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Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 21 May 2005 | Release Ref #: 109 /2005 | 2609

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana)   Chairman of the Tenth Meeting of the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), the Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis has urged CARICOM Member States to vigorously pursue the establishment of the Regional Development Fund (RDF) which is intended to cushion possible fall out from the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

    Speaking at the opening of the Meeting on Saturday 21 May in Georgetown, Prime Minister Douglas stressed that the time was right to advance the work for the setting up and operation of the RDF. To this end he informed that the Ministers would critically examine the feasibility study conducted for the setting up of the Fund, as well as examine the modalities for its operation.

    "As we further integrate our economies, we must give strong support to the notion that had been enshrined within the Revised Treaty, that the Disadvantaged Countries, Regions and Sectors have to be taken care of in this specific initiative," said Dr. Douglas.

    CARICOM Secretary-General His Excellency Edwin Carrington remarked that the RDF was conceptualised to address issues of cost and benefit within the CSME. He also reiterated the importance of the RDF, and the need for compensatory measures resulting from economic fallouts.

    He added that the creation of the CSME will present disadvantages for some Member States, and further pointed out that the pursuit of the Single Economy will require Member States to "pool their sovereignty." He stressed that the Region remained determined in advancing the implementation of the Single Market by December 2005.

    On the issue of the Single Economy, Prime Minister Douglas underscored the importance of Member States assigning equal determination towards its establishment, particularly in light of the need to integrate the economies of Member States in keeping with the new global reality of open economic spaces.

    The Secretary-General stressed that both the Regional and global environments require expeditious work to advance consultations for the establishment the Single Economy by the proposed deadline of December 2008. "The forging of a Single Economy will inevitably require much more involvement and leadership from the COFAP than did the Single Market," Mr. Carrington stated.

    In brief remarks, Guyana's Minister of Finance, Honourable Sasenarine Kowlessar said Guyana's hosting of the meeting attests to its ongoing commitment to the integration process. Noting that the discussions are being held at a time when Guyana's economy is recoiling from the impact caused by recent floods, Minister Kowlessar said Guyana's financial sector has remained "resilient." To this end, he highlighted the financial reforms that have ensued, including the establishment of a local stock exchange.

    Among other officials present at the Meeting were Prime Minister of Barbados, the Right Honourable Owen Arthur, representatives of the CDB, and Central Bank Governors of CARICOM Member States.

    CSME stands for CARICOM Single MARKET & Economy.

    The CSME Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat is the implementation office which assists the Member States in fulfilling the requirements of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

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