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Jamaica is among twelve member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that have now ratified the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, paving the way for the adoption of the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community and the creation of the Caribbean Single Market in January 2006.
This follows the deposit of the instrument of ratification by Dominica and the acceptance of a proposal by CARICOM Heads of Government at the 11th Special Meeting in Barbados on Wednesday (Dec. 7) to allow for the adoption of the revised treaty upon the ratification by 12 of the 14 member countries. A special ceremony will be held early in January to formally bring the treaty into force and establish the Caribbean Single Market.
The meeting observed that in addition to Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago that are Single Market ready, other countries with the exception of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Suriname, have indicated that by December 31 they should have completed the necessary processes that would enable them to join the single market.
Speaking in relation to the Regional Development Fund, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said the formula that should be used to determine support for the fund by member States ought to reflect patterns of trade and current economic realities. He pointed to the report of the Sub-committee on Governance that was submitted at the Inter-sessional Meeting in Suriname and its recommendations regarding funding of the organs of the Caribbean Community. He said funding of the regional integration process should be examined in its entirety with the regional development fund as a cornerstone.
The Council of Finance and Planning (COFAP) which comprises Finance Ministers across the region, is scheduled to meet in Jamaica next Monday, to examine proposals for the funding of the regional integration process as well as conclude outstanding matters relating to the Single Market. The meeting will also discuss the operationalisation of the Regional Development Fund and the implementation of elements of chapter seven of the Revised Treaty.
The CARICOM Heads also used the special meeting to prepare for the 2nd CARICOM/Cuba Summit to be held on Thursday (Dec. 8). Agenda items include a discussion on human development and the strengthening of cooperation in a number of the areas including culture, health and education. The summit will conclude with the signing of a Cultural Cooperation Agreement as well as an agreement that will promote collaboration in the health sector.