Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur, and United States Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez will deliver keynote addresses at the opening ceremony of the Conference on the Caribbean, which begins in Washington, D.C., tomorrow. The three-day major event will be held under the theme ‘Conference on the Caribbean: A 2020 Vision’.
Its highpoint will be the CARICOM-U.S. summit when CARICOM heads of state and U.S. President George W. Bush hold talks. The plenary session tomorrow will be held under the theme ‘CARICOM Development in the 21st Century: Economic Growth with Social Equity’.
The session will also examine the role greater integration might play in promoting growth and competitiveness in the region; how might free-trade arrangements, economic partnership agreements, the outcomes of the Doha round of negotiations, the role of preferences, and new trading arrangements with the United States might impact on CARICOM’s integration into the global economy, among other things.Prime Minister Patrick Manning, of Trinidad and Tobago, who has lead responsibility for security in the CARICOM quasi Cabinet of heads of government, will frame the dialogue at the Experts’ Forum on day two of the conference.
During the afternoon session of the Experts’ Forum, Prime Minister Manning will speak under the theme ‘Security and Competitiveness in a Global Environment’.
The theme encompasses issues such as ‘Crime and Violence as Development Impediments, ‘Policy Options for the Carib-bean’, ‘Hemispheric Initiatives’ and ‘U.S.-CARICOM Security Cooperation Initiatives’. Among the other themes of the Experts’ Forum are ‘Education’, ‘Health and Gender’ and ‘Physical Infrastructure for CARICOM’s Growth and Global Competitiveness’.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the U.S., Gordon Shirley, had previously said the objectives of the conference were to deepen and strengthen the nature of the dialogue between the governments of the region and the government of the United States and to re-enforce the dialogue between the people of the U.S. and the region. The conference is also expected to promote the Caribbean in Washington.