Caricom leaders describe prevailing environment in the region as 'the perfect storm'

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Caricom leaders describe prevailing environment in the region as 'the perfect storm'

Friday, October 30, 2020

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Caricom leaders, acknowledging that the economic prospects for the Caribbean had worsened, said the current environment provides a perfect storm of a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a deepening debt crisis.

“In that regard, the regional leaders have agreed to the concept of a Caribbean Economic Recovery and Transformation (CERT) Plan, which has been devised by a regional team of experts under the leadership of Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley.

“Heads of Government called for a new Special Drawing Rights allocation by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) as well as the refinancing of COVID-related debt into long-term low interest instruments. They also urged the early development and use of a Universal Vulnerability Index to determine countries' eligibility for development assistance,” said a communique issued here on Friday.

The leaders, who met virtually for their 41st regular summit on Thursday, also discussed in detail the impact the coronavirus pandemic continues to have on their respective economies.

They have acknowledged “the relative success” of the 15-member grouping in the fight against the pandemic that was first detected in China last December and blamed for millions of deaths and infections worldwide.

The leaders said that the success to date in dealing with the virus is attributed “to the application of functional cooperation, one of the core principles of regional integration” and which was adopted from the outbreak of the virus.

They also said that the continued vigilance and adherence to the regional public health approach being led by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency has also contributed to the region's position on COVID-19.

”Heads of Government recognised the impact of COVID-19 on several sectors, including health, tourism, education, security and law enforcement, as well as the different phases of the pandemic which individual countries may be experiencing,” the communique said, noting that the leaders also recognised that in the absence of a vaccine, COVID-19 will continue to be a grave public health, security and economic threat, and the regional approach must continue to be undertaken to manage these ongoing threats.

“In that regard, they further recognised that re-opening and recovery require a careful balance between reducing restrictive measures and ensuring adequate actions to reduce importation and spread of new cases.”

The regional leaders also welcomed the COVAX Facility as an initiative to secure access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that will afford countries the best opportunity to fast-track access to COVID-19 vaccines.

COVAX, formally known as The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, is a global collaboration for speeding up the development, manufacture and equitable distribution of new vaccines. Countries that sign on to COVAX will get access to a broad portfolio of new vaccine candidates to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.


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