By Orville Williams
Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, is now the Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), after succeeding Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley in that role on Thursday.
Browne disclosed some weeks ago that he would be taking on the job and will now serve in that capacity for the next six months, until December.
Among the issues the PM is expected to tackle in his new role are the reduction of intra-regional air travel taxes, the potential for a regional medicinal cannabis market and the sustained threat to regional development with respect to de-risking.
More immediately though, he is expected to lead the CARICOM Day celebrations for this year. Celebrated on July 4, this year’s celebration will mark the 48th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Browne is also set to chair the 42nd meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, scheduled to run virtually from Monday, July 5 to Tuesday, July 6.
An official opening session will kick off the meeting Monday, with remarks from Browne, as well as outgoing CARICOM Chairman, Dr Keith Rowley, and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.
The upcoming meeting will be Ambassador LaRocque’s last in the role, as he is set to be succeeded by Dr Carla Barnett, the first woman and Belizean to be selected for the post.
She will assume office on August 15 and become the 8th Secretary-General in CARICOM’s history.