Caribbean Leaders Evaluate Regional Integration

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis – July 4th 2007 (CUOPM)

Caribbean Heads of Government at the 28th Heads of Government Meeting in Barbados have been evaluating the issues of functional cooperation as one of the main foundation pillars on which the community pursues its integration process.

Since health and social development is one of the subject areas of success in functional cooperation, the Report, presented by St. Kitts and Nevis‘ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, was as a result of a commitment given during the last CARICOM Inter-Sessional.

It concentrated on the development and achievement in the area of education, training and skill acquisition in preparing Caribbean people to provide skilled and professional services within the community.

Reference was particularly made to the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVG) and accreditation, which certifies students in secondary, post secondary education system and especially in arrangements for school to work transition.In this regard Caribbean leaders commended St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago for their commitment to award the CVQ in 2008 and 2007 respectively.

In health, the report informed the Conference of Heads of further developments in the regional health agenda pursued since the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development identified the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) as having serious and severe effects on the social and economic development of the people of the Caribbean region.

In this regard, Prime Minister Douglas reported on the preparations for the Special Summit of Heads in September hosted by Trinidad and Tobago to sensitise the Heads of the enormity of the challenge and the need for the highest political leadership in developing a regional strategic plan to include the specific legislative and policy tools that are at the disposal of the Heads of Government.

The health report also looked at the Caribbean Co-operation in Health (CCH) eight priority programme areas which have been identified from interactive discussions by chief medical officers, reports from consultants and ministers of health.

The conference also received an update on the region’s globally acclaimed model, the PANCAP in the fight against the HIV/AIDS.

Caribbean leaders observed that there was some optimism in the rates as Haiti and Guyana are showing positive signs of response, thus it would appear benefitting from the 45 millions dollars accessed from PEFPAR.

Without prejudice to Guyana and Haiti, the Caribbean leaders urged United States Congressman, the Hon. Charles Rangel, who joined them during the presentation of the report to lobby on behalf of the Heads, that all member territories of CARICOM to access PEFPAR.

Caribbean leaders also expressed concerns that although there were signs of optimism,  there was a disturbing trend of increase in new cases among the young population 15 to 35 years among the female population.

Heads were also pleased to know that the Board of the Global Fund is now considering a reexamination of its policy that prevented middle income countries of the region from accessing financing from the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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