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34th CARICOM meeting starts in PoS today…

PM1The 34th Caricom Heads of Government meeting begins today in Trinidad and Tobago.

Venezuela’s newly elected President, Nicolas Maduro, and a number of regional leaders are attending.

The conference will officially open at 6 p.m. at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s with a flag ceremony and addresses by Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and several leaders.pmresidence

On July 1st, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar assumed the chairmanship of Caricom and for the next three days will lead discussions on various issues facing the region.

This year’s conference is historic as the Caricom family will celebrate its 40th anniversary since the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4, 1973.

During the conference, leaders will participate in the re-enactment of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas with a ceremony at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre on July 4.

Caricom-Flag

On July 5, the leaders will attend an all-day retreat.

Several “burning issues” to be discussed among the regional leaders include:

1)  The economic situation facing member States and the Region.

2) Transportation in the Region.

3) Proposal for a High Level Meeting on Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs.

4) Membership and Associate Membership of the Caribbean Community.

5) Reform Process in Caricom – State of Progress.

6) Progress on the region’s preparations for the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act .

7) External Trade Issues.

caricom_heads2_july2012-300x187According to a news release from the Prime Minister’s office, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar was looking forward to welcoming the 14 Caribbean leaders, three Associate Members, the Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, President Danilo Medina, of the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela’s President Maduro.

The conference ends on July 6th with bilateral talks with President Maduro following which Mrs. Persad-Bissessar and the Caricom Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, will host a news conference to reveal what decisions were taken.

Mrs. Persad-Bissessar met with the Caricom Secretary-General at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference centre to discuss a number of issues ahead of today’s official opening ceremony.

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