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CARICOM leaders in late caucus

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and other Caribbean leaders were still meeting in caucus up to late tonight, but it was understood that security and justice and creating more jobs for citizens were among the areas the leaders had agreed to make priority under their five-year CARICOM Strategic Plan.

They will also be seeking a further extension to complete negotiations on a new CARICOM-Canada Trade Agreement.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the disclosures as she spoke to state media in St John’s this evening, just before flying back to the twin-island republic from the 35th Heads of Government Conference taking place at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa.

She said the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan was adopted by CARICOM leaders during their caucus today at Blue Waters Hotel.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime MInister Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaking to her country's Government Information Service just before returning home this evening.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar 

“We prioritised the heads of that action plan, which included implementation of the CSME [CARICOM Single Market and Economy], matters dealing with citizens’ security and justice, the creation of more jobs in the region and the development of a single ICT [Information, Communications Technology] space,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said there was also discussion on the CARICOM-Canada Trade agreement that expired on December 31, 2013. An extension had been given to June 30, 2014 but that still was not met.

“The Heads agreed that further initiatives should be taken to have that time period extended to allow for further negotiations between the CARICOM and Canada,” she reported.

Persad-Bissessar said she also put on the table, her concerns that funding for CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), based in Trinidad and Tobago, has not been as forthcoming from other regional countries as it should.

She said that issue would be taken up at a later date.

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