12 13 OPENING LINES ISSUES IMPACTING LIVES OF CARICOM CITIZENS GET ATTENTION AT COFAP MEETING IN BARBADOS C aribbean Community (CARICOM) finance and planning ministers met in Barbados recently, to advance a number of develop- ment initiatives geared towards enhancing the use and operation of the CARICOM Single Mar- ket and Economy (CSME). It was the sixth special meeting of the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) and was convened under the chairman- ship of Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Gaston Browne. “The deliberations of this Council, today, touch on issues that affect the lives of the citizens of CARICOM”, Secretary-General Irwin LaRoc- que told the meeting’s opening ceremony. “The agenda addresses the important role of deposit insurance in enhancing the financial safety net, preserving financial stability mechanisms, and the development of a regional integrated capital market. “It also includes establishing a credit reporting system and regulating the operations of credit bureaus to protect the rights of borrowers. That will facilitate access to credit for supplementing income and undertaking long term investments such as education and mortgages, as well as providing working capital for businesses. It will also provide for the cross-border exchange of credit information by member states,” the Secre- tary-General said. CARICOM heads of government, at their July Meeting in Jamaica, mandated the COFAP to final- ize a number of instruments by their meetings next year. These include an investment policy, an invest- ment code, an incentives regime, and an integrated capital market, beginning with model securities legislation. Browne told participants it was “imperative for us to pursue urgently the efforts to advance the necessary legal measures to complete those ini- tiatives. It is taking us far too long to finalize the instruments which have been before our Councils for many years.” Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, of Barbados, in welcoming remarks, also underscored the impor- tance of making progress on the matters before the Council. Mottley also hosted a meeting of the prime ministerial sub-committee on the CSME. CARICOM Heads will meet in a special session on the CSME in November in Trinidad and Tobago.