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Nov 17, 2000

Caribbean Parliamentarians meet in Belize

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There are a number of issues common to the Caribbean region which must be addressed before a CARICOM single market and economy can be forged. Caribbean M.P.’s met this morning to examine them.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

Caribbean Parliamentarians joined their Belizean counterparts this morning at the Radisson Hotel for the third meeting of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians. This morning?s proceedings started with the election of a speaker to preside over the three-day assembly.

Senator Gordon Hamilton of the island of Grenada nominated Speaker of the House Silvia Flores. She graciously accepted and led the gathering in reciting the Belizean national prayer.

The fanfare then gave way to the arrival of Governor General Sir Colville Young, who in declaring the third meeting open says parliamentary democracy lies at the heart of Belize?s constitution.

Born in 1994, the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians held its inaugural meeting in Barbados in 1996. Three years later, Grenada was the venue for the second meeting. Today, the third takes place at home where Prime Minister Said Musa is ready to articulate his position.

Prime Minister Said Musa

?Belize will certainly be joining, quite frankly because I believe there is consensus in the Caribbean, our colleagues in speaking up forcefully against the attempts by the organisation of the developed industrialized nations, who are attempting to brand our financial services as harmful tax practices against their systems. This is clearly blatant hypocrisy on their part because they themselves are the biggest money centres of the world be it Switzerland, Luxemburg, London, New York and yet they are trying to prevent little countries like Belize, the Bahamas, Cayman and so on from having these offshore companies as well as banks.?

?Belize will try and project a perspective into this whole thing that CARICOM needs to widen its scope. We need to take full advantage of the Association of Caribbean States, which includes the wider Caribbean, including the non-English speaking Caribbean as well as the Central American nations.?

Doreen Chen, Jamaica, M.P.

?Mainly, I want to look at the role of women in politics and how we can strengthen that role to benefit the ladies.?

Ann-Marie Williams

?And how can we strengthen that role??

Doreen Chen

?We have already been articulating positions for a number of years and I can speak to the conference in Beijing and what we have been doing as members of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians members in the Caribbean. But we need to not just speak about it, but actually working towards strengthening it in such a way where we can feel the effects of what we speak.?

Chen?s colleague Canute Brown of Jamaica brings two issues to the meeting.

Canute Brown, Jamaica M.P.

?The support for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice. And also harmful taxation and money laundering issues that have been the subject of considerable controversy in the recent months, particularly in the eastern Caribbean.?

Ann-Marie

?When you talk about the free market economy, how do you plan to address the free movement of people within the region, particularly as it relates to immigration laws and travel??

Canute Brown

?Well there are several protocols that have been signed by the member countries. They are designed to encourage free movement of capital good and services and people. To achieve what is set out in the protocol, there?s need to educate the Caribbean people for them to accept this is the way forward in the global economy. There?s some degree of parochialism as you would imagine and there?s a historical resistance to full integration in the Caribbean.?

And full Caribbean integration is the aim of the Caribbean community. Ann-Marie Williams Reporting for News Five.

The Third meeting of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians ends on Monday.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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