Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, July 3, 2013
July 2, 2013
July 2, 2013
July 2, 2013
July 2, 2013
July 2, 2013
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has told
regional labour ministers that "business as usual is no
longer a viable option" for Caribbean economies.
Speaking at the opening of the eighth International
Labour Organisation (ILO) Caribbean Labour Ministers
meeting yesterday, the Prime Minister said the onus was
on Caribbean leaders to focus more fundamentally on
labour issues in the face of growing economic challenges.
"No country can survive without workers," she said.
Labour Minister Errol McLeod argued that labour was
"both a pillar and driver of sustainable economic devel-
He said the sector was also "an essential ingredient for
the sustainable development of the Caribbean.
Nineteen Caribbean ministers are in T&T for the meeting
which, for the first time, is being attended by an ILO
director general, recently-appointed former International
Trade Union Congress (ITUC) general secretary Guy Ryder.
Avoiding direct mention of current conflicts between
the Government and sections of the labour movement,
McLeod instead chose to refer to the international challenges
to Caribbean development.
"The ebb and flow of the global tide is most evident
and we in the Caribbean must ensure that we are ready,
able and capable of not only staying afloat but of riding
On the eve of the Caricom heads
of government meeting in Port-of-
Spain, an independent legislator yes-
terday called for all Caribbean gov-
ernments to do more to support the
regional airline LIAT.
Senator Harold Ramkissoon made
the call during his contribution to yes-
terday s Senate debate on the Carifo-
rum (Caribbean Community and
Dominican Republic) European Com-
munity Economic Partnership Agree-
ment Bill, 2013.
He said LIAT had been "doing yeo-
man service to the Caribbean and must
be supported by all Caricom govern-
He insisted it "must not be viewed
as a stepchild by some, being associated
with the eastern Caribbean."
He said LIAT provided an essential
service to the region and must not be
expected to make a profit but must
be subsidised in the interest of the
people of the region.
He added there was also need for
an international carrier, particularly in
the tourism sector, but the region must
not depend on airlines that would
service it only in the winter season.
What was needed, he said, was a
"slim, efficient Caribbean Airlines...
co-operating with and complementing
He hoped transportation would be
among the priority issues to be dis-
cussed at the Caricom meeting and
that the Prime Minister s idea of a
regional ferry service would be imple-
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar, who assumed chairman-
ship of Caricom on Monday, will
welcome 14 Caribbean leaders to the
heads of government meeting that
begins in Port-of-Spain today.
The leaders include three associate
members: The Prime Minister of
Equatorial Guinea, President Danilo
Medina of the Dominican Republic
and President Nicolas Maduro of the
Republic of Venezuela.
The meeting begins at 6 pm with
a flag ceremony at the Diplomatic
Centre, St Ann s.
Several leaders, including Persad-
Bissessar, will address the ceremony.
The meeting is expected to dis-
• The economic situation facing
member states and the region.
• Transportation in the region.
• Proposal for a high-level meeting
on people with disabilities and spe-
• Membership and associate mem-
bership of the Caribbean Commu-
• Reform process in Caricom---state
• Progress on the region s prepara-
tions for the United States Foreign
Account Tax Compliance Act.
• External trade Issues.
Among the conference highlights
will be the re-enactment of the sign-
ing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas
with a ceremony at the Chaguaramas
Convention Centre tomorrow.
On Friday all the leaders will attend
an all-day retreat.
The conference ends on Saturday
with bi-lateral talks with President
Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.
the waves to propel our growth," he said.
McLeod added: "In the midst of this whirlpool, however,
lie seeds of opportunity and we must be prepared to seize
them and to work towards enriching and enhancing the
lives of our citizens."
Caricom secretary-general Irwin LaRocque who also
addressed the Caribbean ministers, said the state of
economies in the Caribbean warranted a closer look at
the role of labour in development
He expressed concern about what he described as gaps"
in skill levels in the labour market and pointed to the fact
that youth unemployment was double the rate among
older age groups.
Ryder also spoke of the high incidence of youth unem-
ployment globally and warned that even in the face of
economic recovery it was important to ensure there was
"job-rich growth", and economies needed to grow in
ways that created jobs.
In an earlier session with LaRocque there was agreement
on beginning a review of the memorandum of association
between the ILO and Caricom.
According to one Caricom official, there was need to
"update and strengthen" the relationship and a new
resolve to focus more heavily on youth unemployment.
T&T's ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva John Sandy, right, greets
secretary general of Caricom Irwin La Rocque as he stands with, from left, Labour Minister Errol McLeod,
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and International Labour Organisation (ILO) director general Guy
Ryder at the opening of the eighth ILO meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann's,
yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
PM to regional labour ministers:
It can no longer be
business as usual
Call for more LIAT
support from Caricom
14 Caribbean leaders
in talks from today
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