Monday, February 2, 2009

CARICOM MORE VITAL THAN EVER - CARRINGTON."JAMAICAN OBSERVER"

Jamaica Observer

Last updated: 2/2/2009 1:24:27 PM

Caricom Secretary-General Edwin Carrington has urged members of the regional community to stick to the process of regional integration amidst the challenges of the financial crisis.

Addressing Caricom foreign ministers in Guyana today Carrington said that the regional body was acting responsibly with the establishment of a task force to develop strategies to mitigate the impact of the crisis and in choosing not to request a budget increase, which is up for approval at the meeting. However he stressed that functions of the Caricom Secretariat would be impeded as a consequence.

"Seized as we are of the depth of the global financial and economic downturn and of its certain impact on our countries, we have taken the brave decision, despite an inflation rate of some 8 per cent, not to request any increase in the budget for 2009 over that of 2008. We are determined to strive to do as much as we can, with the level of resources made available to us in 2008. This, of course, raises serious questions regarding the issue of new mandates," he said.

He added that the decision "to park" the issue of establishing a Commission-type mechanism would place additional burden on Secretariat staff.

Following the launch of the Caricom Development Fund (CDF) he said that that it was now ready to begin providing assistance to eligible countries, regions and sectors.

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