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Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has  outlined the benefits of CARICOM to the people of the region, as concerns mount on the need for the regional institution.

She was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Thirty-third Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), on  July 4.

"CARICOM," she said, "matters to people in health care, especially for mothers, children and those affected by HIV/AIDS," and also in times of natural disasters, “when we pull our efforts to lend a helping hand, as we have done most recently with our brothers and sisters in Haiti."

The Prime Minister cited the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), through which the people can benefit from the administration of justice. And in terms of development finance and job creation, she said the Caribbean Development Bank CDB) and the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF) are two institutions which have been supporting development projects over the years.

"CARICOM matters to our people in secondary and tertiary education, through the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), which has produced so many world class scholars, leaders and professionals in all walks of life,” she noted.

"You can find us anywhere in the world and everywhere making a valuable contribution,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said, adding that, “just as the UWI is an integral part of our integration, so too is West Indies Cricket."

Mrs. Simpson Miller cited other areas of benefit, such as foreign policy co-ordination, where the region speaks in one voice; climate change and the rights of middle-income countries on non-communicable diseases; security, where CARICOM countries share in the advanced passenger information system and other mechanisms to enhance collective security; and in sports and culture, “as we showcase the excellence of our indomitable Caribbean spirit and the prowess of our youth in Carifesta and the Carifta games."

  

By George Jude, JIS Reporter