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The Governments of the DR and Antigua and Barbuda are deepening relations every day

Santo Domingo, DN,

The governments of the Dominican Republic and Antigua and Barbuda, mutually expressed their willingness to design a common agenda, which narrows steadily bilateral relations, and thus creates the conditions for a dynamic cooperation on issues related to the framework of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), of which both countries are parties, as trade, promoting investment and exports, which can be supported by the Program Private Sector Support, implemented by the Caribbean Export Agency.

In a roundtable led by the National Authorising Officers of both countries, Clarence Henry from Antigua and Barbuda and Ambassador Antonio Vargas Hernandez from Dominican Republic, who received him in his office of the Directorate General of Multilateral Cooperation. They also discussed various issues of common interest such as tourism, culture and sport, and training of human resources, among others.

Precisely, Mr. Henry, is located in Santo Domingo accompanied by a group of businessmen from his country, making institutional contacts, and Dominican businessmen to deepen cooperation in trade and investment issues.

The two counterparts agreed on the desire of both countries to focus on establishing relationships that can serve as a beacon of light or concerning other countries in the region.

One of the elements highlighted in the work coordination meeting, and which contains an enormous significance in the framework of bilateral relations of cooperation, is the fact that about 20,000 Dominicans make up the Creole diaspora in the nation friend.

Vargas Hernandez, expressed his satisfaction with the meeting with his counterpart Clarence Henry, which praised, highlighting the vision of comprehensive development with the two leaders, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and Dominican President Danilo Medina Sánchez on mutual cooperation to be established between the two nations and the two National Authorising assume it absolutely.

The important meeting was also attended by Lidia Encarnación, Director of Cooperation and Regional Integration DIGECOOM; Escipion Oliveira, Executive Director of Caribbean Export, and Barbara Williams, Deputy National Authorising Officer of Antigua and Barbuda.

Trade Mission Travels To The DR

June 27, 2016

The Antigua and Barbuda Trade Mission is now in the Dominican Republic after a “very successful” leg in Cuba.

Reflecting on the week of different engagements including business to business meetings, Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry indicated that there were a myriad of opportunities and a visit to a trade exhibition. He said the timing was perfect and that this must be attributed to proper planning and coordination between the Cuban Embassy in St. John’s and Ambassador Peter Benjamin in Havana.

“It was a great opportunity once again to support of manufacturers in the hope that they will seize opportunities to make contacts and build new relationships that will redound to the benefit of Antigua and Barbuda,” Ambassador Henry mentioned.

According to the ambassador, who is also the Deputy Head of Mission, there is much to take away including the need to develop more areas for expansion. “We see what others are doing and we should see how those ideas could be tweaked to fit and take advantage of the Antigua and Barbuda circumstance. We saw simple things that could be done and as we take businesses to different countries the forging of alliances and collaboration become critical. The mission has lived up to and in many instance surpassed our expectations. It was an excellent week.” he stated.

Echoing his sentiments was a member of the mission, Casford Lewis of A&F Manufacturing. “We manufacturers need to work more closely with the authorities to develop the manufacturing sector. The end result we are seeking is a more vibrant manufacturing sector which would give us more negotiating power,” he noted.

Lewis is calling on manufacturers and producers to adopt critical thinking and to give greater recognition of the value of things they do. “We are now seeing the strong positive recognition being given to us by this Administration. However, we must

collaborate more amongst ourselves and share experiences, look at seminars and workshops to strengthen our capacities,” he remarked.

Agreeing with Lewis’ comments, the General Manager of Antigua Dairy, Antoine Bavay, suggested that ‘more diversification in the manufacturing sector would also lead to the empowerment of players in the sector’. He is of the view that small business is critical to the economic sustainability of the country and he feels that the efforts of Minister E.P Chet Greene, the Office of the NAO and the Ministry of Trade must be commended for this venture.

Similarly, Rosemarie McMaster proprietor of the world famous “Susie’s Hot Sauce” was also happy with the Cuba leg of the Trade Mission. She described the mission as ‘outstanding’ and she expressed the hope that trade links may be opened with Cuba ‘not only for Antigua and Barbuda, but also for the Cuban people’. McMaster, who continued the family business since 1990, said, “without a doubt I am truly impressed.”

For their part, Compliance and Accommodations Officer, Ministry of Tourism, Dulcie Looby- Greene along with Product Development Officer for Barbuda, Veneta Burton, also expressed similar sentiments describing the overall trip to Cuban was a resounding success. They are also looking forward to represent Antigua and Barbuda in the exposition in the Dominican Republic from June 27 – 30, 2016.

Direct Flights To Cuba Soon

June 23rd, 2016

By Everton Barnes

Intense negotiations are taking place in Havana, Cuba, on an air rights agreement between Antigua and Barbuda and the Spanish-speaking country.

Trade Minister, E.P. Chet Greene, who is in Cuba leading a trade mission there, said the discussions that had been ongoing some time ago and which had stalled, have now been revived with some purpose. Greene reported that the matter had gone beyond ‘a conversation’ to actual work in progress to get this to reach a conclusion.

“Ambassador Brian Challenger is back in Antigua working on a draft agreement on an air services agreement between the two countries. I have given the technicians one week to get the documents ready as I have invited the Cuban transport minister to visit St John’s for further and final discussions before signing of the agreement,” he disclosed.

The minister noted that travel between the Caribbean was what he termed ‘a nightmare’ noting that the present circumstances provided an opportunity to address this very serious matter.

He added that the recent meeting in Havana of the Association of Caribbean States, attended by Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, had given a mandate to improve both air and sea transportation between the Caribbean nations. “This initiative gives full support to the decision by the ACS at their recent meeting,” he observed.

The discussions in Havana are not only concerned with air transportation. He said issues related to opening up sea lanes between Caribbean states is a major challenge. “Since the demise of WISCO, (the West Indies Shipping Company) there has not been any indigenous Caribbean shipping line and while we have a number of lines operating through the region, there priorities may not be the same as ours,” he stated.

He reported that his team in Cuba is currently exploring ways in which this matter may be addressed in the future. He said these talks will continue and that he will have similar discussions on his return with people involved in the sea trade.

The trade minister lamented the fact that many businesses across the Caribbean have suffered because of the absence of reliable shipping lines between the islands.

He also reported that Leewind Paints has received feedback in Cuba but the issue is how to get the product into Cuba is a problem.

Seminar in Cuba For Trade Mission – Trade Mission to the Dominican Republic & Cuba

June 20, 2016

The members of the Antigua and Barbuda trade mission that is now in Cuba to explore economic and trade opportunities will attend a one-day seminar in Havana on Tuesday.

The seminar, organized by the Chamber of Commerce in Cuba, will focus on two important subjects; the Legal Framework for Investing in Cuba and How to do Business with Cuba. Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister, E Pall Chet Greene, who heads the mission to Cuba, will address the seminar at the opening exercises. Deputy Head of the mission, Ambassador to CARICOM, Dr. Clarence Henry is also expected to speak at the seminar.

He is expected to outline the reasons for the mission and to lay the groundwork for future cooperation with the Cuban people in the areas of trade, tourism, culture and sports.

During the session, the first meetings between Cuban business people and manufacturers on the Antigua and Barbuda delegation will take place. The mission will visit several Cuban factories and other areas with strong trade potential.

At the Budget presentation of February 2016, Minister Greene identified mounting a trade mission to the Republic of Cuba and the Dominican Republic as major planks in the strategy to find new business, and market opportunities for manufactures, exporters and technology transfer for Antigua and Barbuda.

Minister Greene earlier said Antigua and Barbuda is seeking to get a jump start on establishing trade links with Cuba especially in light of the improving relations

between the Spanish-speaking territory and the United States. He is of the view that establishing early links with Cuba will benefit Antigua and Barbuda in the future.

Greene is accompanied by a delegation that includes representatives from the Ministry of Trade, the Tourism Authority, the Department of Culture, the Office of the National Authorising Office, several local manufacturers and cricket coach, Kenneth Benjamin.

From Cuba, the team travels to the Dominican Republic for similar engagements with their counterparts in that country. The DR leg of the trip is co-sponsored by the Barbados-based Caribbean Export Development Agency.

REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST: ENHANCING PRIVATE SECTOR COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CARIFORUM-EU EPA SERVICES SECTOR POLICY AND EXPANSION PLAN CONSULTANCY

1. BACKGROUND

1.01 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 CARICOM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Standby Facility for Capacity Building under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) in an amount not exceeding the equivalent of two hundred and seventy-five thousand, six hundred and two United States dollars (USD275,602) towards the cost of the Enhancing Private Sector Competitiveness through the Implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Project. The Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industry, Sports and National Festivals (MTCI), the Implementing Agency of the Project, intends to apply a portion of the proceeds of this financing to eligible payments under a contract for which this invitation is issued, pursuant to the Financing Agreement between CDB and GOAB.

1.02 Payments by CDB will be made only at the request of GOAB and upon approval by CDB, and will be subject in all respects to the terms and conditions of the Financing Agreement. The Financing Agreement prohibits withdrawal from the financing account for the purpose of any payment to persons or entities, or for any import of goods, if such payment or import, to the knowledge of CDB, is prohibited by a decision of the United Nations Security Council taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. No party other than GOAB shall derive any rights from the Financing Agreement or have any claim to the proceeds of the financing.

2. SCOPE OF CONSULTANCY AND ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

2.01 The MTCI now intends to procure consultancy services for Services Policy and Expansion Plan Consultants.

2.02 The objective of the consultancy is the development of a Services Policy and Expansion Plan that is results-based, socially inclusive and gender responsive. The Services Policy and Expansion Plan will focus on tourism (including health, spa and wellness), Information Communications and Technology (ICT) related industries (including business process outsourcing and call centres) and culture. The duration of the assignment is expected to be over a period of twelve (12) months.

2.03 The MTCI now invites interested eligible consulting firms to submit Expressions of Interest for the provision of these consultancy services.

2.04 Consultants shall be eligible to participate if:

(a) in the case of a body corporate: it is legally incorporated or otherwise organised in an eligible country, has its principal place of business in an eligible country and is more than 50 per cent beneficially owned by citizen(s) and/or bona fide resident(s) of eligible country(ies) or by a body(ies) corporate meeting these requirements;

(b) in the case of unincorporated firms, the persons are citizens or bona fide residents of an eligible country;

Revised_150730 CSME-EPA eligibility Appendix (002)

and

(c) in all cases, the consultant(s):

(i) has no arrangement and undertakes not to make any arrangements, whereby any substantial part of the net profits or other tangible benefits of the contract will accrue or be paid to a person not a citizen or bona fide resident of an eligible country;

(ii) is not bankrupt or insolvent or in the process of either, or having their affairs administered by the Courts, has not entered into an arrangement with creditors, or is in any analogous situation arising from similar procedures provided for in their national legislation or regulations;

(iii) has not been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment which has the force of res judicata;

(iv) has not been the subject of a judgment which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation or any other illegal activity detrimental to the EU’s financial interest;

(v) is not guilty of misrepresentation in supplying the information required as a condition of the participation in the procedure or if they fail to supply this information; and

(vi) does not expose a conflict of interest

2.05 Consultants from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other member countries of CDB, as well as EU Member Countries, which are not CDB Member Countries, and other countries which are eligible under EU procurement provisions,1/ will be eligible to participate in these procurement opportunities.

3. SELECTION CRITERIA

3.01 The assignment should be conducted by a firm. The consulting team should comprise a Lead Consultant/Trade in Services Expert, and an expert in Gender and Private Sector Development Issues. In the assessment of submissions, consideration will be given to the following combination of qualifications and experience:

(a) technical competence, qualifications and experience, including:

(i) Post graduate qualifications in Development Economics, International Development, International Trade Policy or Public Policy and Administration; and Gender and Development.

(ii) At least 10 years’ working experience in external trade matters at a senior or policy level within the public sector or an international development agency.

(iii) Significant hands-on experience in trade policy and trade strategy development and administration at a national level within a developing country context.

(iv) A sound understanding of the World Trade Organistion (WTO) Agreement especially General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the implications for the development and expansion of Antigua and Barbuda’s services sector.

(v) A minimum of five years’ experience and a demonstrable track record in development of results-based and gender-responsive trade policies, strategies and action plans.

(vi) Detailed knowledge of trade in services issues as they relate to the business environment in the Caribbean.

(b) local and regional experience on similar assignments;

(c) financial capacity; and

(d) existing commitments.

4. SUBMISSION OF EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

4.01 Expressions of Interest must be submitted in English and electronically by email to barbarawilliamsn@gmail.com in pdf format no later than 15:00 hours Antigua and Barbuda time on Friday, November 6, 2015. The email subject line should state “Expression of Interest – Services Policy and Expansion Plan Consultancy” and the email body must state the name and address of the applicant. The Expression of Interest will be deemed to have been received at the time that it is received by the EPA Implementation Coordinator. The burden of proving receipt of the e-mail will be on the applicant and will not be met solely by a read receipt or sent items report generated by the bidder’s computer. In addition, three (3) hard copies of the Expressions of Interest must be received at the first address below and one (1) hard copy must be sent simultaneously to CDB at the second address below. The sealed envelope containing each submission should include the name and address of the applicant and shall be clearly marked “Expression of Interest – Services Policy and Expansion Plan Consultancy.” GOAB reserves the right to accept or reject late applications or to cancel the present invitation partially or in its entirety. It will not be bound to assign any reason for not selecting any applicant and will not defray any costs incurred by any applicant in the preparation and submission of Expressions of Interest.

5. SELECTION METHOD

5.01 The selection method shall be Quality and Cost-Based selection. Therefore, following the receipt of submissions, firms shall be assessed and compared and a short-list, not less than three (3) and not more than six (6) firms, will be provided with the full Terms of Reference (ToR) and invited to submit technical and financial proposals to undertake the assignment.

6. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

6.01 All information or request for information must be submitted in English. Further information may be obtained from the first address below between 08:00 and 16:30 hours Monday to Thursday and 08:00 and 15:00 hours on Fridays.

1. Ms Barbara Williams EPA Implementation Coordinator The Office of the National Authoring Officer, EPA Implementation 1st Floor John Henry Building Dickenson Bay Street St. Johns ANTIGUA Telephone: (268) 562-4504 Fax: (268) 562-4506 Email: barbarawilliamsn@gmail.com

REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST: ENHANCING PRIVATE SECTOR COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CARIFORUM-EU EPA PROJECT LEGISLATIVE DRAFTING CONSULTANT

1. BACKGROUND

1.01 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 CARICOM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Standby Facility for Capacity Building under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) in an amount not exceeding the equivalent of two hundred and seventy-five thousand, six hundred and two United States dollars (USD275,602) towards the cost of the Enhancing Private Sector Competitiveness through the Implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Project. The Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industry, Sports and National Festivals (MTCI), the Implementing Agency of the Project, intends to apply a portion of the proceeds of this financing to eligible payments under a contract for which this invitation is issued, pursuant to the Financing Agreement between CDB and GOAB.

1.02 Payments by CDB will be made only at the request of GOAB and upon approval by CDB, and will be subject in all respects to the terms and conditions of the Financing Agreement. The Financing Agreement prohibits withdrawal from the financing account for the purpose of any payment to persons or entities, or for any import of goods, if such payment or import, to the knowledge of CDB, is prohibited by a decision of the United Nations Security Council taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. No party other than GOAB shall derive any rights from the Financing Agreement or have any claim to the proceeds of the financing.

2. SCOPE OF CONSULTANCY AND ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

2.01 The MTCI now intends to procure consultancy services for a Legislative Drafting Consultant.

2.02 The objective of the consultancy is to provide legislative drafting and related support to further the establishment of the legislative framework for EPA implementation. The duration of the assignment is expected to be over a period of six (6) calendar months.

2.03 The MTCI now invites eligible individual consultants to submit Expressions of Interest indicating qualifications and experience required to provide these consultancy services.

2.04 The Consultant shall be eligible to participate if:

(a) he or she is a citizen or a bona fide resident of an eligible country; and

(b) in all cases, the consultant:

(i) has no arrangement and undertakes not to make any arrangements whereby any substantial part of the net profits or other tangible benefits of the contract will accrue or be paid to a person not a citizen or bona fide resident of an eligible country;

(ii) is not bankrupt or insolvent or in the process of either, or having their affairs administered by the Courts, has not entered into an arrangement with creditors, or is in any analogous situation arising from similar procedures provided for in their national legislation or regulations;

(iii) has not been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment which has the force of res judicata;

(iv) has not been the subject of a judgment which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation or any other illegal activity detrimental to the EU’s financial interest;

(v) is not guilty of misrepresentation in supplying the information required as a condition of the participation in the procedure or if they fail to supply this information; and

(vi) does not expose a conflict of interest.

2.05 Consultants from Antigua and Barbuda and other member countries of CDB, as well as EU Member Countries, which are not CDB Member Countries, and other countries which are eligible under EU procurement provisions,1/ will be eligible to participate in these procurement opportunities.

3. SELECTION CRITERIA

3.01 In the assessment of submissions, consideration will be given to:

(a) qualifications and experience, including:

(i) an LLM in International Trade Law or related area;

(ii) at least five (5) years’ experience in legislative drafting;

(iii) detailed knowledge of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda or the English speaking Caribbean;

(iv) excellent management and leadership skills are required and candidates should have specific professional experience in and a working knowledge of:

(aa) International Law or International Trade Law;

(bb) Trade Agreements including the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and the CARIFORUM-EU-EPA;

(cc) Caribbean Public Administration;

(dd) CARICOM Policies and Institutions, particularly those pertaining to Trade and the terms of EPA regarding Trade in Services; and

(ee) Gender and Trade law.

4. SUBMISSION OF EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

4.01 Expressions of Interest must be submitted in English and electronically by email to barbarawilliamsn@gmail.com in pdf format no later than 15:00 hours Antigua and Barbuda time on Friday, November 6, 2015. The email subject line should state “Expression of Interest – Legislative Drafting Consultancy” and the email body must state the name and address of the applicant. The Expression of Interest will be deemed to have been received at the time that it is received by the EPA Implementation Coordinator. The burden of proving receipt of the e-mail will be on the applicant and will not be met solely by a read receipt or sent items report generated by the bidder’s computer. In addition, three (3) hard copies of the Expressions of Interest must be received at the first address below and one (1) hard copy must be sent simultaneously to CDB at the second address below. The sealed envelope containing each submission should include the name and address of the applicant and shall be clearly marked “Expression of Interest – Legislative Drafting Consultancy”. GOAB reserves the right to accept or reject late applications or to cancel the present invitation partially or in its entirety. It will not be bound to assign any reason for not selecting any applicant and will not defray any costs incurred by any applicant in the preparation and submission of Expressions of Interest.

5. SELECTION METHOD

5.01 Following the assessment of submissions, the most technically capable and appropriately experienced applicant will be invited to negotiate a contract to provide the consultancy services.

6. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

6.01 All information or request for information must be submitted in English. Further information may be obtained from the first address below between 08:00 and 16:30 hours Monday to Thursday and 08:00 and 15:00 hours on Fridays.

1. Ms Barbara Williams EPA Implementation Coordinator The Office of the National Authoring Officer, EPA Implementation 1st Floor John Henry Building Dickenson Bay Street St. Johns ANTIGUA Telephone: (268) 562-4504 Fax: (268) 562-4506 Email: barbarawilliamsn@gmail.com

Remarks by Dr. Clarence Henry – Antigua & Barbuda’s CARICOM Ambassador at the Pre-Mission Briefing in the CARICOM Secretariat project themed ‘tertiary students engaging in the csme through field promotion”

Tuesday 22nd September 2015

Courtesies

Good morning.

I welcome this opportunity to share some of my thoughts concerning the relevance of the CSME, as you students prepare to take up the challenge of continuing the process of weaving the intricate fabric of Caribbean integration.

As one who has been involved in the negotiations leading to the operationalizing of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas; a strident voice of the Less Developed Countries being accorded a fair share of the benefits of the regional integration movement; and a strong advocate of the need for a robust CARICOM Development Fund, the architecture of which facilitates the provision of the requisite support to the LDCs, which are less endowed within CARICOM, necessary for instituting structural transformation towards the sustainable development of Antigua and Barbuda.

Indeed, the Caribbean Community now finds itself at a juncture in its economic evolution, where there is a constant need to emphasize the true nature of the disparities among the nations of CARICOM; where Antigua and Barbuda remains a leading demandeur of the creation of a “Think Tank” like CARICOM Secretariat, producing papers, critically appraising the social conditions and economic performance of Caribbean countries while advancing new thinking imbued in strategies that would help the small vulnerable economies of our region to be at the forefront of global affairs, in essence “helping to fashion the programme of integration” as cited by Sir Shridath Ramphal; where we have, without fear or favour, spoken honestly to the peculiar needs and development challenges of Antigua and Barbuda, and thereby holding the Secretariat and ourselves to account with respect to the mandates of the Organs and Institutions of CARICOM.

Antigua and Barbuda has consistently espoused a people centered approach to the integration movement, while recognizing capacity constraints and limitations to what can be achieved.

We have been constant in arguing for a fair distribution of the benefits of the regional integration project, and have repeatedly cautioned the population against having unrealistic expectations of the CSME.

Antigua and Barbuda continues to argue its case to colleagues for derogations from obligations enshrined in the Revised Treaty where necessary, and in so doing, allow for fulfilment of its legal requirements.

Nevertheless, we are often perceived as too candid, bold and or aggressive for articulating and safeguarding the development interests of the country. The reality is, we fight vigorously within CARICOM to achieve small gains, for it is upon such minute gains that the growth and development of our country often hinge. But, we remain honest brokers helping to shape the fabric of the Community.

For me, the CSME represents the most crucial initiative for the Caribbean. Yes, it is subsumed within the regional Implementation Plan, which is wedded to the goal of ensuring the survival of our countries, economies and peoples against the challenges of globalization, trade liberalization, modernization and development.

STUDENTS

I wish to state that this is a very interesting and forward thinking project, which provides students, among other things, with an avenue for identifying career opportunities within the CSME. It is noteworthy that the CSME aims to create an environment conducive to economic development through fostering competitive production and investment. In earnest, the initiative offers a framework for strengthening integration and cooperation among its member economies.

I recall the success of the first phase of the project in September 2009. A cohort of tertiary level students from the State College were exposed first hand to the operations of the CSME in Belize, and from all indications, it was a success. On this occasion, the group of 19 students plus the CARICOM Youth Ambassador will be in Barbados next week, while a group of students from Guyana will be visiting here in October. These programmes, although expensive are necessary since they provide practical exposure to the intricacies of the CSME. In the past, I have complimented the initiative during numerous meetings of the Council for Trade and Economic Development. I applaud such programmes since they seek to broaden the scope of participants’ knowledge of the CSME and provide practical insights that otherwise would not necessarily have been obtained. It is through these interactions that new philosophical thinking with regards to improving regionalism will continue to emerge, to further shape and give form and direction to Caribbean integration.

Praise must also be showered upon the European Union for its continuing support for the regional integration project. The EU funded the first phase and again through the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme is financing this second phase. They are true partners in development, a constant friend of the region. It is a known fact that development aid is shrinking, but the EU continues to maintain an unwavering commitment to the economic development priorities of the Caribbean despite of its own internal challenges including the refugee crisis. We appreciate the partnership that continues to strengthen, and welcome every chance of dialogue to avoid any ambiguity in respect of Caribbean development priorities and policies.

DISTINGUISH STUDENTS

This student exchange occurs almost 10 years after regional leaders formally launched the CSME on 30 January 2006. The framework for the Single Market was established which included legal and institutional matters such as the Common External Tariff, the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Competition Commission and harmonisation of some legislation.

Movement of persons and factors of production are key pillars of the CSME. These are positive developments that pave the way for genuine economic integration and development of the Caribbean. The region has proved to its critics that the integration process can work and even become a force to be reckoned with.

Important institutions have been established and have positively impacted the lives of citizens. Some of those institutions include the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC); the Pan Caribbean, Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP); and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDEMA), which have benefitted from contributions made by the EU.

As the NAO for EU development assistance, I am mindful of Brussels’ assistance to the study tours under the rubric of “Ownership of the CSME” as part of the 10th EDF CRIP intervention with an assigned value of Euro 27.5 million.

However, there is need to go beyond these study tours. Perhaps, the CARICOM Secretariat should consider establishing a model programme where youths entering the work environment could be invited to submit proposals for starting small businesses utilizing seed capital from the CRIP. Under a competitive approach in each of the 15 Member States, one or two projects could be selected and would become practical examples of how to establish a business enterprise in the CSM. Projects should be linked to development issues/challenges now faced by the countries such as the need for the utilization of green technology and the impact of climate change on Caribbean countries; and must add value to other sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Such an approach would be another step towards moving away from the primary commodity orientation of production within CARICOM.

The projects could also have a component to expand and draw other interested individuals into a cooperative type setting, but focussed at the high-end on the production chain with a view to tapping into regional and global value-chains.

Clearly, we need to learn the terrible lessens of the impact of Tropical Storm Erika on the Commonwealth of Dominica, where its economic base and infrastructure were devastated. A rapid response mechanism, with the requisite financial and technical resources should be placed at the disposal of the affected Country, Region or Sector within 14 working days. While the Revised Treaty provides in Part Two for measures to redress disadvantage arising from economic dislocation, this proposal would be triggered in the event of natural disasters. Procedures to access the regime must not be onerous and should not inflict an additional fiscal pressure or debt burden upon the affected Country, Region or Sector. Additionally, despite the present economic and fiscal challenges, all CARICOM Member States would have to contribute to the fund.

It is heartening to witness the outpouring of assistance to Dominica from across the region. But such people to people and Government to Government outpouring must be matched by the ability to access financial resources from a special fund.

Within the context of the new CARICOM agenda and Development Plan, we are also excited at the launch of the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors, who are expected to take a more active role in ensuring the fulfilment of the regional implementation measures. I certainly, look forward to continuing the growth and development-centred agenda via the Committee of Ambassadors.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

The CCJ is an important institution of the Revised Treaty. Within its Original Jurisdiction, the CCJ interprets the Treaty while handling cross border disputes. All members of CARICOM are party to the CCJ’s Original Jurisdiction. Additionally, the CCJ has an Appellate jurisdiction where it serves as the final Court of appeal. At present only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica have adopted the CCJ in its Appellate jurisdiction. Nevertheless, as the Chairman of the National Coordinating Committee that will be spearheading the public education surrounding the question of the CCJ vs the Privy Council, I want to urge all of you to be involved and take on board the information since this is one of those opportunities to make a positive contribution in determining the course of the Nation, on this occasion through referendum.

As you would have heard, among the numerous planned public consultations, is the convening of a National Youth Forum to fully ventilate the issues surrounding the CCJ and the Privy Council. So I look forward to seeing each and every one of you at the Youth Forum and national consultations.

Certainly, constructive dialogue will be encouraged and I caution against any distortion or misrepresentation of the issue in relation to the CCJ and the Privy Council. Our role will be to inform, present facts, correct erroneous statements and challenge long held falsehoods with the hope that rational, sensible thinking and democracy will prevail.

Let me conclude by urging you as future leaders, to take an active part in forging CARICOM, while building a society that is strong, purpose driven and prosperous.

Please be assured that the Government continues to be supportive of the integration movement, while at the same time, will take appropriate actions that will advance our development priorities.

We shall continue our efforts to ensure that there is a proactive, vision orientated CARICOM and a Secretariat that has real presence and credibility that works tirelessly to provide the tools for the accelerated growth of all Member States and facilitates economic convergence between the LDCs and MDCs of the Community.

As you know, this era of fiscal and economic challenges, the rise of terrorism and Isis and the flood of refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East pouring across EU Member States, demand thinking outside of the box, a realism that will see our small Nations moving not merely with, but rather ahead of the tide at times. We can ill afford to be static for

we must contribute positively to building ourselves a fair and prosperous Caribbean.

Let us boldly raise the standard; rise to the challenges facing our nation, Antigua and Barbuda and the region as a whole; and in so doing embrace your destiny, so that 10 or 20 years from now, you can look back with much pride and a great sense of accomplishment.

May God continually bless you all.

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

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