Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government at their recently-concluded summit in Suriname, considered the Region’s need for a significantly enhanced transportation system.
The leaders believe such a system can bolster food security and deepen regional integration.
According to an end-of-conference communique, the leaders agreed to establish a Working Group to provide project oversight of the enhanced transportation initiative.
The group will include representatives from the Governments of Barbados, Grenada, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM Private Sector Organisation (CPSO), and the CDB.
The end-of-conference communique said the Heads of Government welcomed an update from the Prime Minister of Barbados.
The update addressed advanced discussions on establishing a traditional ferry and fast ferry service for passengers and cargo for the Region.
It noted that a formal proposal is being awaited.
In addition, the leaders considered and supported a concept paper provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
In this regard, they agreed that work should commence in August 2022 on the proposed roadmap study on the factors needed for successfully establishing a fast ferry service for the transportation of agricultural produce.
The communique said the initial focus is on trade between Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The leaders agreed to establish a Working Group to provide oversight of both projects, including the Prime Ministers of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Saint Lucia has urged regional countries to move swiftly to create a lasting, reliable, and affordable regional transportation infrastructure, warning that there can be no meaningful integration without the free movement of people.
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre outlined Saint Lucia’s position in his address to the opening of the CARICOM summit.