Caribbean Leaders Tackle Zika, Climate Change and Banking
The Caribbean is mobilizing to tackle the Zika virus in the tourism-dependent region. It was high on the agenda during the Caribbean Community, or Caricom summit, which ended Wednesday with an action plan.
The Belizean prime minister told an end of summit press conference that the goal is to rid the region of the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which transmits the virus.
“We have also agreed that we will designate the second week of May 2016 as Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week. Governments are being asked to look at an at least temporary reduction of import taxes on essential public health supplies, such as insecticide-treated bed nets, insect repellents and insecticides, for the duration of the epidemic in the region,” he said.
The leaders also adopted protocols on dealing with threats to the regional banking sector. Caricom countries' local banks are worried that they could lose access to international financial markets, as several international banks have signaled an unwillingness to continue their business with client banks in the region.
Leaders agreed to increase collaboration in the areas of crime and security. To this end, they signed a new protocol that incorporates the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of Caricom.
The leaders also agreed to approach access to funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation as a unit.