Media clinic today for CARICOM conference
Stabroek News
June 25, 2002

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A ‘media clinic’ today, the cleaning of main streets and canals, and other logistical arrangements are being finalised for the hosting of the Twenty-third Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government and the regional civil society encounter.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, is scheduled to give an `Overview of the Community at 30’ spanning the period 1973 to 2003 at the media clinic. Reporters will also be briefed on the CARICOM Single Market Economy and regional cricket, which are down on the agenda for the summit.

Meanwhile, Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon told reporters last week that Cabinet has allocated sufficient funds to deal with the summit in its entirety. "A fair assessment would be, no cost is being spared," he said.

The National Cultural Centre, State House, Le Meridien and the Ocean View Hotel and Convention Centre are all being spruced up for the occasion.

Meanwhile, to date, the only head of government who has indicated that he may not attend the summit is Chief Minister of Monserrat, John Alfred Osborne, Director-General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Elizabeth Harper, said yesterday.

On the draft agenda to deliver remarks at the opening session are the two newest leaders in the community, Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago and Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie. The incumbent and incoming chairmen, Prime Minister of Belize Said Musa and Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo as well as Carrington will also deliver addresses.

Brazil’s President, Henrique Fernando Cardoso, may no longer attend the opening session but meet the CARICOM leaders on July 6, Harper said.

While all the sessions will be held in the city, it is expected that the heads of governments will pay a visit to the Baganara Island Resort in the Essequibo River. The state reception is planned for State House but in the event of rain it will be held at the Umana Yana.

Meanwhile, Georgetown Deputy Mayor Robert Williams in the last mayoral weekly radio broadcast has said that the municipality had embarked on a number of environmental and sanitation exercises in preparation of the summit.

The work includes the painting of bridges and trees in areas where activities will occur; the removal of derelict and other forms of encumbrances, cleaning and desilting of canals and drains, weeding and cleaning of parapets, repairs to bridges, and trimming of trees. Repairs to a number of roads are in progress and these, Williams said were in keeping with budgetary allocations.

Work on some major roads is being done by the Public Works Ministry.

The works being carried out by the ministry include Mandela Avenue, Vlissengen Road, Battery Road in Kingston, Middle Street, Quamina Street and Pere Street in Kitty.

Williams said that a special effort would be made to clean up D’Urban Park particularly along Hadfield Street. These are the streets along which delegates will travel.

The media centre will be set up at the Cheddi Jagan Research Institute on High Street.

According to Luncheon some 150 persons including Heads, technical personnel, members of the media and key players in the tourism industry are expected to attend both the summit and the civil society encounter. He said that hotels, resorts, and related businesses have already been booked.

The Encounter of Civil Society, now scheduled for July 2 and 3 at the Ocean View and Convention Centre, was originally scheduled to take place in Barbados two years ago Harper said. The representatives of civil society will meet the Heads on July 3.

At a recent press briefing Foreign Affairs Minister Rudy Insanally said that the arrangement with civil society and CARICOM was that each CARICOM member state will be represented by five non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

'Apart from their own interests, Insanally said, that the NGOs will review the business of CARICOM and "suggestions and recommendations coming on the eve of the conference can be a major dynamic for the HOGS who will meet with the representatives". (Miranda La Rose)