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SEEKING VIEWS: Professor Vaughn Lewis meets President Bharrat Jagdeo at State House yesterday. (Photo, courtesy Office of the President)

MEMBERS of a technical working group on governance established by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government yesterday met President Bharrat Jagdeo and a team on the issue.

The working group is headed by Professor Vaughn Lewis of the Institute of International Relations, of the University of West Indies St Augustine University campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Government Information Agency (GINA) said also at the State House meeting were Foreign Minister Dr. Rudy Insanally and Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper.

Professor Lewis told the agency that “for some time now we have been considering the most appropriate form of managing the (CARICOM) Secretariat and governance of CARICOM systems as a whole, and it raises questions whether what was established by the (founding) Treaty of Chaguaramas was the most appropriate instrument for running systems of CARICOM at this point in time.”

Additionally, he noted, the issue arose when the governments decided in 1992 to establish the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and a West Indian Commission was formed which was headed by Sir Shridat Ramphal.

Lewis recalled that the commission recommended an instrument for assisting the secretariat to implement decisions at the Heads of Government level and with representation in negotiations at international fora.

However, this was not met with consensus and once again the need for a specific method of governance arose, since CARICOM was involved in several negotiations, he told GINA.

He noted that these include negotiations with the European Union for a new arrangement to succeed the Cotonou Agreement with members of the African Caribbean and Pacific grouping, talks with the United States on the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, and on the World Trade Organisation.

GINA said a team chaired by Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, working on the subject, reported to CARICOM heads at their last meeting.

“And the heads have asked us to take those proposals and work at them again and see if we can find a methodology for ensuring some consensus among the heads when they meet again. So we have come to consult with the President on his view and the views of the government on the best forms of management of CARICOM systems,” Lewis told the agency before yesterday’s State House meeting.

The group also met Opposition Leader Robert Corbin, it reported.

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