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Security, slave trade reparation also in focus
Apart from crime and security and other issues, today’s Caricom Intersessional agenda includes updates on regional efforts to seek redress from European states for the hardship endured over the 300 years of the slave trade. Caricom met with a UK law firm last year on the issue and established a Caricom Reparation Commission. Also to be discussed are climate change and disaster preparedness, all dimensions of which Caricom chairman Dr Ralph Gonsalves says Caricom must address in a “more focused manner.”
Talks are expected to seal matters regarding Caricom’s trade agreement with Canada and examine reports on marine and air transport. Attention will also focus on the economies of regional states and efforts to deal with current challenges plus recommendations from the recently established Commission on the Economy. Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said the recent Venezuelan unrest may be noted.
He said the OAS and other South American groups have called for talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition. At a UWI forum, T&T’s regional ambassador and former Caricom secretary general Edwin Carrington said T&T’s Foreign Minister chairs Caricom’s Foreign Minister’s team and this country therefore had a wide responsibility to examine the impact of the situation apart from the fact that many regional states were involved with Venezuela’s Petrocaribe arrangement.
UWI’s Dr Mark Kirton, said Caricom should have started to deal with the humanitarian aspect of the situation for “our brother and sisters” fleeing Venezuela. Recent US press reports have noted Venezuelans fleeing to the US.