Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Hope Strachan, Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry arrived in Costa Rica January 24, 2014 in preparation for the convening of the Third Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Community of American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Prime Minister Perry Christie will head the Bahamian delegation scheduled to arrive January 28, and will attend the summit in his capacity as chair of CARICOM and as CARICOM’S Representative on the CELAC Quartet.
Also included in the delegation is Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and other government officials.
CELAC was established and formally constituted on December 3, 2011. It is a new regional bloc established to promote regional integration and the social, economic, political and cultural advancements of its member states.
It also facilitates advancement of the region’s agenda within international fora.
Member states include all Latin American and Caribbean states.
The theme for this summit is “Building Together.”
Minister Strachan said that she considers this summit “to be of significance to our financial services, trade and industry sector in that there are many regional policy initiatives that impact the sector up for discussion and resolution.”
Anticipated agenda items likely to receive considerable focus are the inability of member states that are classified as ‘middle income’ to access concessionary funding.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as The Bahamas will also receive attention in the context of their openness and vulnerability to fluctuations in external markets and to changes in the global economy.
“The push by The Bahamas to increase and further diversify financial service offerings within the Latin American region makes our involvement in this summit and by extension this community that much more relevant and important.”
“Further, the summit has provided an opportunity for a representative of the European Union to focus on the special bi-lateral relationship between CARIFORUM and the EU.”
“Member states of CARIFORUM will be given a chance to dialogue with the representative on matters of mutual concern. This is significant for The Bahamas and the Ministry of Financial Services as we progress in our efforts to bring into effect the bilateral European Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed with the European Union in 2008.”
“Specific areas of concern are the unsuitability of GDP Per Capita as a development measurement and the deleterious effects on member states in meeting the criteria for grant funding.”
“An alternative measurement might be sought. The difficulty in assessing grant funding from the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF) for accessing financing from European and Caribbean development institutions is also apprehended, this fund currently comprises some £40 million.”
“This summit follows on from the CELAC-China Forum of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs attended by Prime Minister Christie as CARICOM Chair where several agreements negotiated with the Chinese government are foreshadowed to have significant impact on the financial services industry, and our country as a whole, particularly the agreement in principal for The Bahamas to trade in Chinese currency,” Minister Strachan concluded.
The summit ends January 29, 2015.