Hogan recently returned to island after chairing last week’s 40th session of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), where Member States agreed on the banning of poultry and poultry products from certain parts of the United States as a way of helping to contain or suppress the Avian Influenza or Bird Flu.
“Montserrat is confirming it’s import sources with a view to imposing the ban, if necessary,” the minister said.
During the session, a list of goods to allow Cuba market access into the rest of the Caribbean was agreed. Also handled during the meetings were 13 applications for Common External Tariff waivers were granted. CET waivers allow member states to import similar goods from outside the region because of lack of supply or some other issue within the region.
This was Minister Hogan’s first opportunity to chair the meeting since taking office last September. The full text of his opening remarks and the video of his speech follows.
Watch his speech here….
“I am honoured to greet you as Minister on behalf of the Government and People of Montserrat and I could present a long story about Montserrat being a Founding Member of the Caribbean Community. I am however minded to remind this august body that as we found strength in the past to champion our right to increasing self-determination through the organs of this our Caribbean Community, the PDM Administration of Montserrat will continue to need CARICOM’s support to assert our right to enjoy a fair and equitable share of the economic dividends of our improving and advancing regional community.
“We in Montserrat continue to embrace CARICOM as a necessary and immovable pillar of support in the way forward for the development of our people.
“I am convinced that the economic architecture we have boldly created over these many years, through the implementation of the CSME, the CET and our various bilateral arrangements to resolve issues and smooth the operations of our regional economy, is one of our greatest inventions. We have created an entire construct on the international legal plan that includes elements of derogation from rules and an appreciation of our special and differential needs and circumstances to allow our countries to foster integration among ourselves with the quest of ultimate integration into the global economy. Please allow me to salute the forerunners in this regional integration quest, and I pause to pay tribute to His Excellency Edwin Carrington who came to Montserrat and brought me back to Guyana and into this regional integration work in the 1980’s. Thank you very much Sir Edwin, who is here present with us today.
“I wish to applaud our regional successes at: finally reaching the stage of promulgating and observing community law an operationalizing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ); the COTED’s necessary concern with Consumer Protection as reflected on the Agenda before us; that this COTED is conscious that the honey or pepper producers in Grenada or Montserrat are more concerned with fostering their own livelihoods and the livelihoods of their children than about the high platitudes of our discussions. I invite us therefore to see that this esteemed organ called the COTED and its mandate for regulation and facilitation is so critical to the future development of our countries and community that we concentrate over the next two days more on the process and desired outcomes and less on the combat over the issues.
“Colleagues Ministers, we have before us on this agenda questions over the rules of origin for goods traded in our region and whether we will be able to enjoy coconut water as a competitively priced product across our region; in the external negotiations sphere our engagement with Canada has implications for market access of our goods, services and workers into that North American market.
“We should pay careful attention as well, that we arise from this meeting having concern for the standards and quality for trade in our region and the fact that Cuba wants to join in our trading arrangements and to be members of the Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ). Ministers will recall, that as a region we were always ahead of the US President Obama in seeking to have Cuba enjoin in free trade among us and I hope as the premier body for trade in CARICOM that we arise from here in Georgetown with opening now more than a window, but a door for Cuba to enter and trade in our CARICOM market. I believe we were always ahead with Cuba in its quest to participate as fully as possible in regional and global trade and we need to demonstrate that we valued both our past relationship with Cuba and the great possibilities for trading with Cuba into the future in areas hitherto untouched in our region.
“In closing, let me therefore thank you all for your warm welcome to Georgetown, Guyana for this 40th meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED). Please be reminded however that over the next two days we shall endeavour to unleash the full regulatory and facilitation capacity of this 40th Meeting of our COTED to spur the strong rebuilding efforts of our regional private sector.
“Colleague Ministers, with lives and livelihoods at stake let us focus not on the challenges ahead, but the process of development and engagement. Thank you for your kind attention.”