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CARICOM Heads of Government meet in Guyana; Francis Fonseca and Garifuna Collective represent Belize

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 2024. 2:57 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: This evening in Georgetown, Guyana, the 46th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting will kick off under the chairmanship of President Irfaan Ali and Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett.

Representing Belize will be Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Francis Fonseca, a Government notice announced today, while The Garifuna Collective will be performing at the opening ceremony which starts at 3 p.m. Belize time from the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown.

Special guest attendees include Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Baroness the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, KC.

Items to be discussed include the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME); an update on the implementation of the free movement of all Community Nationals by 31 March 2024; an update on the Community’s 25 by 2025 initiative to tackle the Region’s rising food import bill and improve intra-regional trade; climate change and climate financing; regional security, including the situation in Haiti and border issues; regional transportation; financial matters, including replenishment of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF); global and hemispheric issues including developments in the Middle East; Reparations; and the 2024 ICC Men’s T-20 Cricket World Cup.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General is present as a part of a series of regional meetings that she is attending in preparation for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year in Samoa.

Reflecting on the close relationship with CARICOM, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said: “As a Caribbean person, every one of these meetings are like coming home to family. In particular, I am happy to be back in Guyana to attend this important summit. I look forward to rich discussions, hearing about areas of concern, and learning about recent successes. For us at the Secretariat, CARICOM is a strong and treasured partner.”

She continued, “In October, we go to CHOGM as a united and committed collective. As we represent the views and carry out the directives of our member states, we are bound to listen to their concerns and visions for the future.”

The Meeting will end with a press conference on February 28. Media participation will be in-person with accreditation, and virtual.


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