Your Column Here – The Shock Doctrine in Santa Monica

first_imgHomeOpinionColumnsYour Column Here – The Shock Doctrine in Santa Monica May. 01, 2020 at 6:00 amColumnsFeaturedNewsYour Column HereYour Column Here – The Shock Doctrine in Santa MonicaGuest Author1 year agobudgetcity councildoctrineyour column hereSanta Monica Airport Victor FrescoRecently, pro-development group Santa Monica Forward sent a letter to our City Council suggesting what they would like the City to do in response to our budget crisis.Reading it we were reminded of Naomi Klein’s seminal work, The Shock Doctrine, wherein Ms. Klein posits that crises are often used as tools by those with power to push through agendas they had long sought but were unable to achieve through democratic means. A crisis provides the disruption and turmoil powerful interests need to accomplish long sought but unpopular goals.Santa Monica Forward demonstrates a perfect example of this as they attempt to gut our city’s development standards by using our current crisis as an excuse to dispense with long-established zoning regulations and other community protections.Their proposals can be summed up in two problematic thoughts: Build more. Tax more.Here is why these are bad ideas:• Development revenues, even in times of hyper-development here in Santa Monica, have not offset increased costs in city services, staff, pension obligations or other essential services. Over the past 25 years residents increasingly have shouldered the burden of additional property and sales taxes and fees – to support our schools, affordable housing, water and sanitation, parking and more. And the more the City has built, the more residents’ share of taxes has increased. There is no reason to believe, other than wanting it to be so, that more development will lead to solving our City’s current financial problems;• New development, as a part of the approval process, must do more than promise future revenues; it must also properly analyze all of the true costs to the City once projects are built, including the additional city and essential services to support those projects, and the related impacts on our environment. Without knowing both sides of the equation, benefits AND costs, revenue projections alone are meaningless;• We now have the highest sales taxes in the State. Residents and businesses struggling to survive are not able to shoulder more. It’s the City’s obligation to demonstrate sound fiscal responsibility, starting with a zero-based budget that upholds essential services like police and fire, sanitation, water, streets, libraries, and homeless resources, and then proposes fair cuts to non-essential services in a public and transparent process;• A paradigm shift is underway as to key assumptions the City has used to drive its planning process. Instead of trying to build massive amounts of new housing in Santa Monica for a commuting workforce, City planners should acknowledge that current telecommuting throughout different industries may be changing the workplace significantly, generating major benefits for employees, employers and the planet (a better work/life balance with fewer hours commuting, equal or greater worker productivity, and much reduced vehicle emissions.) This could force urban cities throughout the state to think differently about where to place new housing and density. It is certainly too soon to blindly call for increased development;• Another key planning assumption that needs to be analyzed is the realistic amount of sustainable retail and restaurant businesses in the coming years, given a possible shift to telecommuting, increasing online sales, and new social distancing requirements for restaurants that very well may force many of them out of business. Planning requirements for ground-floor retail in every new development may not work now;• The pandemic also has shown us that because of social distancing, residents need MORE open space and park space, as well as buildings designed with more open space, not less space and greater density;• Sustainable building requirements, especially incentivizing adaptive reuse of existing buildings like the former Papermate site, are far superior to destroying existing buildings to accommodate large new buildings that use raw materials and generate lasting and greater occupancy impacts, including water, electricity, sewage, traffic gridlock and pollution. A planning maxim is “the greenest building is the one already built.”Even before the current, massive projected fiscal shortfalls resulting from this ongoing pandemic, Santa Monica was grappling with growing budget problems and projected deficits due to declining revenues from key sources the City relied upon, including reduced hotel occupancy bed taxes, and reduced retail spending sales taxes and fees, coupled with growing and unsustainable pension fund requirements. The way for Santa Monica to truly move forward is to get a handle on the spending side of the equation, by taking a scrupulous look at the increased staffing our city carries compared to similarly sized Southern California cities.This crisis should not be used as an excuse to push through even more development and greater density, and to do it with even less neighborhood input. Santa Monica’s character must NOT be for sale to the highest bidder to build greater density buildings that are unsustainable, and that end up burdening our city and our environmental resources, inevitably leading to greater taxes for residents.Residents are the heart of our city. They don’t lobby Council for money or personal gain or for their own pet projects. Residents use their voices to tell you what the city cannot lose and what matters, never more so than in the current, strange new world order. We hope they have a seat at the table.Tags :budgetcity councildoctrineyour column hereshare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentCalifornia governor orders Orange County beaches to close164 coronavirus cases confirmed in Santa Monica, death toll remains at 9You Might Also LikeFeaturedNewsBobadilla rejects Santa Monica City Manager positionMatthew Hall6 hours agoColumnsOpinionYour Column HereBring Back Library ServicesGuest Author12 hours agoNewsCouncil picks new City ManagerBrennon Dixson17 hours agoFeaturedNewsProtesting parents and Snapchat remain in disagreement over child protection policiesClara Harter17 hours agoFeaturedNewsDowntown grocery to become mixed use developmenteditor17 hours agoNewsBruised but unbowed, meme stock investors are back for moreAssociated Press17 hours agolast_img read more

Kevin Harvick escapes in overtime, lands third Brickyard victory

first_imgIn an action-filled afternoon of NASCAR Cup Series racing in Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records, Kevin Harvick held off the field in a overtime sprint to the finish line to earn his fourth victory of the season, and his second consecutive and third overall win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.To celebrate the big victory, Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team climbed the front grandstand fence – reminiscent of the fence celebration his team owner, Indiana native and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart did during his wins in the race in 2005 and 2007.RELATED: Official race results | Stage recapsSHOP: Harvick gearAlthough Harvick led a race-best 68 of the 161 laps, he and Denny Hamlin put on a legitimate high-speed duel to decide this victory. While leading Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota suffered a blown tire sending the car hard into the Turn 1 wall with only seven laps remaining – ending Hamlin’s impressive run.“We knew he [Hamlin] was going to be really close on tires and [crew chief] Rodney [Childers} told me on the radio, he said ‘just make sure you keep the pressure on him,” Harvick said. “That was all the pressure I could give.”With Hamlin out, Harvick assumed the lead for the fourth time on the day and was next tasked with holding off 48-year old former series champion, Chip Ganassi Racing driver Matt Kenseth, on a restart with two laps remaining. A great jump on the ensuing start put Harvick back out front and ultimately to a 0.743-second victory.Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola finished third followed by Brad Keselowski and Sunoco rookie Cole Custer.Two-time Indianapolis winner and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch finished sixth followed by Michael McDowell, rookie Tyler Reddick, Bubba Wallace and Joey Logano. It was an especially impressive outing by the series rookies – with four of the six finishing among the top 15. Christopher Bell and John Hunter Nemechek were 12th and 15th, respectively.Hamlin, who took the lead on the race’s final round of pit stops, ultimately finished 28th following his incident.“It’s tough, I hate it for the FedEx team [No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team],” Hamlin said post-race. “We did what we needed to do and it just didn’t work out for us today. Had a fast car obviously. Proud of the whole FedEx Toyota team. We’ve been so good lately. Feel like I’m doing all I can, in these big races. A lot things like this don’t go my way all the time, but we’re still going to go next week and try to win the next one. Do all we can.”RELATED: Denny Hamlin wrecks late at Indianapolis And, he acknowledged of the competition with Harvick, “It’s been a great battle, and those guys are great competitors. Last few weeks have been kind of a head-to-head with me and him. Probably not another guy I’d rather battle with each and every week. Congrats to them and that team. We had two very close and equal cars but they got it today.”One of the weekend’s biggest stories involved seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, a four-time Brickyard 400 winner, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 virus on Friday and had to sit the race out.NASCAR Xfinity Series perennial championship contender Justin Allgaier was tabbed to drive Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet – the first time in Johnson’s legendary career that someone else drove his car in a NASCAR Cup Series race. Allgaier had to start from the rear of the Indianapolis grid and was steadily making his way forward when he was collected in the pit road melee on Lap 15 – a chain-reaction accident involving several cars. The No. 48 Chevrolet suffered too much damage to continue and Allgaier was officially scored 37th in the 40-car field.“Once the wreck started happening in front of us and we all got bottled up there, one car after another was getting run into,” Allgaier said. “Just a shame. I hate it for these guys on this Ally 48. They’ve done such a good job, they prepared so well for the circumstances. Obviously our hearts and our thoughts are with Jimmie right now and his family. That’s the most important piece of all this, getting him back to the race track soon. I wanted to do well for them today and it’s just disappointing to be standing here talking to you [reporters] unfortunately. But we’ll go on.“I don’t know what next week looks like yet. But we’ll run the Xfinity Series race and have a good shot at it. Disappointing way to end the Brickyard 400.”MORE: Justin Allgaier exits early at BrickyardZach Price, a rear tire changer for Ryan Blaney, was hit by a car on pit road while servicing Blaney’s No. 12 Ford during the multi-car incident. The race was red-flagged for an ambulance to respond on pit road and Price – who smiled and waved to team members as he was loaded into the ambulance – was transported, treated and released from Indiana University Methodist Hospital. Team Penske said he will travel back to North Carolina with the team for further evaluation.Inspection in the NASCAR garage yielded no issues post-race.The NASCAR Cup Series’ next race is scheduled Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Kentucky Speedway.Contributing: Staff reportslast_img read more

Gov’t Mule’s New Concert Film, ‘Bring On The Music’, Showcases Band At Peak Levels [Review]

first_imgGov’t Mule‘s forthcoming concert film, Bring On The Music – Live From The Capitol Theatre, showcases the quartet’s current state as one of rock music’s most enduring acts over the last quarter century. Led by guitarist and singer Warren Haynes (Allman Bros. Band, The Dead) along with drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist/guitarist Danny Louis, and bassist Jorgen Carlsson, the film (and accompanying live album) launches viewers into a front-row seat to the band’s April 2018 performances at the historic Capitol Theatre.While there’s plenty to be said and debated about concert films of the past, Danny Clinch‘s film steps into the conversation while holding its own as an exciting and informative piece of work showcasing a band at its collaborative peak.The film opens with black-and-white footage of Haynes plugging into a small amplifier and noodling away on his guitar in a very casual and intimate setting somewhere at “The Cap,” before static and slightly-chaotic imagery fills the screen to match the whirlwind of psychedelic walk-out music being played as the band takes the stage.Related: Gov’t Mule Shares Official Trailer For ‘Bring On The Music’ Capitol Theatre Concert Film [Watch]Songs played throughout the two 2018 shows were selected from the tracklisting of every studio album release by Mule throughout their 25-year career, including “Traveling Tune”, “Drawn That Way”, “Revolution Come, Revolution Go”, and “Time To Confess”. The band’s performances of “Mule” and “Bring On The Music” probably do the best job of showcasing the band’s communal jamming chemistry, in addition to some wonderful solo work from Haynes. The film could easily be considered a virtual resume for Haynes, who is the subject of most B-roll interview footage between song performances. The film’s focus on Haynes also enables those who are not very educated on Mule’s history (like this writer) to join the party and appreciate Haynes’ lifelong contributions to the jam scene in a conversation typically dominated by the names Anastasio and Garcia.Clinch and his team of nine camera operators manages to capture the raw, nearly-untamable energy being unleashed by the four musicians over the two nights of high-powered rock and roll. The film’s production even utilized a sizeable crane to capture aerial and on-stage point-of-view angles throughout the two nights–a strategy not often utilized during performances but certainly worth the effort as viewers are treated to shots rarely seen in past concert films. In addition to capturing shots of the performances from nearly every angle imaginable inside the venue, Clinch also takes viewers into the busy rehearsal rooms of The Capitol Theatre and through a digital photo book of memories from both Warren and Gov’t Mule’s accomplished roles as key players within America’s ongoing rock and roll story.Fans hoping for a glamourized telling of Gov’t Mule in the film can stay home, as this film doesn’t waste any precious minutes attempting to hyperbolize rock stars. Rather, it presents the band in their own words and performances as what they really are–a fantastic meat-and-potatoes rock act which represents a long-lost era of bands who once made careers out of playing cigarette smoke and beer-soaked venues in small towns most Americans have never heard of, while keeping the blue-collar spirit of rock and roll alive in 2019.Bring On The Music does a wonderful job in showcasing two wonderful Gov’t Mule performances at the peak of its journey–a well-edited treat for fans who miss the good ‘ol days of rock and roll without the bullshit.The Bring On The Music – Live at The Capitol Theatre live album is available now in various configurations: the 2 CD-set, 2 separate double-vinyl packages, and digital (featuring audio from the film).The film will be available as part of a 2 CD/2 DVD deluxe package (featuring exclusive audio not in the film) and on Blu-ray starting July 19th via Provogue / Mascot Label Group. Click here to order your copy.last_img read more

1st Annual Made in Vermont Marketplace, this weekend, April 12-13

first_imgThe first annual Made in Vermont Marketplace will take place this weekend, April 12th & 13th, at the Blue Pavilion Building at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. This the only trade show in Vermont that showcases the wide variety of quality products made right here in the Green Mountains. The show will feature wood producers, specialty food products, Vermont’s finest spirits and so much more. This is your opportunity to come and enjoy browsing, tasting and purchasing products all under one roof. You will be able to meet and talk with each artisan, maker and manufacturer of these fine goods. With over 75 exhibits, you will discover products you did not know existed in Vermont. SEE LIST OF EXHIBITORS BELOW.The Made in Vermont Marketplace is open Saturday April 12th from 9 am until 6 pm and Sunday April 13th from 10 am until 4 pm.There will be raffle prizes given away every hour and a Vermont Teddy Bear giveaway as well. Vermont Teddy Bear will also be raffling off a giant Teddy Bear at the end of the show so don’t forget to fill out a raffle ticket. You do not have to be present to win the giant Teddy. Champlain Chocolates, our ticket sponsor, will be giving away one free coffee at their new restaurant in Burlington, the South End Kitchen on Pine Street. The coupon for the free coffee is on the back of each ticket. Parking is free thanks to our parking sponsor, Co-operative Insurance Companies of is external)Look Who Will Be Exhibiting! Bertek Systems, Inc.Birds in Wood, LLCBlake Hill PreservesBoyden Farm, LLCButterworks FarmCabot Creamery CooperativeCaledonia SpiritsChamplain OrchardsChimney ScrubberCobb Hill Frozen Yogurt LLPCommonwealth DairyCo-operative Insurance CompaniesCreative Labels of VermontCurve Trends MarketingEden Ice Cider CompanyExactBuiltElm Brook FarmFreedom FoodsFresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & WineryGrafton Village Cheese Co.Green Village SoapGrey Owl DesignGringo Jack’sHall Home Place Ice CIderHealthy Paws Barkery, LLCImageTek LabelsJed’s Maple ProductsJohnson Woolen MillsKimball Brook FarmMarla McQuistonMy Brigadeiro, LLCNorth Branch VineyardsSienna Fontaine IllustrationSignaramaSinclair MillworksSmugglers’ Notch DistillerySnow Farm VineyardSumptuous Syrups of VermontSweet Basil CardsThe Gourmet GalThird GenerationTrue North Granola, LLCVEDA/ VACC – Vermont Economic Development Authority/ Vermont Agricultural Credit CorporationVermont CreameryVermont DistillersVermont Drying RacksVermont PhotoInkjetVermont Rolling PinsVermont Smoke and CureVermont SpiritsVermont Teddy BearVermont Trophy & EngravingVermont Verde Antique LLCVERY TEMPTING COMPANIES LLCVT Agency of Agriculture, Food & MarketsVT Agency of Commerce and Community DevelopmentWCAX-TV3WhistlePig Straight Rye WhiskeyWoodchuck Hard Cider CompanyWozz! Kitchen Creationslast_img read more

Energy Co-op earns Efficiency Vermont’s ‘Best of the Best’ award

first_imgEnergy Co-op of Vermont,Vermont Business Magazine Recent energy upgrades to a 1950’s cape-style home in Burlington have not only greatly improved the home’s comfort and reduced its energy costs but have also earned the Energy Co-op of Vermont a 2018 “Best of the Best” Award from Efficiency Vermont. The Moore’s home in Burlington’s New North End was cold and drafty, particularly in the upstairs areas due to lack of insulation. Following an energy audit, working with a limited budget, Energy Co-op recommended installing improved ventilation in the bathroom plus some strategically placed foam insulation in the attic and knee walls.”We’re really proud of Paul Fleckenstein and our Efficiency Services team,” says Brian Gray, general manager of the Energy Co-op, “This project demonstrates that even simple, affordable upgrades can make a big difference.”Paul Fleckenstein says, “By solving large air leaks and improperly installed insulation we were able to tighten the house up to make it more comfortable and greatly improve indoor air quality. These improvements delivered a 16% reduction in overall energy use for the homeowner.”The Building Performance & Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® awards recognize excellence in energy efficiency retrofit projects by participating contractors in Efficiency Vermont’s Building Performance and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs. Awards are given out annually at the Better Buildings by Design Conference.About the Energy Co-op of Vermont Energy Co-op of Vermont is a member-owned, not-for-profit, fuel services and energy efficiency cooperative located in Colchester, Vermont. The Co-op opened for business in 2001 and serves over 2,000 members and customers in Northwestern and Central Vermont with deliveries of heating oil, kerosene and made-in-Vermont wood pellets. The Co-op also offers energy audits, weatherization services and maintenance, repair and installation of high-efficiency heating equipment such as furnaces, boilers and heat pumps.Source: February 20, 2018….Colchester, Vermont……Energy Co-op of Vermontlast_img read more

Brinshore gets another chance at Mission senior apartments; city also taking new offers for land

first_imgThe lot owned by the city has now been cleared of the Neff building.The developers hoping to bring a new affordable senior apartment project to the western edge of Mission want another chance to make it happen. But they might have to match other proposals for the city-owned land.Earlier this spring, Brinshore Development was turned down for state low income housing tax credits for the second year. In a new agreement, which could head for city council approval later this month, the city would extend the contract with Brinshore for the purchase of the old Neff Printing building that is owned by the city along Martway near Panera. However, between now and Nov. 15, the city can entertain other offers to purchase the property under the new proposal.Brinshore would be notified of any acceptable offer and have a chance to match it and close on the property. After Nov. 15, Brinshore would have exclusive rights on the property so they can make another application for tax credits in the 2016 cycle. The developers have said the project viability depends on receiving the tax credits and they are optimistic that a third application can be successful based on feedback from the state.Brinshore said it is willing to put up another non-refundable deposit of $22,500 in order to secure the contract. Brinshore has previously put up non-refundable money to help with the demolition of the building, which was torn down this summer.last_img read more

‘I felt so alive’: One man’s inspirational story of advance voting in Johnson County

first_imgThe pure, unadulterated joy of advance voting is difficult to convey in words.Life is a long and arduous journey.But every now and again, if we’re lucky, the veil between the mundane and the sublime is lifted, perhaps for just a fleeting moment, and we get to experience the true essence of being, a oneness among all things.Today was one of those days for me. Because I cast my ballot in the primary elections.I took advantage of Johnson County’s in-person advance voting, WHICH STARTED TODAY AND WILL RUN THROUGH EARLY AUGUST, at the Johnson County Northeast Offices, 6000 Lamar.Of course, I could have voted in advance at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf; the Johnson County Election Office, 2101 East Kansas City Road; or one of three other advance voting sites. Honestly, the most difficult part of the whole thing was choosing which conveniently located advance voting site I would use — it’s an embarrassment of convenience riches!I arrived at 10:01 a.m. — precisely one minute after advance voting operations opened (10 a.m., that is. Advance voting is offered from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, it’s offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) — to find a line of about 10 people ahead of me.“No,” I said to myself. “Dear god above no. This can’t be happening. WHY!?!!?!”But then the line started moving very quickly. And within about two minutes I was at my voting machine. So the line turned out not to be a big deal!“Wow,” I said. “I guess the message to anyone who is concerned about long lines at advance voting sites is that it’s really not worth worrying about.”This is the first election cycle that the Johnson County Election Office is using its new voting machines, which give voters the option of seeing their votes printed on a paper ballot before the ballot is cast. Although I could not read the barcodes on the ballot, I did see a plain text summary of my selections. Which was nice.I reinserted the card into the machine and clicked on the button to finish casting my ballot.It’s hard to describe the rush I felt participating in America’s electoral representative democracy. The births of my children are the closest I can come. And I’m not even sure that fully does it justice.Anyway, if you’re interested in experiencing what it’s like to look into the face of the divine, I’d encourage you to look into advance voting in Johnson County as well!last_img read more

High Schoolers Are Less Stressed When You Remind Them People Eventually Stop Being High Schoolers

first_imgNew York Magazine:Looking back to high school can be a little bit like looking at your past through one of those fun-house mirrors. When I compare my high-school problems to my current, real-life problems, I’m struck by how much everything is inverted: In hindsight, the issues that my 16-year-old self had to deal with were all pretty small potatoes, but everything just felt so much bigger.High school’s stressful like that — it’s a time characterized by a lopsided ratio of drama to perspective, with too much of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. But a study published last month in Psychological Science and recently highlighted by the New York Times hit on a simple but strikingly effective way to ease teens’ stress: Just adjust that ratio. Or, to be more specific, remind them that people are capable of change — that high schoolers, in other words, won’t be high schoolers forever.Read the whole story: New York Magazinelast_img read more

French swap

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first_img The Bahamas was represented by His Excellency Reuben Rahming, Ambassador of The Bahamas to CARICOM, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines by Ms. Sandy Peters-Phillips, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce. CARICOM Foreign Ministers highlighted the recent developments in the relations between CARICOM and Africa underpinned by reciprocal official visits of CARICOM Prime Ministers and African Presidents which have brought the two regions closer. They expressed regret over the postponement of the proposed CARICOM-African Union Summit in June 2020 owing to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Initiatives for enhancing relations between the Community and Africa were also explored. In this regard, the COFCOR welcomed the provision of office space for CARICOM diplomatic representation in Nairobi by Kenya. The establishment of an Africa Group-CARICOM Caucus (AfCAR) Collaboration Initiative at the United Nations, New York, was welcomed and endorsed. Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) The discussions on candidatures are an important facet of CARICOM foreign policy coordination. The COFCOR reiterated the importance of CARICOM’s participation in international decision and policy-making bodies, including through the pursuit of increased CARICOM representation in these organisations.  In this regard, Ministers considered and endorsed a number of CARICOM candidatures to the United Nations (UN) and other international and regional organisations. They also deliberated on the requests from Third Countries for CARICOM’s endorsement of their candidates to these bodies. Haiti’s Foreign Minister calls for collective action amidst… 11 May 2020 Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… The COFCOR reiterated its support for the crucial role of the OAS in the process aimed at resolving the dispute, arising from Guatemala’s claims on Belize, and called on the international community to continue supporting the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone. Ministers noted that Guyana was to have presented its case in oral pleadings scheduled for the week of 23 March 2020 as to why the ICJ was properly vested with jurisdiction by the United Nations Secretary-General under the Geneva Agreement 1966 for a final resolution to the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. Ministers further noted that the oral pleadings had to be postponed by the Court due to the global pandemic caused by COVID -19. Organisation of American States (OAS) Nov 12, 2019 Ministers reiterated the Community’s full support for the judicial process that is intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the long-standing controversy between the two countries. They further reiterated their firm and unswerving support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana. In accordance with its traditions, the COFCOR engaged with the Foreign Ministers of two third states – Norway and Canada. The engagements provided the opportunity to exchange views on matters of mutual interest and for the COFCOR to express appreciation for the supportive voice and cooperation assistance provided by both states over the years. Foreign Ministers also voiced their deep concern over the multifaceted impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They sought the continued advocacy of these partners in support of CARICOM’s representation to the international financial policymaking bodies to review their eligibility criteria which bar access to development assistance, grants and concessional financing. These financial resources would be invaluable at this moment of deep economic recession to fight the pandemic and underwrite recovery. They highlighted various challenges facing the Community, which have been compounded by the multi-faceted negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They underscored the critical role of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations as the forum in which CARICOM Ministers of Foreign Affairs have the opportunity to jointly reflect and deliberate on regional, hemispheric and international matters of importance to the Community, and to agree on coordinated foreign policy positions.  They all spoke of the necessity to be unified as a region on matters of critical importance, in particular in response to the global pandemic and the economic devastation that has ensued. In this regard, they paid tribute to the regional institutions – the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) – and the front-line workers fighting the pandemic. The speeches can be accessed at COFCOR ENGAGEMENT WITH THIRD STATES MULTILATERAL AND HEMISPHERIC RELATIONS: CARICOM Foreign Ministers commended the coordination activities taking place within the ambit of the ACS, in particular the revival of inter-Secretariat meetings, and the coordination meetings addressing COVID-19. They also noted the coming changes of leadership at the organisation which brings together the countries of the Greater Caribbean, another important link to Central and Latin America. CARICOM Stakeholders review Curriculum of Regional Center… You may be interested in… Pending a resolution of the case before the ICJ, the COFCOR urged Belize, Guatemala and the OAS to respect and implement fully the Confidence Building Measures as agreed under their Framework Agreement of 2005.  They further called on both countries and the OAS to redouble their efforts to engage in the design and development of a mechanism of cooperation for the Sarstoon River, which remains outstanding. CARICOM Foreign Ministers meet ahead of Sixth CARICOM-Cuba… The COFCOR reaffirmed its unwavering support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Belize. Guyana-Venezuela Controversy Belize – Guatemala Dispute Appreciation was also expressed to international development partners which have provided support in various forms to the Community in its fight against the virus.   OPENING CEREMONY Foreign Ministers made reference to the deepening of relations with Latin America and noted the recent re-energising of ties with several Latin American countries which had become dormant over time. They acknowledged the need for the wider region to share experiences and best practices in response to the pandemic and the resulting coordination meetings under the umbrella of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).  Foreign Ministers acknowledged the need for the Community to be more strategic in its engagements with Latin America. The Twenty-Third Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held virtually on the 7-8 May 2020, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Republic of Haiti. Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Regional Foreign Ministers meet to coordinate CARICOM’s… Particular attention was paid to developments, such as BREXIT and the negotiation of the successor to the Cotonou Agreement, which are having a profound impact on the nature of existing relationships, hence the focus on relations with the UK in its new dispensation and the European Union (EU). The COFCOR received an update on the issues of interest to the Community before the OAS.  Ministers underlined the critical importance of the development pillar of the organisation at this point in time and stressed the need for CARICOM to leverage its influence at the OAS by speaking with one voice. Opening Remarks were delivered by the Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, the Honourable C. Peter David, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour of Grenada, outgoing Chair of the COFCOR, and His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Republic of Haiti and Chair of the COFCOR.center_img The COFCOR commended the re-energising of CELAC since the assumption of the Presidency Pro Tempore (PPT) for 2020 by Mexico and expressed satisfaction with the CELAC technical meetings of experts on the COVID-19 pandemic and the convening of the Ministerial Meeting with China. Ministers renewed their commitment to the activities of this integration process which has helped to build bridges between the Region and Latin America. Foreign Ministers underscored the importance of maintaining a coordinated position in multilateral fora on sensitive social issues which have become quite contentious during discussions at the UN.  They agreed on the importance of determining CARICOM’s core positions on these issues. The Council for Foreign and Community Relations reviewed its relations with both its traditional and more recent partners and discussed ways and means by which these relations could further be strengthened.   The COFCOR also reflected on the need to engage new partners with a view to promoting an appreciation of the Community’s interests and catalyzing new development platforms. SYMBOL OF CARICOM The COFCOR received an update on the recent developments between Belize and Guatemala. The COFCOR welcomed the submission of the case arising from Guatemala’s claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final and definitive resolution, in accordance with the Special Agreement to Submit Guatemala’s Claim to the ICJ. They further noted that the ICJ had extended the time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings. The COFCOR rejected the arbitrary and unilateral imposition of blacklisting by the EU on several Member States of the Community. They expressed concern over the constant shifting of goal posts, the continued lack of prior consultation or notification and the unwillingness to take into account the efforts at compliance made by CARICOM Member States. The measure was viewed as detrimental to the economies of the affected states which are already in recession. The Community called on the EU to take into consideration the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic wellbeing of the small states of CARICOM in their policy-making. United Nations (UN) BILATERAL RELATIONS FINDING COMMONALITY ON SENSITIVE SOCIAL ISSUES Foreign Ministers were called upon to support the advocacy efforts initiated by the Chairperson of CARICOM outlining the Community’s position vis-à-vis accessing assistance to meet the fiscal challenges arising from the pandemic. STRENGTHENING CARICOM ELECTION OBSERVATION Ministers regretted the understandable postponement of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which was due to be held in Rwanda in June 2020. The Community was looking forward to addressing issues of interest and concern with their Commonwealth counterparts. This forum has always been viewed as a valuable opportunity for exchanging views with members of the G7 and G20 which play an influential role in shaping global economic and financial affairs. This would have been opportune, given the present need for the support required by CARICOM states whose economies have been decimated by the pandemic. This forum is also of significance because of the importance it has ascribed traditionally to the situation of small states. May 8, 2020 In view of the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the conduct of international relations and given that a global response is indispensable to confront global challenges, the COFCOR exchanged views on the best options available to treat with the fallout from the pandemic. They noted the continuing erosion of multilateralism as many States have adopted a “country-first” posture in reaction to the pandemic. They however acknowledged that initiatives had been taken to offset the lack of global leadership and expressed appreciation for those of the UN Secretary General, addressing the unique challenges of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). They also lauded the EU’s efforts to mobilise financial support for global research into the novel coronavirus through the hosting of the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Conference held virtually on 4 May 2020 and commended the vital role played by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the international fight against the pandemic. COMMUNIQUÉ – Twenty-Second Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), St. George’s, Grenada, 13-14 May 2019The Twenty-Second Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened in St. George’s, Grenada on the 13-14 May 2019, under the Chairmanship of the Honourable C. Peter David, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour of Grenada. The COFCOR was attended by the…May 14, 2019In “CARICOM”COMMUNIQUE – 20th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE TWENTIETH MEETING OF THE COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS (COFCOR), BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS:   18-19 MAY 2017   The Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) took place in Bridgetown, Barbados on 18-19 May 2017,…May 23, 2017In “Barbados”Haiti’s Foreign Minister calls for collective action amidst coronavirus pandemicMinister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, has urged his regional counterparts to take collective action as far as possible in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Joseph chaired the 23rd Meeting of CARICOM’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) which…May 8, 2020In “CARICOM”Share this on WhatsApp CANDIDATURES BLACKLISTING The COFCOR agreed that the Community should continue to highlight the importance of the Caribbean Sea Initiative and the Caribbean Sea Commission and stressed the need for continued engagement and active participation in the work of the ACS. With the Seventh CARICOM-Cuba Summit scheduled to be held in Cuba in December 2020, the COFCOR received an update on the status of relations. The COFCOR paid tribute to the Government and People of Cuba for the provision of public health personnel to boost the Region’s limited capacity in the face of the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic despite the country’s own challenges aggravated by enhanced US sanctions.  Foreign Ministers called for an immediate and unconditional lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba. CARICOM Foreign Ministers received an update on the most recent developments between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The COFCOR considered and agreed, in principle, to a proposal for the CARICOM Standard, the symbol of the Caribbean Community, to be displayed along with the national flag at all the Diplomatic and Consular Offices of CARICOM Member States. The COFCOR expressed its appreciation to Dr June Soomer for the invaluable work she has done during her tenure as Secretary-General which ends in July of this year. Jun 13, 2019 The COFCOR was attended by the Honourable E. P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs,Immigration and Trade of Antigua and Barbuda, Senator Dr. the Honourable Jerome Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, the Honourable Wilfred P. Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Dr. the Honourable Kenneth Darroux, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations of Dominica, the Honourable Peter David, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Grenada, Dr. the Honourable Karen Cummings, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Haiti, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, the Honourable Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, Minister of External Affairs, Saint Lucia,Her Excellency Yildiz Pollack-Beigle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname and Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago. Commonwealth The COFCOR recognised the importance of CARICOM Election Observation Missions (CEOMS) in promoting and maintaining the Community’s democratic values. They noted the challenges that currently exist in assembling missions and examined ways in which the process could be improved. The COFCOR agreed that the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers should be adopted. ***** May 8, 2020 Foreign Ministers took note of the long-term implications of COVID-19 for the economies of Small Island Developing and Low-Lying States and the context in which these implications should be addressed through important UN initiatives such as the SAMOA Pathway, Financing for Development and the realisation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). They commended the attention being paid by the UN Secretary General and UN agencies such as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to the issues of indebtedness and access to concessional financing of SIDS and Middle Income Countries which have become obstacles to the development of these countries as well as to their post-pandemic recovery, a situation exacerbated by the economic and financial ravages of the pandemic. COMMUNIQUÉ BORDER ISSUESlast_img read more