11 July 2011

Sint Maarten to Seek associate membership in The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)


Prime Minister holds preliminary talks at Heads of Government Meeting of CARICOM

Basseterre, St. Kitts

2011 (CUOPM) – St. Maarten has expressed an interest in becoming an Associate Member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

This was disclosed by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Chairman of the regional integration movement, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, who said the St. Maarten leader (Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams)  was one of several Heads of government and Institutions, who CARICOM leaders met with during the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government.

“The dynamism and solidity of our Community have encouraged one of our special guests at this meeting, the
Prime Minister of St. Maarten, the Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams to talk with us about submitting a formal request for her country to become an Associate Member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Douglas announced at the Closing Ceremony.

Prime Minister Wescott-Williams, who attended the Opening Ceremony on June 30th, held talks with
Caribbean leaders during the luncheon session of the first caucus at Ottley’s Plantation on Saturday 1st July.

Prime Minister Wescott-Williams during the luncheon meeting brought Caribbean leaders up to date on the recent constitutional changes in Country St. Marten with the Dutch Kingdom.

CARICOM has several Councils on matters of interest to St. Maarten,” said Prime Minister Wescott-Williams in a recent statement reported in the St. Maarten Herald.

In accepting the invitation from Prime Minister Douglas to attend the Conference, the St. Maarten leader said she hoped to discuss “St. Maarten’s involvement in these Councils and eventual membership of CARICOM during the visit to St. Kitts.” The communiqué issued at the end of the conference said:

“Heads of Government and the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, the Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams held preliminary discussions with a view to Sint Maarten submitting a formal request to become an Associate Member of the Community.”

During the four-day meeting, Heads of Government also exchanged views with His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of Colombia; His Excellency José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development.

CARICOM Chairman Douglas also met with the Special Envoy of the Government of Cuba, His Excellency Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

CARICOM Member States and Head of Government are Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. the Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister; The Bahamas, The Right Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister; Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister; Belize, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister; Dominica, the
Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister; Grenada, Hon. Tilman Thomas, Prime Minister; Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President; Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly, President; Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding, Prime Minister; Montserrat, the Hon. Reuben Meade, Chief Minister; St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Prime Minister; St. Lucia, the Hon. Stephenson King, Prime Minister; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister; Suriname,
His Excellency Desi Bouterse, President; Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister.

Associate Members are Anguilla, Hon. Hubert Hughes, Chief Minister; Bermuda, Hon. Pamela Cox, Premier; British Virgin Islands, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal, Premier; Cayman Islands, Hon. William McKeeva Bush, Premier; and the Turks and Caicos Islands. (OTR Note: Since 2009, elected government has been suspended in the Turks & Caicos Islands by the United Kingdom, the territory's administering power).

In 1972, Commonwealth Caribbean leaders at the Seventh Heads of Government Conference decided to transform the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) into a Common Market and establish the Caribbean Community, of which the Common Market would be an integral part.

The signing of the Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community, Chaguaramas, 4th July 1973, was a defining moment in the history of the Commonwealth Caribbean. Although a free-trade area had been established, CARIFTA did not provide for the free movement of labour and capital, or the coordination of
agricultural, industrial and foreign policies.

The objectives of the Community, identified in Article 6 of the Revised Treaty, are: to improve standards of living and work; the full employment of labour and other factors of production; accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence; expansion of trade and economic relations with third States; enhanced levels of international competitiveness; organisation for increased production and productivity; achievement of a greater measure of economic leverage and effectiveness of Member States in dealing with third States, groups of States and entities of any description and the enhanced co-ordination of Member States’ foreign and foreign economic policies and enhanced functional co-operation.

In 1989, when the Heads of Government made the decision to transform the Common Market into a single
market and economy in which factors move freely as a basis for internationally competitive production of goods and provision of services, it was also decided that for the transformation to take place, the Treaty would have to be revised.

In 1992, following the adoption of the report of the West Indian Commission, an Inter-governmental Task Force was established, to work on the revision of theTreaty. Between 1993 and 2000, the Inter-Governmental Task Force (IGTF) which was composed of representatives of all Member States, produced nine Protocols, for the purpose of amending the Treaty. These nine Protocols were later combined to create a new version of the Treaty, called formally, The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas Establishing the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Allowances have been made for the subsequent inclusion in the Revised Treaty, by way of additional Protocols, new issues such as e-commerce, government procurement, trade in goods from free zones, free circulation of goods, and the rights contingent on the free movement of persons.

Erasmus Williams
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Government Headquarters
Church Street
Basseterre, St. Kitts

Tel: 869-465-9698
Fax: 869-466-9997
Cell: 869-665-8422

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