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Thursday, October 1, 2009

CARICOM seeks voice in G20

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) would like a voice in the Group of 20 (G20). This was one of the issues raised by the Community’s Foreign Ministers during a meeting with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York, USA last Friday 25 September.

Assistant Secretary-General at the CARICOM Secretariat for Foreign and Community Relations Ambassador Colin Granderson said that Secretary Clinton was informed of the concern by CARICOM countries of not having a presence in the Group of 20 (G20) global policy arena where many of the issues on the global economy are discussed and decided. He added that the concern of the Region was ‘taken on board”.

“It is believed that the views of vulnerable states with peculiarities such as ours need to be heard,” Granderson emphasised.

The latest meeting provided yet another opportunity for follow-up discussions arising from the meeting between CARICOM Heads of Government and United States President Barack Obama at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009 and a previous meeting between the Ministers and Secretary Clinton in Honduras in June during the Organisation of American States General Assembly.

Granderson revealed that discussions were dominated by the continuing global financial crisis and trade. With regards to the global financial crisis, the Region expressed continued concerns about accessing funds that developed countries had made available for developing countries to assist in offsetting some of the fall out from the financial crisis.

The Assistant Secretary-General said that it was stressed that the graduation of some CARICOM Member States to the level of middle income countries had made it quite challenging for them to access these much needed funds.

On the trade front, Granderson said the Region pressed home the point that it is anxious to meet with the US Trade Representative as there are several issues in this arena to be ironed out and on which the Region needed clarity.

The CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General also informed that developments on a planned Caribbean-US Regional Security Framework was also discussed. He informed that a Joint Working Group which was established earlier this year had already met and planned a second meeting in the coming weeks.

The Dominican Republic also participated in last week’s discussions.

October 1, 2009