Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller returned to the island on the week-end after leading Jamaica’s delegation to the 23rd Inter Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Suriname, March 8-9, 2012.
Key among the discussions by CARICOM Heads at their two day meeting were matters pertaining to the Reform of the CARICOM Secretariat, Community Relations, Crime and Security, CARICOM Enterprises, Sustainable Development including Climate Change, and RIO + 20, and the Governance of West Indies Cricket.
On the issue of the Reform of the CARICOM Secretariat, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said there was an urgent need for swift movement in implementing the recommendations of the Consultants’ Report and the strengthening of the Secretariat’s capacity to promote, monitor and evaluate the implementation processes, adding: “To remain static is not an option at this time. Orderly and directed change with a clear vision should never be feared.” She said a people-centred approach was needed as well as a redoubling of efforts to promote CARICOM among the people of the region and especially among the youth, civil society, the private sector and the media.
On the governance of cricket, the Prime Minister batted strongly for an immediate resolution to the Chris Gayle – WICB dispute. She said the matter needed to be dealt with once and for all and called for urgent mediation under the leadership of Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda who is the Chair of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket. She re-iterated the need to implement the outstanding provisions of the Patterson Report on the Governance of West Indies Cricket.
CARICOM Heads also approved the Implementation Plan for the Regional Framework for Climate Change which addresses the region’s strategic approach and also recognized the importance of the upcoming Conference on Environment and Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) scheduled for Brazil in June 2012. They agreed that the special development challenges faced by small vulnerable developing States in the Caribbean and elsewhere should be fully acknowledged in the Rio + 20 outcome.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller also held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and President Sebastian Pinera Echenique of the Republic of Chile.