Technical Officers from Regional States Attend WHTI Meeting

Technical officers from various countries in the Caribbean and the Americas converged at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, today (April 27), for the 10th Executive Committee Meeting of the Western Hemisphere Transportation Initiative (WHTI).
The purpose of the meeting was to give these officers an opportunity to report on various areas of technical co-operation in air, land, and maritime transport, as well as assess and make recommendations concerning transportation issues in each country.
Addressing the forum, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Dr. Alwin Hales, noted that the WHTI was playing an indispensable role in assisting the hemisphere to confront global realities, such as the events of September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States, and more recently, the terrorists plot in the United Kingdom, with small developing countries becoming more vulnerable.
Dr. Hales further noted that there was a link between adequate physical infrastructure and the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, to which all Caribbean and the Americas member states have committed themselves.
He pointed out that the eighth millennium development goal, which highlights the need for global partnership for development, was particularly applicable to the Caribbean and to the countries of the Americas as it related to challenges in the transport sector.
“The targets here are concerned with transportation cost for landlocked countries to be reduced by half and their access to global markets improved by 2015. All non-physical transport barriers that increase journey time, customs clearance, border delay and impede the flow of goods and services should be dismantled by 2015,” he noted, adding that by achieving this goal, air and transport services, as well as the movement of goods and services, would be improved.
Dr. Hales urged the WHTI to continue to act as a catalyst in the hemisphere by assisting regional governments to optimize their resources through meaningful collaborations.
The aim of the WHTI is to provide a forum for convergence and co-operation among the Ministries Responsible for Transportation of the Summit of the Americas member countries.
Current members of the WHTI include Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Organization of American States.

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