(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The CARICOM Secretariat has taken note of an article which appeared recently in the regional media concerning the programming of regional resources from the European Union. The Secretariat strongly denies that any sloth on its part (“slow action by regional bureaucrats”) has held up the regional programming or prevented Member States from accessing regional funds.
The article quotes the Head of the EU Delegation in Kingston as saying: “The CARIFORUM/CARICOM Secretariat has been unable to come up with a viable proposal to start implementing these funds…” Assuming that the Head of Delegation has been correctly quoted, the Secretariat wishes to clarify the course the programming of the regional funds has taken.
Since the signing of the 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme in November 2008, the European Commission (EC) has required the Region to develop a detailed Roadmap and CARIFORUM’s submission of its priorities for the use of the resources extracted from the Roadmap, before any work on a detailed programming of the resources of the Euro 165 million would be contemplated.
In consultation with Member States, the Secretariat, between February, when agreement was reached on how the Region should proceed, and September 2009, completed and presented to the European Commission several versions of the Roadmap.
The first version was discussed with the EU delegation in Georgetown, Guyana and based on their comments, a second version was drafted for discussion at a meeting in Brussels. At that meeting, Commission officials advised the Secretariat that 10th EDF Regional Resources could not be accessed before July 2010.
In mid-July 2009, a third version was discussed at the CARIFORUM-EC Dialogue in Antigua and Barbuda. The EC Director-General Development, in correcting the July 2010 timing for the availability of the regional resources, advised that the resources could be accessed once CARIFORUM and the Commission could agree on the priorities, and the relevant documentation could be processed through the Commission’s systems. At that time he suggested that submission of the Road map and priorities list should take place by 31 October 2009. The Secretary-General, however, committed the Region to making the submission by 30 September 2009.
On 30 September 2009, another version, amended to reflect the agreement reached with the Commission at the mid-July Dialogue and the CARICOM/CARIFORUM internal discussions during September 2009, was duly submitted by the Secretary-General to Commission.
The Director-General, EuropeAid Co-operation Office (AIDCO) and Development responded to the Secretary-General’s correspondence of 30 September 2009 on 30 November 2009.
No further action was possible before this response, but since then the Secretariat has been working with the EU Delegation in Georgetown, Guyana, which manages the Regional Programme together with the Commission headquarters in Brussels, to advance the work required to ensure that the Regional Programme is put in place as expeditiously as possible.