PM Douglas named to new expert group on governance

The first female PM of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar is being greeted by CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Orette Bruce Golding. (Photo courtesy of the CARICOM Secretariat)

ST. KITTS, JULY 9, 2010 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, the longest serving Head of Government in the Caribbean and the new Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar have been appointed to serve on a new Prime Ministerial Expert Group on Governance (PMEGG) in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Coming out of the 31st Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Community Conference of Heads of Government which wrapped up in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Wednesday, Heads of Government have therefore made the decision to establish a new Prime Ministerial Expert Group on Governance (PMEGG).

It is comprised of the Bureau of the Conference (Jamaica, Dominica and Guyana) as well as the Prime Ministers of St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, who have been charged with the task of reviewing all the proposals and options that have been tabled to date so that a final decision on the new and most effective governance arrangements can be taken for the regional grouping.

The work of PMEGG will be serviced by a Technical Working Group and will present its recommendations to a Special Session of Heads that will be convened in September. It is expected that a concrete proposal will be completed and ready to be presented to the Inter-Sessional Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government in February 2011.

Prime Minister Douglas, who now bears the distinction of being the longest-serving Head of Government within the Community, as well as Chair of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, in his closing remarks, expressed profound appreciation for the remarkable hospitality of the Government and People of Jamaica, as well as the aplomb and efficiency with which the Chairman of the Conference, Prime Minister Hon. Bruce Golding dispatched with what was a daunting and lengthy programme of work.

One of the major issues that demanded the focus of Heads was the issue of the way forward with regard to reviewing the governance structure of the Caribbean Community in order to effectively address the chronic inconsistencies, ambiguities and failures within the current structure.

The Review of options for governance within the Caribbean Community is imperative if the integration process is to advance in a way that efficiently manages the integrated economic space and engenders the political consensus to facilitate the achievement of agreed objectives. Since the tabling of the Report of the West Indian Commission entitled “Time for Action” at the Special Session of the Conference of Heads in 1992 the need to bridge the “implementation deficit” intrinsic to the CARICOM system has been identified as the main impediment to translating regional decisions into meaningful action at the national level.

This is due almost exclusively to the dependence of the Community on the individual Member States to implement measures agreed upon at the regional level and also to the absence of institutions involving both Member States and the Community with specific responsibilities to implement regional decisions.

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