The Caribbean’s top business and political leaders will meet in the Cayman Islands, December 17, for the first annual Northern Caribbean Conference on Economic Development and Cooperation, which will discuss immigration, trade, education and security.
The one-day event, which will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Grand Cayman, will be attended by Heads of Government from seven northern Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, Haiti, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Earl Jarrett, described the conference as a timely intervention to explore new trade, investment and educational relationships among northern Caribbean countries.
General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Earl Jarrett, addressing a briefing to announce the Northern Caribbean Conference on Economic Cooperation at the JNBS head office in Kingston, Tuesday November 23.
He was speaking on Tuesday November 23 at a joint media briefing, involving journalists from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (via teleconferencing), at the JNBS’s head office in Kingston.
“The reality is that, as the world has changed from a geopolitical point of view, as well as from a trade point of view, it is the job of emerging countries, like the countries in the northern Caribbean, to find ways to cooperate to advance the economic outcome of their countries for the citizens of those countries,” he remarked.
Mr. Jarrett said it was against this background that the JNBS and the National Building Society of Cayman (NBSC) coined the concept for the conference.
“We also invited the University of the West Indies (UWI) to partner with us, as we seek to bring together Heads of State and leaders of businesses, to dialogue and indentify real issues that are integral to our development,” he noted.
General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Earl Jarrett (right), speaking with Communications Executive, JNBS, Carmen Tipling (centre), before the start of a press briefing at the JNBS head office in Kingston on Tuesday November 23. Also pictured is JN Group Marketing Executive, Leon Mitchell.
The Caribbean Policy and Research Institute (CaPRI), UWI, has been working with the organisers to develop position papers on main subject areas, to provide a springboard for the presentations and panel discussions.
Mr. Jarrett pointed out that the conference represented a critical opportunity for leaders to discuss trade and development needs; define and address security issues; re-examine immigration and the movement of people between countries; expand education opportunities at the tertiary level; and collaborate in the development of tourism.
Other key subjects to be discussed include strategies to tackle the Air Passenger Duty (ADP), imposed by the British government.
He reiterated that the massive increase in the APD, imposed on departing passengers by the British government, is having a negative impact on regional tourism.
General Manager, NBSC, Dunbar McFarlane, who addressed the press briefing via teleconferencing from the Cayman Islands, said the conference comes at a time when the British colony is re-examining its relationship with its Caribbean neighbours.
Just recently, Cayman Premier McKeeva Bush announced that his government would rethink visa requirements for Jamaicans.
Mr. McFarlane further said the NBSC supported the need for greater private/public sector partnerships across the region, to create access to regional markets, increase intra-regional tourism and facilitate the application of home-grown expertise in the development of solutions to benefit citizens.
Speakers at the conference will include Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Bruce Golding; former Prime Minister of Jamaica and Special representative of CARICOM on Haiti, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson; Premier of the Cayman Islands, Hon. McKeeva Bush; former Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Hon. Joe Clarke; and Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor Gordon Shirley.
There will also be a meeting of Tourism Ministers from the region for a concurrent session focused on tourism related matters.
It is anticipated that some 100 persons will attend the conference, including leaders or leader representatives from development agencies in the United States and Canada.