CARICOM and Switzerland deepen relations

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it is looking forward to a concrete programme of cooperation with Switzerland after the European country's diplomat presented his credentials to CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque on Thursday.

La Rocque said he was looking towards cooperation in areas including environmental protection, renewable energy, financial services, tourism and agri-business.

“Switzerland ranks amongst the highest in practically every index used to measure development, whether it be social, economic or environmental.  Switzerland is politically neutral and peaceful, highly competitive and boasts a highly-skilled labour force. Your country also has a high per capita GDP, a highly-developed service sector and a high-technology manufacturing sector,” he said.

“These attributes are supported by fine infrastructure, sound capital markets, a trusted legal system and highly stable political system.  In short, Switzerland is exemplary, a place where it seems that practically everything works as it should for the well-being of its people,” La Rocque added.

He told the ceremony that CARICOM also wishes to harness Switzerland's influential global voice in drawing attention to the graduation of middle-income countries from concessionary development financing based on GDP.  Consideration must be given to the economic and environmental vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), La Rocque told Ambassador Didier Chassot, Switzerland's Plenipotentiary Representative to CARICOM.

La Rocque also informed the newly accredited diplomat of the devastating impact de-risking activities conducted by certain international banks will have on the people and small economies of CARICOM.

He made reference to the “unjust and unfounded” practice of listing some CARICOM countries as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions even though they have satisfied the criteria laid down by all relevant international regulatory institutions.

The CARICOM secretary general said this is an area of common interest as Switzerland has also been subjected to the demands of regulatory bodies.

Chassot told the ceremony that his country is keen on intensifying political dialogue and working with CARICOM member states in multilateral for a and had also taken note of the priorities of the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019 and its vision for an integrated, inclusive and resilient community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realise his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice.

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