Prominent Caricom Leaders to address Caribbean Business

That affect Countries in region are to be considered

Two current Caribbean leaders and a former Prime Minister who served longer than most as the head of a regional government are to help point the Caribbean in a direction of change in strategy for future development.

They are Dr. Denzil Douglas, St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister, now in his third term as his nationâ??s leader, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, head of government of St Vincent & the Grenadines, and P.J. Patterson, whose administration served longer than any other government in the countryâ??â??s history are scheduled to address the 13th annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference in St. Maarten, November 6-9th.

They are to be joined by Dame Billie Miller, until recently Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and one of the Caribbeanâ??s top policy markers on international trade for more than a dozen years.

They are to address at least 200 participants during different sessions of the conference whose theme is: A Region in Transition, a Strategy for Change. 

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We are looking forward to having in our country these distinguished public figures who helped to direct the affairs of some of the best-known Caribbean nations, said Sarah Wescot-Williams, St. Maarten leader of government. Dr. Douglas has spearheaded the Caribbeanâ??s drive to grapple with serious health challenges, especially the HIV/AIDS epidemic while Dr. Gonsalves is a leading voice and a key driving force behind regional integration and development. Mr. Patterson who has impeccable regional credentials was a major voice at home in Jamaica and in the region as a whole for economic and social advancement. Dame Billie is a widely respected public figure on global trade, gender issues and broad human development questions. Their presence will make a substantial difference to the conference.

While Dr. Douglas is to speak on a health and economic strategy for the Caribbean, his counterpart in St. Vincent & the Grenadines is expected to focus attention on the importance of Caribbean economic unity at a time of global economic turbulence. The former Jamaica Prime Minister is to deal with the challenges facing the island-nations and coastal states of the Caribbean and their strategy for change.

Dame Billie, who was among the Caribbean policy makers that negotiated the Economic Partnership Agreement with the Europe Union, is also to deal with the way forward for the Caribbean.

The financial turbulence on Wall Street, the global food crisis and the question marks now being placed on the international financial system at a time of high energy prices all require clear thinking and the Prime Ministers, Mr. Patterson and Dame Billie are eminently qualified and well-placed to provide it. We are fortunate that they have accepted our invitation to be at the conference and share their highly treasured ideas with us.

Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Congressman Gregory Meeks are expected to participate in the deliberations.

David Patterson, New Yorkâ??s Governor, and William "Bill" Thompson, New York City Comptroller are also to address the conference.