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CARIBBEAN-POLITICS-Recent Kenya President's visit to the Caribbean could boost region's presence at ACP summit.

The recent visit of Kenya's President, Uhuru Kenyatta, to the Caribbean could help boost the region's participation at the December 9-10 summit of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to be held in Nairobi, the ACP Secretary general Dr. P.I. Gomes has said.

Gomes told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the response has been 'encouraging' given the tour Kenyatta made to the Caribbean earlier this month when he held talks with Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley as well as St. Lucia's Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who is also the chairman of the 15-member regional integration grouping, CARICOM.

So it has been very positive. Prime Minister Mia Mottley will be a feature person and also the chairman of CARICOM will be among the lead speakers. So I think there is an encouraging ground build-up that is coming along in terms of how we see the summit.

'We intend to have a ministerial breakfast meeting in which the co-ordinator for the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), which is now the government of The Bahamas, who is on our bureau of the ACP. The foreign ministers when they meet in the UN General Assembly that time the theme of the summit, also how the summit declaration is being discussed and also encourage other leaders from the Caribbean, who are at the UN General Assembly to participate.

'We believe that African and Caribbean relations have great potential for possibilities with much more deeper and expanding significantly,' Gomes said.

Kenyatta had described his meetings with Holness and Mottley as 'very constructive engagements' focused on enhancing cooperation in diverse areas between the two regions, serving also as a catalyst for rebuilding the global African family, in the service of the development and integration.

Kenyatta said he was also inviting the Caribbean countries to establish diplomatic missions in Kenya and in United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat to facilitate and deepen frequent consultations, as well as follow-up on environmental and human settlement matters.

Gomes said that the December 9-10 summit will be held under theme 'A Transformed ACP: Committed to Multilateralism' and 'this is very important for us because as you know multilateral institutions, such as the WTO (World Trade Organization) is under threat by some of the major powers such as the United States.'.

He recalled that despite winning its case before the WTO, Antigua and Barbuda is yet to receive the compensation from the United States.

'We believe that without a global international order rules based, we particularly in the developing countries will lose out. As you know the long-standing case of Antigua and Barbuda, which won in the WTO dispute settlement a favourable decision has not been able to receive the benefits of that decision and now the United States is in fact refusing to nominate another member to the dispute settlement in the WTO which makes the WTO a lame duck'.

The Antigua and Barbuda government has maintained that it has no intention of letting the United States 'off the hook' for its internationally-binding obligation to allow internet gaming into the country until fair compensation is paid for the 16 years of damage done to the island's economy.

Antigua and Barbuda has criticised Washington since 1998 of breaching its commitments to members of the WTO under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) by enacting laws that prevented foreign-based operators from offering gambling and betting services to its citizens.

In 2005, the WTO ruled that Washington had violated international trade agreements by prohibiting operation of offshore Internet gambling sites. Antigua claimed that it lost US$3.4 billion a year due to the US action, but the WTO awarded the island US$21 million.

Gomes told the CMC that the upcoming summit will focus on the theme of strengthening multilateralism 'because our 79-member the global south is looking to join forces, not only with Europe bit all like minded organisations such as the G77.

'We will also look at ways and means that we are now collaborating with AOSIS (Alliance of Small island States - a coalition of 44 small island and low-lying coastal developing states) to deal with particularly climate change and the implications of climate change.

'So overall the summit is taking that broad theme which will have some three broad themes, one of which will be climate change, oceans and small island developing states, which is a very important area for us in the Caribbean as for the Pacific,' the Guyanese-born diplomat said.

He said he was also encouraged by the decision of the Barbados government to name former prime minister Owen Arthur to head a commission in preparing for how Small island Developing States (SIDS) will play a key role in next year's United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) XV to be held in Bridgetown.

The Barbados-sponsored Global Commission on Small Island Developing States - Trade Development Options 2020, are expected to prepare papers on issues ranging from the high indebtedness of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to global warming and the impact of artificial intelligence.

The ACP summit is also intended to lay the groundwork for finalising the Post-Cotonou Agreement as well as the revision of the 1975 Georgetown Agreement that established the ACP.

The Cotonou Agreement linking the ACP and the European Union was signed in June 2000 in Benin's largest city. It entered into force in 2003 and was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010.

It is regarded as the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU and in 2010, ACP-EU cooperation has been adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, state fragility and aid effectiveness.

The fundamental principles of the Cotonou Agreement include equality of partners, global participation, dialogue and regionalisation.
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Publication:CANA News
Geographic Code:5BARB
Date:Aug 30, 2019
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