The opening of the 27th Inter-sessional meeting for the Heads of Government for the Caribbean Community is underway in Placencia. Reporter Renee Trujillo is in Placencia and filed this report.
Renee Trujillo reporting…
“The opening session of the 27th intersessional meeting for the heads of government of the Caribbean Community started at 6 o’clock this evening at the Placencia Inn on the Placencia Peninsula. It is a two day event that has brought an estimated 125 delegates to Belize from the 15 member countries of CARICOM. The next two days will entail two plenary sessions and a caucus for the heads of government. Diana Locke is the conference coordinator out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Yesterday we had the arrival of delegates. We will also be having a Finance Ministers meeting that is taking place today. A committee of Ministers and this evening we have the opening session. This is an informal gathering of the heads and so it’s not as formal as the regular session which is held in July. Tomorrow morning we have the formal opening of the meeting, it’s closed and only delegates can attend or be in that area. In the afternoon the heads go into a caucus session which is a private session of only them plus one. We also have the following day where the session continues again in the afternoon. There is likely to be a press conference and then the session ends. It’s a very compact meeting, two days only and the heads and other delegates are expected to leave.
“This regional event will see three key issues tabled for discussions namely correspondent banking, the Zika virus and climate change. Following a meeting of the finance committee this morning inside the conference room at the Belize Ocean Club Love News met up with the St.Lucian Ambassador June Sumor who spoke on the importance of addressing these issues on a regional level.
June Sumor – St.Lucian Ambassador
“ All of the issues that we are going to be discussing in pact our country in one way or the other and these even though we look at things at a national level, with CARICOM we look at things at a regional level so whatever challenges we face at CARICOM we try to resolve them together and I think these are some of the things that people should know; that when we come to a CARICOM meeting it is not just about our particular country although we have interests it is about how we do things together for the betterment of the entire region.
“With just two days set aside to discuss these crucial matters Love News asked Kendall Morgan of the Communications Unit at the CARICOM secretariat how effective and well thought out the decisions coming out of these meetings can be.
Kendall Morgan – Communications Unit, CARICOM Secretariat
“A lot of the preliminary work takes place at the level of the technocrats and the ministers so that it reaches the level of the heads when it comes to actually making decisions and giving the mandate for moving forward so that the work doesn’t just take the two days it would have started a long time before and so that it has reached a point now where the marching orders so to speak on these decisions are to be taken and so the heads come together and deliberate on them and get the advice and they move forward. That will make the time adequate.
“ As we mentioned earlier there are about 125 delegates. Such a grand scale event calls for tight and coordinate security which is exactly what has been put in place according to the Assistant Commissioner of Police Noel Leal who is heading the security command center for this event.
Noel Leal, Assistant Commissioner of Police
“ We have different levels of security here in Placencia specifically at both hotels as well as the air strip. There is an immediate area of security down by special branch, we have a second level of security being done through patrols and other checking stations being done by the SPU personnel from the police department and then there is an even further security cordon being done by the BDF along with BSAC. We also have the coastal patrol being done by the Belize Coast Guard who have boats in the adjacent area. We are also using police officers from Placencia, Independence and Dangriga.
“The first official meeting following the opening session takes place on Tuesday morning at the Belize Ocean Club. That is being dubbed the first plenary conference session of the heads of government. This session and all others are being lead by Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow who is currently the CARICOM Chairman until June this year.