Expert Group on Governance Meets in Kingston


The establishment of an executive mechanism for the Caribbean Community has moved a step closer with the presentation of a broad set of recommendations by the three Technical Sub-committees of the Prime Ministerial Expert Group on Governance. The executive mechanism is intended to serve as the process by which critical policy decisions of CARICOM Heads or Organs of the Community are implemented throughout the region.
The recommendations were presented to the Expert Group chaired by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at a meeting held at Jamaica House on Saturday (Feb. 12). The report of the Expert Group will be presented to Heads of Government for consideration at the 16th Inter-sessional meeting scheduled for Suriname next week.
Other areas reviewed by the sub-committees included automaticity of financing for the executive body and provisions for enhancing the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians.
Included in the broad set of recommendations is the proposal for the creation of a system of Commissioners with responsibility for specific subject areas within the Community. Recommendations were also made with regards to ensuring a more effective functioning of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians by expanding it to include representatives of civil society. It was acknowledged that the creation of a more effective Caribbean Assembly would best serve the regional integration process by enabling civil society to participate in the deliberations.
Following a discussion of the report of the sub-committee reviewing the automaticity of financing for the executive mechanism, the Expert Group concluded that the institutions to be financed be identified and a determination made on the method of financing.
The Expert Group has accepted the broad recommendations and following a full discussion, is finalizing a report to be presented by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to Heads in Suriname. The report will include a restating of the decisions made at Rose Hall and contained in the Rose Hall Declaration. The report will also outline the work of the technical committees as well as the decisions which Heads of Government are required to make.
The Options for Governance to Accelerate the Process of Regional Integration was first mooted at the 14th Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads held in Trinidad and Tobago in February 2003. The meeting established an Expert Group on Governance whose work has resulted in the drafting of the Rosehall Declaration issued at the 24th Regular Meeting of Heads held in Jamaica. The discussions on governance were further enhanced by the publication of a paper by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson entitled “CARICOM Beyond Thirty: Charting New Directions – Chairman’s Perspective.”
Efforts to generate public discourse on issues relating to governance have included a special CARICOM 30th Anniversary Conference at the Mona Campus of the UWI in October 2003 under the theme “Regional Governance and Integrated Development.” In addition, the CARICOM Secretariat recently hosted a Think -Tank on Options for Governance at the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad.
In attendance at Saturday’s meeting of the Expert Group on Governance were Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. George Belle of the Cave Hill Campus of the UWI who represented Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Dr. Compton Bourne, President of the Caribbean Central Bank and Professor Denis Benn of the UWI, Mona.

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