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Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 01:04 PM AST

Rowley expected to fly off to Grenada early in the morning

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is expected to fly off to Grenada early in the morning for a Caribbean Community (Caricom) heads of government summit in the neighboring Caribbean island.

He has called a press conference for 3 pm but has not given any specific reason, though the news media are under the impression the main subject will be his firing of Public Utilities Minister Marlene McDonald. As he may not want to appear to be ducking McDonald-related questions, while he possibly leaves Finance Minister Colm Imbert in charge, until his July 6 return, Rowley is expected to air out and exhaust the media's questions on the topic.

He knows Imbert is not exceptionally fond of McDonald, and is believed to not want to put Imbert in that awkward position of having to defend his (Rowley's) decision to bring her back. Unconfirmed reports around the time McDonald was first fired from Rowley's Cabinet suggested it was Imbert who set up McDonald's exposure, so he could bring in his (Imbert's) protege Randall Mitchell into the Housing Ministry, a ministry that has historically been allegedly used to curry political favour with key supporters.

Tomorrow, Education Minister Anthony Garcia is expected to get the lone privilege of riding on the backs and hard work of former primary school students and parents, as he, and possibly a few other ministers, rush to be photographed with the children who studied for and sat the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) - a quasi-placement examination.

As reported on Breaking News first, the results of the exam, will be released tomorrow. At least 20% of the children however, would not have earned their spots academically but would have been handpicked by principals of monied schools.


While the media will be thirsty for details on how and why Rowley fired McDonald, Rowley is expected to attempt to focus on the Grenada summit by noting that 2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the landmark Caricom Heads of Government Port of Spain Declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Rowley is also expected to note that Caricom will be chaired by Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, with whom he is expected to promise to hold talks on cross-border gas and oil fields, similar to ongoing talks with Venezuela.

The opening ceremony of the Caricom summit begins July 4 at the Grenada Trade Centre, with Heads of Government Business Sessions, July 5-6, at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort.

The summit will welcome its two newest members: The Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis (sworn into office May 11 following the 2017 General Election), and Haiti President Jovenel Moise (sworn in February, 2017).

This meeting is expected to include a presentation for approval by the Heads of a ‘Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy and Implementation Plan’ to address the development of skills for the 21st Century Caribbean economy and society.

The Heads of Government are also expected to deliberate on outstanding matters related to the implementation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) following the comprehensive review of the CSME's performance presented to them at February's Inter-Sessional Meeting.

They will also discuss progress made regarding implementation of the specified actions, agreed to 10 years ago under the 2007 Port-of-Spain Declaration, to stop the epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs); tourism in the region; and future trade Relations with the United Kingdom following the Brexit vote. Regional Security issues are also expected to receive attention.

Caricom is a grouping of 20 countries: 15 member states and five associate members, and is home to approximately 16 million people, 60% of whom are under the age of 30, stretching from The Bahamas in the north to Suriname and Guyana in South America.

CARICOM came into being on July 4, 1973 with the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas by Prime Ministers Errol Barrow of Barbados, Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Michael Manley of Jamaica, and Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Treaty was later revised in 2002 to allow for the eventual establishment of a single market and economy.

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