Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) intend to approach international financial institutions in a united front to seek financial relief as the region tackles the coronavirus pandemic.
CARICOM hosted a special emergency meeting on Wednesday via videoconference and it was agreed that a collective approach is best in accessing assistance to meet the financial fiscal challenges arising from the crisis.
CARICOM Leaders have urged that the criterion of GDP per capita not be the sole consideration in assessing the needs of the Community. They said an understanding of each country’s vulnerability is a far better measurement to determine need, especially as member states face multiple challenges.
According to a statement from the CARICOM Secretariat, the leaders agreed that additional technical work would be undertaken in specific areas to be presented for their consideration at another meeting within two weeks.
The various ministerial councils are expected to review the proposals that will be put forward by the community.
During the meeting, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) briefed the leaders and its Executive Director, Dr. Joy St John, indicated that the Region had done fairly well in its response to the pandemic which was a direct result of the early implementation of measures which helped to contain the virus.
She has recommended a co-ordinated approach as the Region prepares for the next phase of the virus.
It has also been agreed that the leaders will also consider the proposal for a protocol on re-opening borders which all Member States would adhere to at the same time when such a decision is taken.
Issues related to Food Security would be considered in the context of the CARICOM COVID-19 Agri-Food Risk Management Framework which has been circulated to Member States following a meeting of Ministers of Agriculture last month. This would address in particular the production and supply of food products.
The transportation of people and goods by air and sea inter-regionally would also come under scrutiny with particular reference to the operations of the regional air carriers which have been adversely affected by the measures adopted to contain the virus.
The Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE), which met last Wednesday 8 April, has been considering the threats to security during the course of the pandemic and the Council’s recommendations will also be presented to the Heads of Government.