Stuart off to neighbouring French islands
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will participate in a regional summit on climate change in Martinique and an opening ceremony for the Caribbean Centre of Expression and Memory of Slavery and the Slave Trade in Guadeloupe this weekend.
The meeting is being held on Saturday, May 9, in preparation for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scheduled for Paris in December 2015.
The inauguration of the Centre, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, will be on Sunday, May 10.
Stuart’s participation comes at the invitation of the President of France, François Hollande, who will deliver addresses at both events.
France, its overseas territories and former colonies, commemorate on May 10, the French declaration of slavery as a crime against humanity, and the day also celebrates the abolition of slavery.
Underscoring the importance of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) attendance at both events, Prime Minister Stuart said it would give the regional leaders an opportunity to present their position on climate change to the President of France.
“Barbados will seek a meeting with President Hollande to discuss pertinent bilateral and regional matters,” he disclosed.
Stuart, who chairs the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Reparations, explained that an objective of that sub-committee was to have a meeting between the CARICOM countries and those in Europe, which engaged in slavery, to discuss the issue of reparations. He intends to raise this matter with the French President.
In preparation for Saturday’s summit and other high-level meetings being convened in 2015, CARICOM ministers with responsibility for climate change and regional negotiators met in St Lucia in January and April 2015. They discussed regional preparations, reviewed the latest developments in the intergovernmental climate change process as well as formulated and strengthened common positions. A draft CARICOM Declaration for Climate Action has been developed as a result of those preparatory meetings.
President Hollande will assume the presidency of UNFCCC COP 21 in December 2015, and he has undertaken state visits to various regions in an effort to mobilise the political will to ensure a successful outcome for COP 21.