CARICOM Leaders and Mexican President His Excellency Felipe Calderon have pledged to forge closer cooperation in trade and tourism between the island grouping and the federal constitutional republic.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda the Hon. W. Baldwin Spencer who attended the one-day meeting, outlined that Heads agreed to create conditions for the expansion and promotion of trade in goods and services and investments and to explore ways to increase tourism flows between CARICOM and Mexico through the promotion of travel during the low seasons and the possible introduction of direct flight routes.
“In my estimation it was a very productive meeting as we were able to put forward our position to Mexico, in its capacity as President of the G20 as it relates to the reform of the International Financial Institutions IFI. For many of the CARICOM Member States we are unable to access concessional facilities and instruments from the IFIs because we are classified as Small Highly Indebted Middle Income Countries. We are happy that Mexico has given us this forum in which we are able to conduct beneficial dialogue,” said PM Spencer.
Prime Minister Spencer said that the meeting also agreed to strengthen cooperation at the multilateral level within the preparatory process of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, to be held in Brazil in June. He outlined that this will be in keeping with fostering a position on the green economy, which addresses the principles of sustainable development, the eradication of poverty as well as the establishment of an efficient and effective institutional framework.
Relations between CARICOM and Mexico are based on an agreement signed in Kingston, Jamaica in 1974, whose objective is to identify and promote cooperation initiatives in order to enlarge economic, political and cultural relations.
This was advanced in 2009 during the Fifth Meeting of the Joint Commission when both sides signed a declaration in which they expressed their commitment to promote cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, air and maritime transport, financial services, security, health, energy and climate change.
Prime Minister Spencer was accompanied to the Summit by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States, Dame Deborah-Mae Lovell and Foreign Service Officer Ms. Valique Gomes.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Spencer is today in Dominica where he will attend the Official Funeral Mass of His Excellency Charles Maynard, former Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the Caribbean Community.
Ambassador Maynard, who has served as a civil servant, parliamentary representative and ambassador in CARICOM, died after a short period of hospitalization.
Prime Minister Spencer said that Ambassador Maynard will be remembered for his sterling contribution to the development of Dominica and regional integration.
PM Spencer returns to Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday.