JIS News

Former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, has lauded the “significant” accomplishments of the 15-member Caribbean community (CARICOM), and pointed to increased cooperation among member states in the areas of air transportation, disaster mitigation, HIV/AIDS, crime and drug trafficking.
Mr. Patterson, who was the keynote speaker at the annual scholarship and awards banquet of the Caribbean Bar Association’s (CBA) South Florida Chapter, held last week in Hollywood, noted that additional steps are required for the creation of the Regional Development Fund and its machinery for assessment, response and financial capacity.
He noted that the implementation of the single economy, set for 2015, is essential, but will entail the harmonization and formulation of common fiscal and monetary policies, taxation laws and establishment of a single currency.
In the meantime, Mr. Patterson noted the strong ties between Florida and the Caribbean, saying that the regions share similar concerns about security, transnational organized crime, the illicit drug trade and trafficking in weapons and arms, and common goals of democracy, human rights and rule of law.
The former Prime Minister was presented with the CBA’s first ever distinguished Government Service Award for his outstanding contribution to the Caribbean American Community as well as his work in the development of CARICOM and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Mr. Patterson expressed his appreciation to the CBA and commended the association for its contribution to the legal profession.
Florida’s Governor, Charlie Crist, was also a recipient of the Government Award, while the Community Service Awards were presented to Commissioner Winston Barnes of the City of Miramar, and the Reverend Horace Ward of the Holy Family Episcopal Church in North Miami. Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale was honoured for its continued support and contribution to the Caribbean community.
Jamaica’s Consul General and Chairman of the CARICOM Consular Corps in the Southern United States, Ricardo Allicock, commended the 11-year-old CBA for its efforts to increase awareness among Caribbean nationals in Florida, on topical issues. He also lauded the association for “honing itself into a useful lobbying concern, which continues to improve upon its skills and tactics.”
Other members of the Caribbean Diplomatic Corp as well as South Florida public officials attended the awards function.