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Commencement of registration process for the Fort George Restoration Project courses

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Spain are engaged in a Bilateral Cooperation programme towards the restoration of the Fort George site at Monks Hill.

Having undertaken the site clearing and archeological survey, the project moves into the theoretical component through the conduct of a two course lecture in the area of “Stone Restoration & Defensive Architecture” and “Heritage Tourism & Promotion”. The courses will be conducted by experts from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID).

The target group for both courses are persons within the construction and tourism sectors drawn from Antigua and Barbuda as well as other CARICOM Member States.

Persons interested in participating in the “Stone Restoration and Defensive Architecture” course should have a minimum of 5 years working experience in the field of construction.

Those who wish to participate in the “Heritage Tourism and Promotion” course should have a minimum of 2 years working experience in the fields of Hospitality and Tourism.

Application forms can be collected at the Office of National Authorizing Officer, 1st floor John Henry building, Dickenson Bay Street from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The deadline for submission of applications is on October 7th for the Stone Restoration and Defensive Architecture Course and October 14th for the Heritage Tourism and Promotion Course.

Copy the following link to access the application Form: http://abepa.gov.ag/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Application-Form.pdf

Government of Antigua and Barbuda receives USD $234,255 from the Caribbean Development Bank towards enhancing Private Sector competitiveness

August 25th, 2015

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) has received financing by way of a grant from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) pursuant to the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Standby Facility for Capacity Building under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) in the amount of two hundred and thirty four thousand, two hundred and fifty-five United States dollars (USD234,255) towards the cost of the Enhancing Private Sector Competitiveness through the Implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Project.

EPA Implementation Coordinator, Ms. Barbara Williams explained that the project will focus on building the capacity of the private sector to trade under the EPA Agreement, while at the same time ensuring that Antigua and Barbuda fulfils in a timely manner its legal obligations as outlined in the Agreement.

The major outputs of the project are the development and implementation of a Services Sector Policy Expansion Plan aimed at creating a more enabling environment for the advancement of the services sector particularly tourism including Spa and Wellness, Information Communication Technology, and Culture. Support would also be provided for the drafting of critical pieces of legislation that addresses the implementation of the EPA.

The project will be implemented by the Office of the NAO, EPA Implementation over an 18 month period commencing September 1st, 2015.

END

Conclusion of the Fort George restoration project’s Archaeological Survey and Debriefing Meeting

17th August, 2015

Spanish Archaeologist Dr. Beatriz Marin Aguilera visited the island from July 27th – August 2nd, 2015 to conduct an Archaeological Survey of the Fort George site at Monks Hill. Archaeologist Dr. Reginald Murphy of the National Parks Authority and a team of eight (8) professionals also participated in the Survey.

The discovery of forty-five buildings at the Fort compared to the 15 displayed on Great George Fort Map of 1752 was one of the Survey’s major findings. Consequently, the team of archaeologists were able to develop a new map of the Fort which identifies the exact locations of the structures on site.

Archaeologist Marin and the National Parks have made plans to display a miniature exhibit of the site and its findings at the National Museum later this month. A larger, permanent exposition of the Fort is expected to be displayed at the Nelson’s Dockyard Museum following the restoration course in October, 2015. The exhibit will disclose several findings of the archaeological dig and form part of the project’s sensitization exercise. It is anticipated that this exhibition will be completed in time for the 2015 Independence Celebrations.

On August 12th, 2015 a debriefing meeting facilitated by the Office of the National Authorizing Officer was attended by Minister of Culture Hon. E. P. Chet Greene, Deputy National Authorizing Officer, Ms. Barbara Williams, Honorary Consul to Spain, Mr. Mitchell Hill, Dr. Beatriz Marin and Project Coordinator, Ms. Arita Phillip. The meeting was held in order to provide an update on the implementation of the project and to present the Report and findings of the Survey.

Marin recommended the development of a cultural tour, which would focus mainly on exposing heritage landmarks such as Fort George and Fort James, to form part of the

educational awareness exercise of the restoration project. Marin also announced that the initial support by the Spanish Government would be used to stabilize the main entrance to the Fort.

Minister of Culture, Hon. E. P. Chet Greene offered high commendations to the Spanish Government for their continued commitment to the restoration project and expressed his warm appreciation for Ms. Marin, the National Parks Authority and the team who worked arduously on the Archaeological Survey.

Minister Greene indicated that there will be several new developments for the project including legislation to protect national artifacts from looting, establishment of a booking system for tours to the Fort, and a more engaged site management and public awareness campaign “to ensure that locals take ownership of the project and appreciate restoration as a significant part of our culture and heritage.” Greene cautioned the public from taking singular visits to the site due to the fragile and dangerous state of the Fort and admonished looters to desist from stealing the heritage of Antigua and Barbuda. He said, “Although there is no law in place, we will step up our national security by having additional security checks within the Customs Department at the Airport. As I seek to engage the Attorney General on creating legislation to prevent further theft and to allow the country to reclaim our national treasures from wherever they are in the world, I admonish persons to desist from removing items from our country’s heritage sites.”

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Commencement of Archaeological Survey for Fort George Restoration Project

24th July, 2015

The Antigua and Barbuda Spain Bilateral Cooperation programme proceeds as Spanish Archaeologist, Ms. Beatriz Marin Aguilera will be on island from 26th July – 13th August, 2015 to participate in an Archaeological survey at the Fort George site.

The objective of the archaeological survey is to ascertain data on the historical remnants at the site. This exercise is a precursor to the site restoration which will be undertaken following the restoration course set for October 12th, 2015.

Along with Spanish expert Ms. Marin, the restoration team will include local Archaeologist Dr. Reginald Murphy and eight (8) professionals with expertise among other things in the fields of archaeology, geography, excavation, surveying, forensic science, computer applications in archaeology.

The Work Programme for the three weeks of archaeological work will include: collecting photographs using drone photography; locating and identifying buildings and features; conducting an archaeological assessment, mapping sensitive areas for future research and excavations; formulating a report and preparing rough estimates of the costs of stabilization and repair of the exterior walls among other tasks.

Minister of Culture, Hon. E. P. Chet Greene once again lauded the Spanish Government for their commitment to the project and welcomed the visit of Spanish Archeologist Marin. Minister Greene emphasized the importance of the preservation of our historical sites and highlighted the need for training and capacity building of locals in the area of restorative work. He cautioned citizens to have greater respect for our national heritage landmarks and to desist from purposely continuing to damage the fortifications.

“The Monks Hill restoration project brings us that much closer to realizing our heritage tourism potential. It provides the right environment to stimulate the economic growth and development of a niche sector with tremendous employment opportunities,” he said.

Project Coordinator Ms. Arita Phillip said “The project is progressing quite well. The undertaking of this archaeological work will undoubtedly assist in the development of our nation’s tourism product and provide opportunities for the nation to tap into additional markets.”

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OPENING REMARKS by Hon. Oliver Joseph, Minister of Economic Development, Planning, Trade, Cooperatives and International Business of Grenada at the Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council

Honourable Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg and Representative of the Council of the European Union, Mrs. Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade, European Commission and the other members of delegation, Honourable Ministers of CARIFORUM and Heads of CARIFORUM Delegations to this Meeting, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Media.

I have the honour to be appointed as the CARIFORUM High Representative and Chair of the Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council.

This honour would normally have been bestowed on the resident minister — Hon. Carl B. Greenidge, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana – however, he is unavoidably absent today. It is, therefore, my pleasure to welcome our European Union colleagues to the Caribbean and in particular to Guyana. I am sure that you will have an enjoyable stay and that the work that we do today will redound to the benefit of the people of both the Caribbean as well as Europe.

From the outset, I wish thank the European Union for including five (5) CARIFORUM States in the Schengen visa waiver regime. I take this opportunity to encourage consideration of the inclusion of the other CARIFORUM States in this waiver regime.

As we are all aware, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM States and the European Union and its Member States was signed on 15 October 2008. All Parties, except Haiti, were provisionally applying the EPA. The Declaration on the signing of the EPA provides for a review to be undertaken after five years.

Article 227 of the EPA provides for the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council to supervise implementation of the Agreement and for undertaking the Five Year Review. The Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council is the highest Joint Body established under the EPA. My very first point related to the implementation of the EPA is that all of the Joint Institutions provided for under the EPA have been established and are now fully operational. These bodies include the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee and the Consultative Committee. The latter body is made up of Civil Society representatives. I make this point in order to underscore that while the EPA is a Trade and Development Agreement, it is subject to scrutiny by the various parliaments as well as by Civil Society.

We are well aware, that the Global Financial and Economic Crisis of 2008 was at its height when we commenced implementation of the EPA. According to all the available information that situation has, in fact, negatively affected the ability of CARIFORUM States to fulfill all their obligations under the EPA and to take full advantage of all the opportunities created by the EPA. In fact, all of the information seems to suggest that the results and benefits of the EPA are mixed. These results are spread over a spectrum ranging from highly successful individual events to areas of the Agreement which have not yet been activated. Today, as representatives of the people of CARIFORUM and the European Union we will undertake a joint examination on the basis of whatever factual information is available to us. We will examine where we have succeeded and why, where our performance has been average and where we have failed to jointly take the actions required by us.

When CARIFORUM States signed the EPA, they did so with high expectations and with an enthusiasm which has always characterized CARIFORUM-EU relations. We had expectations

of an early harvest of the benefits particularly as we were the first ACP region to sign an EPA with the EU. We anticipated that significant benefits would begin to flow particularly from the Services Provisions of the EPA. In hindsight, we underestimated the level of effort which would have been required in relation to commitments made and the level of the effort required to extract the potential benefits of the EPA. Perhaps, in our enthusiasm we were over optimistic and had not anticipated some of the challenges with which we would be faced and the constraints which would inhibit our collective expectations.

Today, we have an opportunity to objectively review how far we have come, what challenges we have experienced, what we have been able to achieve so far, and what constraints affected us. Today, we have an opportunity to map out the path that we must take. Our original objective cannot be changed at this point. In fact, we must make the EPA, constraints and experiences notwithstanding, contribute positively to the sustainable development of the Caribbean people.

When we exchange views on this review we must examine a number of the critical areas of the Agreement. We must pay particular attention to how we monitor implementation and impact the Agreement. We must examine what we have been able to do on Development Cooperation and what remains to be done. We must clearly identify the capacity constraints which have impeded CARIFORUM in its attempt to take advantage of the provisions of the EPA. We must review our performance on trade in goods and agriculture and fisheries and determine why we have not done as well as we could have. We must scrutinize our performance on Investment and Trade in Services and exchange views on what we could have done better. And, we must look at specific issues including how we can operationalize the provisions in the EPA for Cultural Cooperation.

It would be remiss of me not to publicly acknowledge the support which we have and continue to receive from the European Union. In fact, I wish to make specific reference to the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme of the 11th European Development Fund signed between CARIFORUM and the EU in Brussels on 11 June 2015. That Agreement is valued at Euro 346 million and is intended to be spent on Regional Economic Integration, Crime and Security and Climate Change including Disaster Risk

Reduction and Alternative and Renewable Energy. The sum set aside for Regional Economic Integration includes provision for EPA Implementation support.

We cannot afford to turn back. As a region, we have set the example for our other colleagues in the ACP Group of States. It is most likely that they will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Five Year Review of the EPA. We must not disappoint them. Our analysis must be clear and objective. Our conclusions must be precise. Our recommendations for a way forward must be focused and targeted. We must continue to advocate the CARIFORUM-EU EPA as an important tool for sustainable development. We must enable others to learn from our experience.

Permit me to complete this short statement by reaffirming confidence in the EPA and by giving the pledge that CARIFORUM States intend to fully collaborate with the EU in seeking to fully implement the Agreement for the benefit of the people of CARIFORUM and the EU. As a region, we must also ensure that the benefits of the EPA begin to filter down to the people of the Caribbean. In all of what we do we must put people at the center. History will judge us based on how we convert the potential of the EPA into opportunities and benefits for our people. We will need the continued support and assistance of our European Union partners.

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PRESS STATEMENT: Hon. Oliver Joseph addresses the Opening Ceremony of the Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-European Union (EU) Council under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) got underway this morning at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre in Liliendaal, Guyana. The Meeting is being held under the chairmanship of Hon. Oliver Joseph, Minister of Economic Development, Planning, Trade, Cooperatives and International Business of Grenada.

Several CARIFORUM States are represented at the Ministerial level. The EU is represented by Mr. Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg representing the Council of the European Union, and Mrs. Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Trade, European Commission.

The Meeting marks the first political engagement, between CARIFORUM and the EU, on the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Five Year Review of the EPA provided for in the Joint Declaration on The Signing of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA. Accordingly, the Meeting places strong emphasis on the Five Year Review.

Hon. Oliver Joseph delivered a statement at the Opening Ceremony of the Meeting.

Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council Georgetown, Guyana 16 July 2015 Joint Communiqué

1. The Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-European Union (EU) Council under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) took place in Georgetown, Guyana, on 16 July 2015. The Meeting was held under the chairmanship of Hon. Oliver Joseph, Minister of Economic Development, Planning, Trade, Cooperatives and International Business of Grenada.

2. Several CARIFORUM States were represented at the Ministerial level. The EU was represented by Mr. Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg representing the Council of the European Union, and Mrs. Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Trade, European Commission.

3. The Meeting marked the first political engagement, between CARIFORUM and the EU, on the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Five Year Review of the EPA provided for in the Joint Declaration on The Signing of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA. Accordingly, the Meeting affirmed its unwavering commitment to the EPA as a comprehensive and forward-looking platform for economic and social cooperation. The two Sides placed strong emphasis on the Five Year Review to determine the Agreement’s impact, including the costs, benefits and other consequences of implementation, and to inform, as necessary, amendment of the provisions of the Agreement and the adjustment of their application.

4. The two Sides agreed that immediate attention should be paid to the continuous monitoring of the EPA, as provided for in Article 5. In this vein, the two Sides also agreed to develop a joint monitoring system in sufficient time to inform future reviews of the Agreement and to provide the support required to facilitate the development of the monitoring system.

5. CARIFORUM and the EU examined the status of ratification and urged CARIFORUM and EU Member States which had not yet done so to take urgent action to ratify the Agreement. Haiti was invited to ratify with a view to applying the Agreement as soon as feasible.

6. CARIFORUM and the EU welcomed progress made in implementing the EPA, and in particular the duty-free quota-free market access for CARIFORUM exports to the EU, as well as the tariff cuts made by CARIFORUM States. The Meeting noted that CARIFORUM States had not yet been able to fully convert the market access offered by the EPA into meaningful market presence. It was emphasized that the global financial and economic crisis of 2008, coming right at the commencement of the implementation of the EPA, had exposed the vulnerable nature of CARIFORUM economies and had generally impacted on levels of trade, collection of government revenue, as well as on foreign exchange earnings particularly in the tourism dependent economies. The two Sides would further review any additional revenue implications of the EPA. Furthermore, the Meeting expressed concern that, with some exceptions, the EPA has not yet had the anticipated impact on overall trade between CARIFORUM and the EU. However, both

Sides remain hopeful about the EPA’s prospects as there is evidence that it stimulated trade in some sectors.

7. The Meeting noted that all the EPA institutions were now operational and that the policy dialogue had been further enhanced through separate meetings on development cooperation, agriculture & fisheries, services and monitoring. It was however generally recognized that challenges persist. Furthermore, there was agreement that the lessons learnt so far in implementation pointed to the need to pay close attention to institutional capacity, built-in constraints of the Agreement and CARIFORUM’s supply-side capacity constraints in order for the full potential of the EPA to be realized. The two Sides agreed to take joint action and to engage in continuous consultations in addressing these constraining challenges.

8. CARIFORUM States acknowledged the support which the EU has provided for EPA implementation under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP) as well as through bilateral Aid-for-Trade (AfT) support provided by some EU Member States. The recently signed 11th EDF CRIP, valued at €346 million, which provides for a significant allocation for Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration, including provision for EPA implementation, was also welcomed. The overall allocation for the Caribbean region for the period 2014-2020 has been maintained at €1 billion, due mainly to the doubling of the regional envelope. This illustrates the high level of EU political commitment towards investment, growth, and sustainable development to the region. Attention was drawn to the development cooperation provisions of the EPA and consensus was reached that the Technical Sub-Committee on Development Cooperation would keep these provisions of the Agreement under continuous review. Note was taken of the expiration of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement or the “Cotonou Agreement” in 2020 and CARIFORUM’s position that there is need to ensure adequate development cooperation in support of EPA implementation in the post Cotonou period.

9. The Meeting reviewed the regional integration aspects of the Agreement. CARIFORUM and the EU confirmed their expectation that implementation of the relevant provisions would positively contribute to the sustainable development of the region. Action would be taken to implement the provisions as a matter of priority.

10. The Meeting noted that services are a key economic driver for the EU and for most CARIFORUM States, accounting for over 70 percent of their GDP. CARIFORUM commended the EU for its current initiatives which have either been put in place or are being developed to facilitate CARIFORUM Service Suppliers’ easier access to the EU market. In that regard, the Meeting took note of the EU’s action in respect of the expansion of the list of CARIFORUM States participating in the Schengen Visa Waiver Regime, the Directive on Intra-corporate Transferees and the latest European Commission proposals for revising the Visa Code and creating of a touring visa to facilitate the entry and temporary presence of natural persons for business purposes, including service providers. Concerns were, however, expressed that some CARIFORUM service suppliers continued to be constrained in establishing and maintaining market presence in the EU, and that CARIFORUM had not yet completed all the legislative requirements on mode 4. Both Sides also recognized the importance of prioritizing and operationalizing relevant joint actions to

strengthen the regulatory environment in CARIFORUM States pertaining to Services, including in relation to Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). The Meeting noted that the investment and trade in services provisions of the EPA have not yet yielded all the anticipated benefits and concluded that CARIFORUM and the EU should work towards ensuring that the provisions deliver their full potential. CARIFORUM and the EU underscored the importance of continuous engagement on the Services provisions of the EPA and agreed to explore measures that support the development of the capacity of CARIFORUM service suppliers to gain meaningful access to the EU market and to address challenges associated with the collection of services trade data.

11. Both Sides recommitted to the principles of the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation and agreed to exchange views on how to give effect to the provisions of the Protocol.

12. CARIFORUM and the EU reviewed the Agriculture and Fisheries aspects of the EPA and confirmed that their effective implementation would significantly contribute to CARIFORUM Food and Nutrition Security and sustainable development. CARIFORUM and the EU have agreed to set up a Special Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries to exchange information, consult and take action in these fields.

13. CARIFORUM and the EU committed to take action to ensure improved communication on the EPA at all levels, including at political, regional and national levels to ensure improved coordination of implementation of the EPA, knowledge of its provisions and realization of its potential benefits. In this context the Meeting welcomed the updated list of EU services enquiry points and recognised that such enquiry points should be more visible and accessible to the private sector.

14. The Meeting emphasised the role that the EPA’s Parliamentary Committee and Consultative Committee have to play in EPA implementation, monitoring and communication. CARIFORUM and the EU resolved to make their joint reports available to both Committees as soon as they were finalised.

15. The two Sides expressed confidence that, in spite of the challenges which had so far confronted EPA implementation, the Agreement has tremendous potential for contributing to the sustainable development of CARIFORUM States. The Meeting called upon the Trade and Development Committee and its Special Committees to take action to ensure urgent and continuous follow up to the Five Year Review. CARIFORUM and the EU vowed to intensify their efforts in the next five year period towards the achievement of the EPA’s objectives and to further strengthen their partnership.

16. The two Sides reaffirmed their commitment to coordinate efforts to ensure the effective implementation of the agreements reached and decisions made during the Five Year Review of the EPA.

17. CARIFORUM and the EU expressed their deep appreciation to the Government and people of Guyana for the warm hospitality, excellent arrangements and courtesies extended which greatly facilitated the fruitful deliberations of the Third Meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council.

CCJ Senior Judge, Hon. Justice Rolston Nelson Presentation to the CARICOM Forum on June 23rd, 2015

THE ROLE OF THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE REVISED CARICOM TREATY

The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (“the Revised Treaty” or “the RTC”) on July 5, 2001. By Article 211 of the Revised Treaty, the Caribbean Court of Justice is required to interpret and apply the RTC. The Court is not a national court and is not an institution of the Caribbean Community. It is an independent institution.

The Caribbean Court of Justice

The Court was established on February 14, 2001 as a regional judicial body by the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (“the Agreement”). On that date, the Agreement was signed by ten (10) states. On February 15, 2003 two more states signed but one of them entered a reservation with respect to the appellate jurisdiction. Ultimately, three more states, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Suriname, signed and ratified the Agreement but entered reservations as to the appellate jurisdiction upon ratification. Nevertheless, the states parties to the Agreement have adhered to the original jurisdiction of the Court without reservations.

The Court is a hybrid court in that it is both a supranational and a domestic court. In its original jurisdiction it is an international court designed to promote regional economic integration; in its domestic jurisdiction it is the final court of appeal for all CARICOM countries which have made the necessary constitutional changes to make the Court the court of last resort instead of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. To date, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica have made the necessary constitutional changes to make the Caribbean Court of Justice the final court of appeal in domestic matters instead of the Privy Council. In this paper I will discuss the Court only in its original jurisdiction.

Once a State belongs to the Common Market the CCJ has jurisdiction in common market issues in all the States Parties to the RTC i.e. the Community and the Common Market. Note the unique position of the Bahamas (not a member of the Common Market) and Montserrat (the UK Overseas Territory for which the UK has not signed).

The Preamble to the Treaty affirms that the original jurisdiction of the Court “is essential for the successful operation of the CSME”. CSME means the Single Market and Economy. The Court exists to protect the rights and freedoms guaranteed to CARICOM citizens under the Treaty, namely, freedom of movement for goods, persons, services and capital and the right of establishment. The Treaty guarantees the private sector freedom of movement of capital. Free movement of capital is also ancillary to each of the rights and freedoms. The Court is concerned with making those rights and freedoms effective and with providing legal certainty and uniformity in the application of the Treaty.

The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM agreed that the seat of the Court would be in Trinidad and Tobago. The Court can, however, sit in the territory of any other Contracting Party if the Court so determines.

The parties to the Agreement envisaged that in its original jurisdiction, the Court would fulfil the following roles:

1. To make effective those rights guaranteed to CARICOM citizens under the Treaty.

2. To see that Member States strictly observe the provisions of the Treaty not only vis-à-vis other Member States but vis-à-vis CARICOM nationals.

3. To provide legal certainty and uniformity in the application and interpretation of the Treaty.

4. To serve as an efficient, impartial and effective tribunal in all matters arising out of the Treaty.

5. By its independence and impartiality to guarantee an investment climate friendly to foreign and local investors.

Jurisdiction of the Court

The Court by virtue of Article 211(1), has the “compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes concerning the interpretation and application of this Treaty.”

More specifically the Revised Treaty provides for the Court to adjudicate on:

“(a) disputes between the Member States parties to the Agreement;

(b) disputes between the Member States parties to the Agreement and the Community;

(c) referrals from national courts of the Member States parties to the Agreement;

(d) applications by persons in accordance with Article 222,

concerning the interpretation and application of this Treaty.”

Thus in addition to the exercise of an appellate jurisdiction, the Court holds an original jurisdiction employing the rules of international law in order to interpret and apply the provisions of the Revised Treaty.

The Court also has exclusive jurisdiction to deliver advisory opinions concerning the interpretation and application of the Treaty, but only at the instance of a Contracting Party or the Community. (Article 212) National courts are obligated to refer to the Court any question concerning the interpretation and application of the Treaty, if the resolution of that question is necessary to enable the municipal judge to deliver judgment: see Article 214 of the Treaty and Article XIV of the Agreement.

The Court also has jurisdiction to review a determination of the regional Competition Commission that an agreement or conduct is anti-competitive and the orders made by that Commission as a result: see Article 175 para. 12. The Court may also review a negative clearance ruling obtained from the Competition Commission by fraud or improper means (Article 180 para. 3) and enforce an order of the Competition Commission where the time for compliance has expired (Article 175 para. 11).

No other international tribunal than the Caribbean Court may be called upon to adjudicate a dispute between Member States or between Member States and the Community or between a CARICOM individual and either a Member State or the Community. The introduction of the word “exclusive” in Article 211 (jurisdiction of the Court in contentious proceedings) has created the impression that on the municipal plane national courts have no jurisdiction to entertain questions concerning the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty.

The difficulty about a referral under Article 214 is that a national judge is likely to uphold an objection that the CCJ has exclusive jurisdiction over the application and interpretation of the Revised Treaty, and therefore not entertain any issue concerning the Revised Treaty. Secondly, any issue concerning the Revised Treaty must be a matter between Member States or a Member State and the Community. A national judge cannot entertain a matter between a Member State and an individual because individuals and private entities have access to the Court to decide disputes only if they obtain leave pursuant to Article 222.

It is not surprising that there has been no referral of cases from a national court to the CCJ for interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty.

Independence of the Court

The role of the CCJ is circumscribed by its independence and insulation from political influence. A vital element in strengthening the regional integration movement is demonstrating the independence and impartiality of the Court. No criticism has been made of the independence of the Court. Judges are appointed by the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission. The members of that Commission are not named and appointed by any politician, and no politician is a member of the Commission. In fact Article V para. 12 of the Agreement states that “the members of the Commission shall neither seek nor receive instructions from any body or person external to the Commission.”

Whilst the Judges are appointed by the Commission, the President of the Court is appointed by the CARICOM Heads of Government. Notably the appointment of the President can only be made with respect to someone nominated by the Commission so that the independence of the Court is preserved.

The President of the Court is appointed by the CARICOM Heads of Government, but they may only appoint someone nominated by the Commission. Thus the independence of the Court is preserved. The Judges are appointed by the Commission.

 

The President and the Judges cannot be removed from office before they reach the retirement age of 72. Retirement may be deferred to 75 with leave of the Commission. The only grounds for removal before the relevant retirement age are inability to perform their duties or misconduct.

Another safeguard is that the salaries and allowances of the Judges cannot be altered to their disadvantage during their term of office: See Article XXVIII para 3 of the Agreement.

However, since the salaries and allowances of judges can only be paid with the approval of the Heads of Government, the withholding of approval by the simple device of deferring a decision on such emoluments is a potentially dangerous inroad on the independence and impartiality of the judges. Note that Article 28 of the RTC generally requires unanimity and a single negative vote will veto a decision. My proposal is that a Salaries Review Commission similar to the one that exists in Trinidad and Tobago will complete the circle of CCJ judicial independence.

Financing of the Court

Funds for payment of salaries and allowances were provided by an innovative CCJ Trust Fund. The capital of the Fund was provided by the Caribbean Development Bank, which raised the sum of $100,000,000 on the international capital market, but the fact remains that monies for judges’ salaries and allowances cannot be paid unless the political directorate says so. The annual repayment of the capital and interest on this sum was guaranteed by the participating countries in agreed proportions. The Trustees have the responsibility of investing the capital sum borrowed by the Bank so that the income from the sum would meet the expenses of the Court.

Technology

One of the major challenges facing litigants has been their distance from the seat of the Court in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In order to provide the citizens of the Caribbean Community with greater access to justice, the Court has applied technology to improve communications with its regional customers. The Court has equipped the courts of most of the member states of the region with videoconferencing facilities. This equipment provides better communication between the courts of the region, including this Court. Funding for this project was provided by the European Union.

Generally pre-trial hearings are heard either by teleconference or videoconference. Thus, justice is delivered in a timely manner, and the litigant is spared the cost of air travel, accommodation and subsistence for attorneys-at-law travelling to Trinidad.

Audio and video transcripts of proceedings in the Court are available at the Court’s website.

Jurisprudence of the Court

The impact of the Court and its role in the CSME can only be discerned by studying the jurisprudence of the Court in its original jurisdiction.

Predictably because of the reluctance of States to sue one another to date, claims in the original jurisdiction have been brought by private companies and individuals. The first case was filed by Trinidad Cement Ltd (“TCL”) and its Guyana subsidiary, TCL Guyana Inc. against the state of Guyana. The second was by TCL against the Caribbean Community. The third was by a Barbados attorney, Doreen Johnson, against the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD). It is to be noted that very important European Union cases such as Costa v ENEL [1964] E.C.R. 585 and Van Gend en Loos [1963] E.C.R. 1 reached the European Court of Justice as a result of challenges by individuals.

Locus Standi of private entities and individuals: Article 222

Although disputes on the international plane are normally between States, the RTC allows private persons and entities to approach it. On the international plane where a state is responsible for loss or damage to a national or another state, the state of the injured party may present a claim on the national’s behalf: see Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law (6th ed.) at pages 497-8). However, individuals have been given procedural capacity for presentation of claims even against their own States: see the Arbitral Tribunal of Upper Silesia set up by the German Polish Convention of May 5, 1922, especially Articles 16-24 thereof.

Article 222 of the Treaty provides that private entities may apply to the Court for leave to be allowed to appear as parties in proceedings before the Court.

An applicant under Article 222 must be a person, natural or juridical, of the Contracting Party to the Agreement. In leave proceedings Trinidad Cement Limited v The State of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana (No. 1) [2009] CCJ 1 (OJ); (2009) 74 WIR 302, the Court ruled at [28] that registration or incorporation in a Contracting Party was sufficient to bring a company within Article 222, despite the fact that the majority shareholding was held by a non-national resident outside the Contracting Party.

Applicants for leave pursuant to Article 222 must show (a) that the Treaty intended “that a right or benefit conferred by or under this Treaty on a Contracting Party shall enure to the benefit of such persons directly” TCL v Guyana (No. 1) at [31] and (b) that they “have been prejudiced in respect of the enjoyment of the right or benefit.” At this leave stage, the applicant need only make out an arguable case that these conditions can or will be satisfied at the substantive hearing: TCL v Guyana (No. 1) at [33]. At the substantive hearing, the applicant must show that the private entity or individual has “satisfied fully the relevant provisions of Article 222”: see TCL v The Caribbean Community (No. 2) [2009] CCJ 4 (OJ); (2009) 75 WIR 194 at [17]. In Myrie v Barbados (No. 2) (2013) 83 WIR 104 at [7] the Court said that “by the grant of special leave the Court concluded that Ms. Myrie had fully complied with the requirements of Article 222 RTC.”

As regards “prejudice”, in the leave proceedings the Court held that the obligation of Member States to maintain the Common External Tariff was “of potential benefit to all legal and natural persons carrying on business in the Community having to do with any such goods. Equally, the failure by any particular Member State to fulfil this obligation is of potential prejudice to all such persons.” On this point see Tomlinson v Belize where the mere existence of what appeared to be entry requirements prohibiting gays was sufficient to be a basis for special leave: (2014) 84 WIR 239.

An applicant for leave pursuant to Article 222 must also show that the Contracting Party i.e. the State, which would normally in international law have locus standi on behalf of a national, has omitted or declined to espouse the claim or has expressly agreed that the applicant should “espouse the claim” instead of the Contracting Party.

Article 222 clearly contemplates that a private individual may sue in a proper case, but seeks to preserve the orthodoxy of the rule that a State must sue on behalf of its national by obtaining the State’s declaration directly or indirectly that it was giving way. If the State to which the intended clamant belongs is the defendant, to ask the defendant State to espouse a case against itself would be meaningless. The CCJ concluded that there would be no need to satisfy this requirement. Any other interpretation would ignore the private entity’s right to intervene in existing proceedings, the rule against discrimination in Article 7 and the potential for abuse by a State depriving its ‘nationals’ of their Treaty rights.

Finally, the Court must in all the circumstances consider it to be in the interests of justice that leave be granted in the particular case.

The Court has by its rulings in the cases filed in the original jurisdiction interpreted its jurisdiction broadly. Thus, a company, incorporated or registered in a CARICOM member state is treated as belonging to the State even though ownership or control of the company is held by persons or entities outside the jurisdiction. Indeed the Court has gone further and held that a person (individual or company) who belongs to a State for the purposes of Article 222 may sue the State to which that individual or company belongs. In Rudisa Beverages v Guyana (2014) 84 WIR 217 the Court granted locus standi to private companies and held that an environmental tax imposed on disposable drink containers imported into Guyana was a protectionist charge having an effect equivalent to an import levy contrary to Article 87.

Who may be sued?

It is clear that Member States and the Community can be sued. In Doreen Johnson v CARICAD [2009] CCJ 3 (OJ); (2009) 74 WIR 57, the Court held that CARICAD, an institution, did not act for the Community and was not its alter ego, with the result that the Court had no jurisdiction. It was held that the Organs and Bodies reflect the will of the Community. On the other hand, the Institutions and Associate Institutions have some connection with the Community but they have no power actual or ostensible to bind the Community. The Caribbean Community is on the verge of setting up a Caribbean Community Administrative Tribunal to fill the gap exposed by the Court.

Remedies

It is apparent that the Treaty prescribes no remedies for breach of its provisions. The intention must have been to give the Court a free hand in devising remedies for breach of its provisions.

In TCL v CARICOM (No. 2) [2009] CCJ 4 (OJ); (2009) 75 WIR 194 at [38] et seq. the Court asserted that the impugned decisions to authorize suspensions of the CET on cement (both by the Secretary General and by COTED) were subject to judicial review by the Court. The court had to strike a balance. It had to be careful not to frustrate or hinder the ability of Community organs to enjoy flexibility in the management of the Community. On the other hand, the Community had to be accountable, respect the rights accorded private entities under the Treaty and should not disappoint legitimate expectations.

The Court’s power to review the decisions of COTED was limited to cases where COTED had exercised a discretion. Applications for suspensions had to be dealt with “in a principled, procedurally appropriate manner”: see TCL v CARICOM (No. 2) (2009) 75 WIR 194; [2009] CCJ (OJ) at [41].

In laying down these markers, it is clear that the Court is delineating its own legal system. The subjects of that legal system are not only the Member States but their nationals. Rights are granted expressly or indirectly because of obligations imposed by the Revised Treaty on individuals, Member States and the Community. Liability arises not by virtue of any breach at the municipal level but by virtue of a breach within the new legal system.

This is what the Court was enunciating when it declared in TCL v CARICOM (No. 1) (2009) 74 WIR 319, 328 at [32]:

“By signing and ratifying the Revised Treaty and thereby conferring on this Court ipso facto a compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty, the Member States transformed the erstwhile voluntary arrangements in CARICOM into a rule-based system, thus creating and accepting a regional system under the rule of law.”

Thus, the Court has held that in view of its duty to enforce the rule of law and to render the Revised Treaty effective, there was implicit in its functions a power to afford appropriate relief for those who suffered and established loss arising out of an illegal act or omission by the Community or, it seems, by a Member State: see TCL v CARICOM (No. 2) (2009) 75 WIR 194; [2009] CCJ 4 (OJ) at [43]. Not only are compensatory damages available for breach of a Treaty provision but also non-pecuniary damages: see Myrie v Barbados (No. 2) (2013) 83 WIR 104 at [100]. Coercive remedies are also available.

In TCL v Guyana (No. 2) (2009) 75 WIR 327, the Court held that although an award of damages might have been possible, proof of damages had not been established. The Court, however, made a mandatory coercive order requiring Guyana to reinstate and maintain the CET in respect of cement within 28 days of the date of the order: see order at [2009] CCJ 5 (OJ); (2009) 75 WIR 327 at [44] – [46].

Enforcement

In the Treaty, there is no provision for the enforcement of judgments of the Court. In TCL v Guyana (No. 2) (supra), Guyana failed to comply with the Court’s order to re-impose the CET fully for nearly four months. The Court in fact refused an application to vary its order or to extend the time for compliance. Guyana eventually complied fully with the Court’s order.

TCL filed a contempt application TCL v Guyana (No. 3) 76 WIR 312 seeking orders declaring the Attorney General of Guyana (who was not the government official to re-instate the CET) and a further order against Guyana pursuant to Article 215 of the Treaty. Since the Attorney-General was not responsible for implementing the order, the application for orders against him failed. Article 215 requires a Member State to comply promptly with a judgment of the Court. In view of admissions by Guyana that it was in breach the Court made the order pursuant to Article 215.

The contempt application was based on Article XXVI of the Agreement. The Agreement required Member States to take all necessary steps, including the enactment of the legislation to ensure that the Court has power to make any order for the purpose of the investigation or punishment of any contempt of court that any superior court of a Contracting Party may make.

In the first place, the concept of civil contempt with which we are here concerned is unknown to civil law countries such as Suriname and Haiti. But does the concept of civil contempt of court exist in international law? The Court held at [44] that Art. XXVI conferred no express power to entertain contempt proceedings. Secondly, it was not clear that one could extrapolate from the ad hoc international criminal tribunal cases that international courts have an inherent jurisdiction in civil contempt in non-criminal cases.

In Rudisa Beverages v Guyana (supra) the Court ordered that if the judgment creditor did not file a notice of satisfaction of the judgment by a stated time, the judgment debtor should make a report to the Court. Thereafter either side could make an appropriate application to the Court.

However, generally the underlying problem is whether a money judgment is enforceable against a State.

The role of general principles of law in Caribbean Community law

The Treaty is a creature of international law, Article 217 provides as follows:-

“The Court in exercising its original jurisdiction under Article 211 shall apply such rules of international law as may be applicable.”

In TCL v Caribbean Community (No. 1) (2009) 74 WIR 319; [2009] CCJ 2, the Court referred to Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which is generally regarded as having authoritatively stated the sources of international law as:

(a) International conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules recognized by the contracting parties;

(b) International custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;

(c) General principles of law recognized by civilized nations;

(d) Subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as a subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.

See Aust: Handbook of International Law (Cambridge) at page 6.

It is the application of general principles fashioned by the judges and general principles culled from the national legal systems of Member States to the “new legal order of international law” of the regional treaty that creates Community law as a separate system of law. The general principles of law invented by the judges are tools of interpretation and application for the protection of treaty rights of individuals and entities in the interests of the rule of law. These universal general principles referred to in the ICJ statute are in no way different from those applicable specifically to the Member States of CARICOM or to states parties to regional economic agreements.

Recourse to the general principles of law already established in recognized regional courts of justice has the potential to protect and secure treaty rights and obligations. The protection of these rights and obligations would advance economic integration by empowering Community nationals to come before the Court to seek enforcement of commitments and undertakings in the Revised Treaty. In Myrie v Barbados (No. 2) (2013) 83 WIR 104 at [77] the requirement of giving reasons to a traveller denied entry was based on the principle of accountability which forms part of Community law.

The experience of the European Court of Justice, now the CJEU indicates that the sources of such general principles of law are the national legal systems of the Member States, the EC Treaty or international agreements to which the Member States subscribe. These general principles of law are used as a means of assessing the validity of acts of Community institutions or to control abuse of their powers and to review the acts of national bodies acting within the sphere of Community law. General principles of law may also be used to fill gaps in Community law. Advocate General M. Dutheillet de Lamothe explained that the fundamental principles of national legal systems … “contribute to forming that philosophical, political and legal substratum common to the Member States from which through case law an unwritten Community law emerges, one of the essential aims of which is precisely to ensure the respect for the fundamental rights of the individual.”

General principles of law may be derived also from international law. The general principle of good faith has been held by the Court of First Instance of the ECJ (now Grand Court of the EU) to give rise to legitimate expectations in Community law: see Opel Austria v Council [1997] ECR II – 39. Further, the very doctrine of direct effect is based on an exception to the principle that states are the proper subjects of international law: see the Advisory Opinion in the Danzig Railway Officials case (1928) PCIJ, Ser B. No. 15 pp 17-18.

The judges of the ECJ filled gaps in the EC Treaty by having regard to principles of law taken from the Member States. In Cases 7/56 and 37/57 Algera et al v Assembly [1957-58] ECR 39, the European Court referred to the need to fill gaps by recourse to national laws especially rules applicable in the law of individual Member States on the issues it had to decide. Professor Hartley summarizes the position as follows:

“When the European Court creates new rules of Community law, it purports to do so on the basis of “general principles of law.” In theory, these are principles found in all or most legal systems. …The principles thus “discovered” by the court are not always found in a majority or even any of the legal systems of the Member States. When it wants to create a new legal rule, the European Court certainly looks at the legal systems of the Member States. However, it does not regard itself as bound to adopt the majority view. Once it has informed itself of possible solutions, it considers itself free to fashion the rule it regards as most appropriate to the needs of the Community.”

The Caribbean Court of Justice arrived at broadly similar conclusions in the special leave application of TCL v Caribbean Community (No. 1) (2009) 74 WIR 319; [2009] CCJ 2(OJ) at [41].

“[41] …This Court may take into account the principles and concepts common to the laws of Member States. The search is for general principles of law common to Member States. It is sufficient if the general principle is widely accepted: see the opinion of Advocate General Sir Gordon Slynn in AM & S Europe Ltd. v Commission and of the ECJ. If the general principle is widely accepted throughout the Community and relevant it may become part of Community law. These are tests that will have to be applied if this Court is asked to strike down the decisions authorizing suspension of the CET on grounds that derive from the domestic law applicable to judicial review in common law jurisdictions”.

In this way national law might be introduced and made into a Community blend.

In the area of remedies two judge-made principles are apparent: the principle of effectiveness and the right to protection of Community rights. In TCL and TCL Guyana Incorporated v Guyana [2009] CCJ 5 (OJ), the Caribbean Court accepted the doctrine of State liability for breach of Community obligations based on these two principles.

The Court has recognized the rule that general principles of law drawn from national legal systems or deriving from the provisions of the Treaty will apply in Community law. It has not used all the ammunition potentially at its disposal since the opportunity has not arisen, but a trend has begun.

Outlook

1. Although the CCJ is anxious to carry out its mandate, questions have been raised in academic circles about the propriety of a court approaching cases before it with a

preconceived mission or agenda that it must provide an answer that promotes regional integration. Does that affect the impartiality and independence of the CCJ? A good antecedent for having just such an agenda is the European Court of Justice: see Van Gend en Loos (supra) and Costa v Enel (supra).

2. I am concerned that the concept of the CSME of which the CCJ is an essential part has been virtually mothballed. CARICOM has a net food import bill of U.S.$ 4.75 billion. The Jamaica number is US$1 billion; the Trinidad and Tobago number is US$950 million. Yet I know of no plan to pool the resources of Guyana, Suriname and Belize, with their large expanse of fertile land and fresh water resources and to enable CARICOM to be at least self-sufficient in food. One cannot assume that because no cases have come to the Court on food security for the Caribbean that there is none in place.

The trend of cases before the Court is increasingly towards international human rights law and away from the grand economic design of the CSME.

3. Article 214 empowers national courts to refer matters concerning the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty, but it seems unlikely that either counsel or judges would assert jurisdiction over such a matter because those very matters are within the compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court and there is no national provision that gives the domestic court such jurisdiction. Section 214 therefore needs to be re-considered. The same for Article 222.

4. There still is no supranational Commission like the one in the EU to bring cases to court and to police and enforce the Revised Treaty. In any event, many Constitutions say that their Constitution is supreme. Does that mean superior to Community law? Further, “decisions of competent organs” still are “subject to the relevant constitutional procedures of Member States before creating legally binding rights and obligations for nationals of such States”: see Article 240 and Myrie v Barbados (No. 2) (2013) 81 WIR 104 at [52] – [55] where the CCJ wrestled with this difficult Article.

5. Of even more concern is the Protocol to the Revised Treaty of 2005. It requires the following insertion in the Revised Treaty Article 222 (bis):

“The provisions regarding the original jurisdiction set out in this Chapter shall not be construed to require a Contracting Party to enact legislation that is inconsistent with its constitutional structure or the nature of its legal systems”

These provisions raise issues of direct effect and the relationship between national law and Community law. Such problems can easily be resolved by amending the Revised Treaty.

 

6. Yet there is hope.

Kirkham reminds us that:

“… for many writers it was not the Commission that was the real driving force behind the EEC in its formative years but the Court of Justice of the European Community.”

It is hoped that the Caribbean Court of Justice would achieve similar success in building and strengthening Caribbean economic integration.

 

 

Rolston F. Nelson

June 22, 2015

Presentation for the CARICOM Forum

Antigua

Antigua & Barbuda to host CARICOM forum focused on “CARICOM Overcoming Challenges: Pathway to Development” on June 23rd, 2015

June 15th, 2015

The approval by Heads of the CARICOM’s Strategic Plan in July 2014 has set the region on a path to reposition the Community, through a development agenda going forward that encompasses a review of the regions development needs; a resilience model for socio-economic progress; strategies to renew the commitment to and strengthen actions for enhancing regional unity; and reform of the Community’s governance mechanisms.

At the same time as a framework for action, the Strategic Plan allows for selection of, and agreement on, narrow range of actions to be pursued each year, in pursuit of the Region’s development goals. The Plan also outlines the implementation imperatives, strategic and change management modalities with the necessary monitoring, measurement and evaluation frameworks.

It represents the latest thrust by CARICOM to advance the integration process, particularly through facilitating the implementation of decisions taken. Therefore, consultations with stakeholders at the national level will help to streamline proposals to the Organs and Bodies of the Community; provide new ideas and offer different perspectives and thinking which collectively can add value to the process of addressing the many challenges.

Commenting on the elements and design of the Strategic Plan, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to CARICOM, Dr. Clarence Henry indicated that, “the development and implementation of the Plan are aimed at addressing several issues that have plagued real progress with the implementation of the integration project, as well as the responsiveness of the Community to the realities affecting Member States. We must always be minded that the strength of the Community comes from the collective”.

Therefore, in order to find ways to operationalize the CARICOM Strategic Plan, a Forum entitled “CARICOM Overcoming Challenges: Pathway to Development” will be held on Tuesday June 23rd, 2015 at the SJPC House of Restoration on Lauchland Benjamin Drive from 8.30am to 5pm.

Regional and local presenters will share their insights on five thematic areas: (i) CARICOM’s Strategic Development Plan and Measures to Achieve Economic Sustainability, (ii) The Role of the Private Sector in Addressing Caribbean Economic Challenges: Policy Prescription, (iii) The Caribbean Today and Beyond, (iv) Good Governance and Electoral Reform, and (v) The Role of the Caribbean Court of Justice within the Context of the Revised CARICOM Treaty.

The featured speakers among others will include the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Gaston Browne; and representatives from the Caribbean Community, EU Delegation to the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados, Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Ambassador Henry explained that the objectives of the Forum are to sensitize the public about the CARICOM Strategic Plan and the Reform Process of the integration architecture including its governance arrangements. He went on to explain that the involvement of stakeholders in the CARICOM process is a key aspect of implementing the Strategic Plan to ensure that the development of regional policies is in-keeping with the needs of all stakeholders in the Community.

The general public including members of parliament, trade unions, political parties, students, teachers, professionals, the business community, members of civil society and the media are invited to attend and participate in this important Forum which will discuss the future of the Community and Antigua and Barbuda’s place in its reform and development agenda.

END.

Antigua and Barbuda congratulates the European Union on another Europe Day Celebration

May, 8th, 2015

On May 9th, Member States of the European Union will engage in their annual Europe Day celebrations. Europe Day is celebrated in recognition of peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic ’Schuman declaration’ in 1950. On that day, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, outlined his vision for a new form of political cooperation in Europe. As a result of Schuman’s vision for unity, the Treaty creating a European institution was signed in 1951 which is known today as the European Union (EU).

Reflecting on the long and fruitful relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the EU, Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry, National Authorising Officer for the European Development Fund (EDF) noted that the country stands in solidarity with the EU as they celebrate the historic milestone of peace, unity and strength.

In 2014, Antigua and Barbuda hosted the “Europe Day” celebrations in conjunction with the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI). It was fitting that the celebrations were held at the ABHTI since it is one of the beneficiary sites in Antigua and Barbuda that received development support from the EU under the 9th EDF.

According to the NAO, Antigua and Barbuda holds dear its development partnership with the EU which continues to deliver crucial, successful projects in key sectors of the local economy. Under the 7th, 8th and 9th EDF, EU’s aid to Antigua and Barbuda focused on human resource development, in line with Government policy to upgrade the Country’s intellectual capital by means of a comprehensive reform of the education system.

In addition to the ABHTI, other notable success stories include the construction of the Antigua State College (ASC) Science block, refurbishment of the Engineering Workshop at the ASC, restoration of the Nelson Dockyard sea wall; construction of the St. John’s Montserrat ferry docking facility and the implementation of the Strengthening of Technical and Vocational Education, out of which came the construction and equipping of the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE) and the establishment of the National Training Agency. The 10th EDF which will come to an end in third quarter of 2015 is focusing on Fiscal and Public Sector modernisation through Public Financial Management (PFM) and Revenue Reform.

Additional funds awarded as a result of satisfactory implementation appraisals under the current EDF cycle, are now employed in the implementation of the ASYCUDA World project at the Customs and Excise Division. The upcoming programme under the 11th EDF will continue to support PFM reform, building on the gains realized through the 10th EDF support.

The Country will be forever grateful for the EU’s friendship, continuous support and willingness to cooperate with the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.

End~

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