The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh will leave Jamaica today, March 31, for the Eighteenth Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), to be held in Belize City, Belize.
The Meeting slated for Friday, April 1 will focus on the governance of CARIFORUM, including issues relating to the organizational and institutional aspects of CARIFORUM and the designation of a CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Coordinator. It will consider recommendations from the Senior Officials who have been meeting in Belize since 30 March.
CARIFORUM, established November, 1992, constitutes all the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States, plus Cuba and the Dominican Republic, who will be participants in the meeting. Importantly also, CARIFORUM can be considered as a subset of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, in the Cotonou Treaty relations with the European Union. CARIFORUM concluded EPA negotiations with the European Union (EU) in 2007 with signature of the Agreement in October 2008.
However, Cuba, though a member state of CARIFORUM is not a signatory to the EPA.
As far back as the July 2010 Conference of CARICOM Heads in Jamaica, there was an agreement on the importance of resolving CARIFORUM governance issues. The CARIFORUM Ministers in November 2010 decided that a special Ministerial meeting should address the governance issue, with the outcome being conclusive and decisive. The outcome will have implications for the implementation of the CARIFORUM/EU EPA.
It is expected that on the margins of the meeting, Dr. Baugh will use the opportunity for continuing his discussions with his Barbadian colleague on the Myrie case and on other concerns related to the free movement of persons within the CSME.
Dr Baugh returns to Jamaica on Saturday, April 2.
Issued By: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade