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Press Release


  September 20, 2004

Renewing the Organization of American States’ (OAS) offer to help mobilize donors and technical support for hurricane-ravaged countries of the Caribbean, Secretary General Miguel Ángel Rodríguez said he was “deeply concerned and very sorry” about the devastation that hurricanes Ivan and Frances have caused on the nations of CARICOM.”

The Secretary General, who assumed office last week, sent the CARICOM leaders a letter as they met in emergency session in Trinidad and Tobago capital to discuss immediate response strategies after the hurricanes battered Grenada as well as The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In the letter, Rodríguez said he had already reiterated personally to CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington as well as to the CARICOM Ambassadors to the OAS the Organization’s support.

The emergency CARICOM leaders’ session, among other preliminary conclusions, decided to establish “a pool of budgetary resources” to help Grenada, the hardest hit, to meet its financial obligations for the next three months. Hurricane Ivan killed 37 in Grenada, where 90 per cent of the buildings and homes were destroyed. The leaders also decided to re-apportion Grenada’s contributions to regional organizations to other member states, where Grenadian students would also be relocated.

In his letter, Rodríguez also suggested the start of “negotiation towards a Free Trade Agreement between CARICOM and the United States.” He argued that such an agreement would “ensure the economic growth and development” of the member countries.

Reference: E-151/04