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Trinidad PM calls for stronger regional integration efforts

first_imgNewsRegional Trinidad PM calls for stronger regional integration efforts by: – March 10, 2012 Trinidadian Leader, Kamla Persad BissessarPARAMARIBO, Suriname — In a statement at the opening of the first plenary session of the 23rd inter-sessional meeting of the conference of heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Paramaribo, Suriname, on Thursday, Kamla Persad Bissessar, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, called for more, not less regional integration.The prime minister extended greetings and congratulations to newly elected heads of state and heads of government, including Donald Ramotar, president of Guyana, and newly elected prime minister of St Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony. She also made special mention of the newly elected prime minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, whilst citing the historical context of this being the first time in the history of CARICOM there were two sitting women prime ministers, particularly on the commemoration of International Women’s Day.CARICOM’s rocky roadPersad Bissessar spoke on the views offered by consultants who undertook an organisational review of CARICOM, and publicly reiterated her commitment made at the heads of government retreat in St Kitts, stating, “Let me at the onset categorically indicate that Trinidad and Tobago is for CARICOM and for regional integration. Let me also indicate that Trinidad and Tobago understands its role in CARICOM and its responsibility to the region and is committed to cooperation.” Trinidad and Tobago’s follow-through on last meeting’s commitmentThe prime minister recalled her statement made at the last heads of government meeting, where “substantial progress” was made. She stated that on that occasion reference was made to the achievement of a working free trade regime. The prime minister emphasised that every effort to balance trade relations must be actively pursued, with the full implementation of the Single Market, particularly as it deals with trade in services, movement of capital and in particularly, free movement of skilled persons among the member states of the Community.Persad Bissessar went on to advise that it was against this background that Trinidad and Tobago has committed to, and is in the process of establishing the Caribbean Public Health Agency [CARPHA], with the government spearheading the construction of the CARPHA facilities.The prime minister also advised on Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment relating to the fast ferry within the Southern Caribbean, citing that the matter was at a stage where it is nearing commencement of service. She stated that the general matter of the intraregional transport to facilitate further trade and people interface needs to be strengthened, citing the Caribbean Airline’s collaboration with Air Jamaica, and its increased flights into the Eastern Caribbean were steps moving in the right direction.The prime minister spoke on two critical elements in the regional development initiative relating to agriculture and energy, stating that the Brazilian offer of a model farm was still very much on Trinidad and Tobago’s agenda. She stated that Trinidad and Tobago was willing to enter into consultations with Antigua and Barbuda, who also expressed interest in exploring the development of the large farms. The prime minister also cited the issue of a pipeline from Trinidad and Tobago up the Eastern Caribbean, with the latest advice being that the linkage with Barbados seems most feasible at this time. More work was cited as necessary to deal with certain undersea volcanic formations which call for further study and analysis to facilitate extension to other Eastern Caribbean countries.Persad Bissessar concluded her statement by recalling the collaborative conversations at the recently concluded CARICOM-Cuba summit, the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum and the CARICOM-Japan joint economic mission. The prime minister expressed pleasure at the discussions emanating from the 7th UK-Caribbean Forum and the outcomes therein – save and except for the outstanding issue of the air passenger duty [APD]. She closed stating that CARICOM’s present road may be rocky, but advised however that a page should be pulled from the book of the EU, which has shown that the way out of such “crisis” is more, and not less integration.Caribbean News Now 16 Views   no discussions Share Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! Tweet Sharelast_img read more


Badger runners set for NCAAs

first_imgThe No. 4-ranked Wisconsin men’s cross country team will head to Terre Haute, Ind., today as they look to repeat the success they had last time in Indiana.Nine days removed from its Great Lakes Regional Championship, held in West Lafayette, Ind., UW is competing to bring home an NCAA championship to Madison. The Badgers will be led by seniors Matt Withrow, Stu Eagon and Christian Wagner, who are all participating in their fourth national championship race.Although Withrow and Eagon have been dealing with nagging injuries throughout the year, head coach Mick Byrne believes that they are closer to 100 percent than they have been all season.“Matt Withrow and Stu Eagon came through, are coming through pretty well,” Byrne said. “Matt survived Saturday, did pretty well. We slowed him down a little bit. Three-quarters of the way through the race, we told him to back off. And Stu did real well. So, with those two in much better shape than they were two or three weeks ago, it’s certainly going to help us.”Aiding the seniors in their attempt to bring home its second title is first team All-Big Ten runner Landon Peacock. Peacock, a sophomore, has put together a solid year, placing second at the Big Ten Championships and fourth in the Great Lakes Regional. Juniors Craig Miller and Ryan Gasper also figure to play big roles in the Badgers’ shot at the title.Other top-ranked teams — such as Oregon, Oklahoma State and Stanford — stand in the way of the Badgers winning the title.“There are obviously some big guns out there,” Byrne said. “Anytime you go to a national championship, there are a couple of favorites, and certainly Oklahoma State and Oregon are the big favorites. But behind all those guys, No. 3 and 4, we think that we’re in there with a shot.”Another factor that could play into the race is the weather. Coming from the colder Midwestern climate, the Badgers hope to have temperatures down in the 20s or 30s for today’s race. Wisconsin is used to running in colder temperatures, whereas the West Coast teams are not.“We’re looking for it to be pretty cool, and that’s the condition that our kids like,” Byrne said. “They feel comfortable running in anything around 30 degrees.”A championship would mean quite a bit not only for the seniors but also to Byrne, the Great Lakes Coach of the Year and first-year Badgers coach. After spending over two decades at Iona College, Byrne came to Wisconsin to replace former head coach Jerry Schumacher. There has been no drop off, as this year’s team won its 10th consecutive Big Ten title and seventh straight Great Lakes Regional title. Today, Byrne looks to keep one more streak alive as the Badgers look for their seventh straight top five at the NCAA Championships.“When we go to Terre Haute on Monday, the goal has been throughout the season to get back on the podium as one of the top four teams,” Byrne said. “It’s going to come down to who’s going to put it together on the date.”last_img read more