The comments were made today (Tuesday) at the opening of the 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the CARICOM being held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort from February 26 – 27, 2019.
Prime Minister Holness served as the Chair of the Conference from July 01 to December 31, 2018. He noted that seismic shifts in the international system have taken place that have resulted in “profound instability and uncertainty.”
“Great power competition, increasing suspicion, and surges of nationalism and populism have put the current international order under strain,” he said. “As a region, we must remain true to our core principles and we must also act decisively and strategically to seize opportunities that the changing world circumstances present in the interest of the development of our countries and our people.”
One of the major achievements under the tenure of Prime Minister Holness as CARICOM chair was the establishment of the Protocol on Contingent Rights. It allows dependents of persons with approved Skills Certificates to move freely with their loved ones and provides access to basic social services.
Other highlights include greater impetus to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) via enhanced roles for private sector and labour in economic growth; and the Expansion of the category of skilled person to move and work freely within CARICOM to include agricultural workers, beauticians, barbers and security guards. Additionally, there were several engagements with international partners highlighting the need for greater access to funding to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; the Vulnerability of Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean to Climate Change; and the need for member states to transition to clean and sustainable sources of energy.
“Having made these bold steps and issued our strong joint commitment to the regional process, it would be a disservice to ourselves and to our people if we do not deliver,” Prime Minister Holness stressed.
He extended best wishes to the current CARICOM Chair, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris of St. Kitts and Nevis and said that he and his team in Jamaica stand ready to continue the important work to deliver prosperity for the people of the region.