[www.inewsguyana.com] – The second Summit of leaders of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) officially opened on Monday (January 27) in the Capital of Cuba, Havana.
President, Donald Ramotar, who arrived in Havana on Sunday, is leading Guyana’s delegation to the meeting of the 33 member States. The summit officially gets underway today, Tuesday January 28, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) bulletin.
The Summit is being held under the theme, “Eradication of hunger, poverty and inequality in Latin America and Caribbean States.” According to GINA, these are issues are of profound concern to President Ramotar who has on several occasions lamented the fact that the Latin American and Caribbean region remains the most unequal in the world.
It was noted that Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who led the local delegation at a meeting of Foreign Ministers held on the eve of the Summit, said that the meeting was very significant for Guyana.
She cited the declaration on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which comes at a time when 2014 is designated the year of SIDS. SIDS have peculiar issues to deal with such as the effects of climate change on their economies and the issue of the reduction of concessionary financing for middle income countries based on the GDP per capita.
“It is important to garner support from the wider Latin American region. This declaration on SIDS highlights the challenges these States face with regards to how prone many are to the effects of climate change and natural disasters and the issue of financing,” GINA quoted the Minister as saying.
Minister Rodrigues-Birkett added that the declaration demonstrates the support of CELAC to the efforts of SIDS countries and it recognises the peculiarities of these States, given that one hurricane or flood can wipe out the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a SIDS country.
This declaration, according to the Minister, augurs well for an upcoming international meeting of SIDS which will be held in Samoa later this year. Twenty-eight declarations have thus far been approved for adoption at this second Summit of CELAC.
Also part of Guyana’s delegation is Minister of Housing and Water and acting Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Irfaan Ali and Ambassador Audrey Waddell, who is Guyana’s CELAC National Coordinator, as well as the Ambassador to UNASUR. CELAC was created in December 2011 following the Declaration of Caracas in Venezuela, and represents about six hundred million people.