This meeting has been re-launched after a 9 year hiatus. Dr. Harris travelled to Chile on Wednesday 1st February to represent the Federation and is accompanied by Ms. Verna Morris, Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Harris will assume a leadership role in this meeting as he will co-chair the proceedings with the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Alfredo Moreno. Dr. Harris is standing in for the Mr. Sam Condor, Chair of COFCOR, who was unavailable at this time.
Minister Harris noted that CARICOM-Chile relations have intensified over the years since the establishment of the CARICOM-Chile Joint Commission in 1996, as well as the signing of the Agreement on Scientific and Technical Co-operation between both parties.
The aim of the Joint Commission is to forge closer ties between CARICOM member states and the Republic of Chile in trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural areas, which would, subsequently, be translated into feasible projects. The inaugural meeting was held in Santiago de Chile in June 2003.
In anticipation of the fruitful dialogue and exchange that will emanate from this Joint Commission, Dr. Harris indicated that some of the sensitive areas that will be brought to the attention of the Chileans for some measure of action are the following: trade and investment opportunities; tourism; cooperation in agriculture to promote food security focusing on production and processing, marketing, etc.; natural disaster preparedness; contributions to some of our regional institutions such as the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF), the Caribbean Health and Food and Safety Agency (CAHFSA) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Among other issues to be discussed are the operationalization of the recently established Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the upcoming CELAC-EU (European Union) summit which is scheduled to be held in January 2013 in Chile.
On Wednesday 2nd, Dr. Harris presided over a CARICOM caucus meeting of CARICOM Ministers and Heads of Delegation. The following countries are represented at the high level meeting: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr. Harris later met with Chilean Foreign Minister to pursue matters of bilateral interests.