On Tuesday 26th January legislators from across 17 countries met in Quito, Ecuador to formalise plans for the operation of a Parliamentary Network across Latin America and the Caribbean Union.
The forum, which seeks to strengthen relations among member countries, agreed on a manifesto to be presented to CELAC leaders when they meet in Quito today, Wednesday 27th January.
As part of the forum, the CELAC Parliamentary Group adopted CARICOM’s call for reparations for native genocide and the enslavement of African people in the Caribbean through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade The presentation was put forward by St. Vincent and the Grenadines through Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. Jomo Thomas, while the final clause on the motion adopted by the parliamentary grouping, was drafted and submitted by Senator and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Carlos James.
Thomas, who is also chair of the local Reparations Committee, acknowledged that CARICOM, as a regional bloc, had agreed on the call for reparatory justice and urged the CELAC parliamentarians to join the cause in solidarity with CARICOM.
The grouping of parliamentarians also agreed on a common agenda focused on the defence, protection and the promotion of the independence, sovereignty, socio-economic and political union of Latin America and the Caribbean.
During his presentation at the meeting Senator Hon. Carlos James, noted that the government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines continue to call for stronger ties with member states of CELAC.
“We are facing external challenges as a regional bloc, including the effects of climate change, the global economic crisis and the recent economic war against the government and people of Venezuela. Our desire is to deepen south-south co-operation and strengthen our relations as a bloc,” Senator James noted.
“On behalf of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and our esteemed Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, we are happy to join in solidarity with our fraternal comrades across Latin America and the Caribbean Union in deepening relations across our National Assemblies for the protection and promotion of our democracy and sovereignty as independent countries,” Sen. James added.
The meeting was held ahead of Prime Minister Gonsalves’ visit to Ecuador for the CELAC Meeting. Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonslaves, is expected to leave the state today, Wednesday 27th January,to attend the meeting.
Background: The Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC), is a regional bloc of 33 Latin American and Caribbean states. It was formed at the Unity Summit, which consisted of the 21st Summit of the Rio Group and the 2nd Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC), in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico, on 23rd February 2010. The organisation aims to unite all of the Latin American and Caribbean states in order to strengthen the political, social and cultural integration of the region, improve its quality of life, stimulate its economic growth, and advance the well-being of all of its people. CELAC is a successor of the Rio Group and CALC.
Membership: There are thirty-three (33) member states: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Santa Lucia, Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.