Published On: Fri, Jun 7th, 2013

CARICOM active the OAS General Assembly

CaricomCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, GuyanaForeign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have expressed concerns to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of America States (OAS) that budget cuts threatened the provision of scholarships and the activities of OAS national offices in the Community.

CARICOM Ministers engaged the Secretary General His Excellency Jose Miguel Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Albert Ramdin during the Forty-Third General Assembly of the OAS which took place in Antigua, Guatemala from 4-6 June. The discussions centred around the organisation’s on-going administrative and financial difficulties and its reform efforts and in this regard, the Ministers discussed the possibility of  a modest increase in contributions to the regular budget.

Foreign Ministers also addressed areas of priority and concern to the Community such as the decreasing resources allocated to Integral Development, one of the four pillars of the OAS; the contribution made by the OAS National Offices in Member States, a presence which is under threat from budget cuts; scholarships and their capacity building potential, also threatened by the financial difficulties; and under-representation of CARICOM nationals in the organisation.

CARICOM was well represented at the meeting, at which twenty eight Foreign Ministers of the thirty four Member States participated. The central theme of the debate was "Towards a Comprehensive Anti-Drug policy in the Americas".

Representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat were also present to provide support to the Chairman and Members of the Council of Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR). As is the norm at multilateral and other meetings in which the Community participates, CARICOM Foreign Ministers held a Caucus before the start of conference proceedings to strategise and coordinate their positions on the major issues on the agenda and to prepare for their engagement with the Secretary General of the OAS

CARICOM Member States participated actively in the debates on the focus of the meeting and other major issues such as the reform and modernisation of the Inter-American human rights system as well as on the draft resolutions tabled for adoption. Of particular note was the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance championed by Antigua and Barbuda which was signed during the meeting. Member States also held a number of bilateral meetings to further political and cooperation links.

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