The meeting will stretch over a two-day period concluding on 5th May, 2011.
During the opening ceremony, which was attended Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas – who also gave the keynote address – members of the diplomatic and consular corps, CARICOM’s Secretary General (Ag), Ms. Lolita Applewhaite, indicated that the meeting is being held during a period when the region “finds itself in an environment of change and transition within the context of a global environment”.
She explained that the result is that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has faced a number of challenges to which it must respond.
She further explained that response to these challenges – which include the impact of the global economic and financial crisis and threat to the advancement of the Single Market and Economy – must be strategic if the Community is to effectively cope.
“It is on such critical issues that the COFCOR has the duty to focus as it constantly reviews and enhances its strategy for engaging third states and the international community in general, in a coordinated fashion. It has a preeminent role in ensuring that the region’s positions and interests on these issues are appropriately represented, articulated and advanced in relevant forum.
“This meeting of the COFCOR is therefore tasked with discussing mechanisms for further strengthening its foreign policy coordination as well as reviewing the community’s relationships with both our long standing as well as our more recent partners. This is with a view to determining the most appropriate strategies for enhancing these relations and for protecting and advancing the community’s strategic interest.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor, who is also the incoming Chairman of CONCOF – and who gave remarks at the opening ceremony – indicated that some of the specific issues which will be addressed at the 14th Meeting are the Community’s relationship with third states and the coordination of foreign policies with a view to ensuring that the region is well represented at international forums.