Certainly a blast-off yesterday to the Second Session of the Eleventh Parliament.
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Caricom to set up commission on marijuana
Caricom heads of government have agreed to establish a regional commission on marijuana to look at the social, economic, health, and legal issues surrounding the use of the drug and to advise whether there should be a change in its current classification to make it more accessible for a range of users. Caricom heads also welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit that Dominica’s Parliament had approved a bill to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the country’s final court of appeal.
Skerrit advised that “the move away from the Privy Council would be completed once the President assents to the act, bringing it into force. Dominica will join Barbados, Guyana and Belize as the fourth Caricom member country to give effect to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ,” Skerrit said.
They also recognised that this year marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on The Rights of the Child, signed by all Caricom member states. They supported the submission of Prime Minister of Grenada Dr Keith Mitchell who called for an end to the institutionalisation of children under the age of three years in state-run and private homes—and instead, speed up their integration into the family. This was stated in a July 4 Caricom press release.
These were three of several issues that came up at the 35th Regular Meeting of Caricom, held at Dickenson Bay, Antigua and Barbuda, from July 1 to 4. Other issues raised were: a strategic 2015 to 2019 plan for the Caribbean community; human resource development; climate change; and border issues.
At the July 1 opening ceremony in Antigua, attended by Caricom member states (including T&T’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar), St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ralph Gonsalves said, “A concerted regional approach is required to improve our economies, create wealth and jobs, manage much better our fiscal and debt condition, and strengthen the social safety net for those who are disadvantaged.”
Caricom heads said the eradication of poverty must remain a core objective. They said persistent and emerging challenges of climate change, energy security, water security, sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition, employment, challenges facing youth and children, crime and security, and governance issues should be featured in the development agenda. This agenda should promote the welfare of all people, they agreed.