertain juncture of world affairs was that of advocacy. Mexico’s crucial role as current chair of the G20 represented a unique opportunity for the concerns of the Region’s small and marginalized to be brought to the attention of next month’s G20 Summit through its good offices, he said.

CARICOM said among the Region’s concerns that were highlighted by the Prime Minister were the slow process of reform of the multilateral institutions, the uneven results to date and the “continued lack of representativeness and transparency of the G20”.

He added that there were “worrying signs that we have moved from the rich man’s club of the G7 to the big man’s club of the G20”, whose members were more united in telling non-G20 countries what they should do instead of prescribing for those within their own fold. The Barbados Prime Minister focused attention on the “constant tilting of playing fields and moving of goal-posts” in the G20’s response to Caribbean-based international financial centres, “notwithstanding the fact that the bulk of proven money-laundering, inadequate regulation and tax avoidance has occurred in the financial centres of Europe and the United States of America”.

Prime Minister Stuart also pointed to the need for room within the “assertive liberalization policies” of the major trading nations to accommodate the legitimate trade sensitivities of the Small Vulnerable Economies and to promote supportive policies for them in the areas of financing for development, aid for trade, and addressing the issue of indebtedness.

The host Prime Minister also raised the grave threat of climate change and the urgency of agreeing on a comprehensive and ambitious response to the phenomenon. It was the Region’s hope, he said, that Mexico would champion and promote the recently-adopted Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in the Small Island Developing States.

CARICOM and Mexico have had a longstanding beneficial relationship beginning in 1974 when Mexico became the first country to form a Joint Commission with the Community.

Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General who also addressed the opening ceremony, pointed out that the objective of the agreement inked in Kingston on 30 July 1974, was to identify and promote cooperation initiatives to enlarge economic, political and cultural relations.

“There is little doubt that it has been a success,” the Secretary-General said, as he highlighted the development of relations between CARICOM and Mexico.

He singled out Mexico’s support assistance to Haiti and acknowledged that the visit to Haiti by His Excellency Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, symbolized his country’s deep commitment to the revival and reconstruction of that country.

“At the first CARICOM-Mexico Summit, which took place days after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010, both sides assumed the commitment of creating new measures to alleviate, in the medium and long term, the challenges that Haiti is facing.

“The latest innovative initiative of Triangular Co-operation involving Mexico, CARICOM and Haiti offers much hope of fulfilling that commitment and achieving its objective of strengthening technical cooperation to benefit the people and government of Haiti. It was with great pleasure that I signed yesterday that Memorandum Of Understanding along with another on co-operation in Higher Education with the Foreign Minister of Mexico Her Excellency Patricia Espinosa,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.

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