Published On: Mon, Jul 15th, 2013

Singapore launches enhanced technical assistance package for CARICOM

CaricomCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana - Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has stated that “a lot of the economic fallout that took place in 2008 and 2009 started in the developed world, though the biggest impact has been on the small economies.”

The Secretary-General was quoted by the Singaporean News Agency on the first day of the inaugural CARICOM High-Level Ministerial Exchange Visit to Singapore said a lot of financial decisions that were being taken at the G20 have reference to small states. “.. we need a voice to put forward our peculiar challenges, and what Singapore is doing, to facilitate that, is welcome,” he added

Singapore's Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam the host of the meeting said that economic and political ties between Singapore and CARICOM were growing and had been invaluable in finding common ground on bilateral and global issues. The Minister welcomed this inaugural visit between Singapore and CARICOM on Monday and pointed out that ties between the two sides have been growing since 1971.

One of the key features between Singapore and CARICOM is that all these nations are small states, and Mr Shanmugam said that by working collectively, both sides have been able to present a louder voice on global issues in the international community. One forum where Singapore's role is welcome is in the G20.

As a further boost to the ties, Singapore announced an enhanced package for CARICOM under the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP). Nearly 1,300 officials from these nations have benefitted so far, and more is in the pipeline over the next three years.

Mr Shanmugam said: "We will also give out a number of post-grad scholarships for CARICOM officials admitted into Singapore universities. We will also explore how we can enhance our partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat to jointly organise capacity-building programmes."

During the ministerial exchange, the Agency said, Singapore and Barbados signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement to facilitate greater trade and investment opportunities between the two sides. Barbados said an air services agreement between the two nations was also due to be signed this week.

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