Prime Minister Andrew Holness has underscored Jamaica’s commitment to the principal objectives of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM.
The Prime Minister was speaking last evening (July 4) during the opening ceremony of the 39th Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Montego Bay St. James.
Prime Minister Holness who is also Chairman of CARICOM said the regional body must place specific focus on key issues affecting the region.
“I take this opportunity to reaffirm Jamaica’s commitment to principal objectives of CARICOM, including the expansion of trade and investment opportunities for its members, the promotion of foreign policy coordination and structured functional cooperation,” stated Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister further stated that he will call upon Member States to ensure that all programmes and initiatives are strategically focused and geared toward meeting a process of reform.
Prime Minister Holness addressed the issue of regional security and citizen safety noting that crime, violence and security will be one of the main priorities of Jamaica’s chairmanship.
“The incidence of gun and gang violence, though on the decline in some member States, has escalated sharply in others with severe effects on citizen security and economic development prospects. We must do everything in our power to ensure that the well-being of each of our citizens as well as our economy, infrastructure and territory are protected from all real and present threats such as the illicit trafficking in narcotics and firearms, trans-border criminal activities and cyber-attacks,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister also stressed that economic growth and sustainable development will be stymied if crime and violence are not decisively addressed.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness said another priority area is forging strong partnerships with bilateral and multilateral partners on behalf of CARICOM.
“What we need more than ever is the type of engagement which will, among other things, review the effectiveness of the existing financial architecture; that facilitate trade and technology transfers; that looks at human resource development and employment in an increasingly digital economy; and that supports our efforts in building resilience in both climate change and energy security,” said Prime Minister Holness
Jamaica last hosted the Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community seven years ago.
A record number of delegates along with all Heads of Government and Associate member states of CARICOM are attending this year’s conference.
The theme for this year’s conference is: “Building stronger, resilient and secure partnerships for prosperity.”
The first working session of the conference will begin today at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.