The Caribbean Open Trade Support (COTS) program was a component of the Caribbean Regional Program of USAID/Jamaica, designed to facilitate the transition of the region – in particular, Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica – to open trade, and to enable the countries to compete more successfully and sustainably in the global economy. Among other business enabling activities, the program supported the streamlining of land registration and administration procedures and capacity strengthening of land administration staff.
COTS completed a number of major activities during its first full quarter of contract implementation. Highlights include:
- Fielding of the long term implementation team;
- Establishing offices in Antigua and Dominica;
- Submitting the Draft First Year Work Plan to USAID;
- Submitting the Public Information, Public Outreach and Media Plan;
- Submitting the draft
- Presenting activities from the Draft First Year Work Plan to Partners Working
Group members in Antigua/Barbuda and Dominica;
- Completing bid documents for Business Service Providers for Antigua and
- Submitting the COTS Draft Grants Manual; and
- Implementing activities in all of the COTS components.
As part of the work planning and start up process, Chemonics fielded 23 short term people, in addition to the long term team, between early October and early November. This included home office assistance to establish temporary office space, open bank accounts, and establish telephone and internet communications. Short term technical people were fielded to participate in the rapid appraisal process, meeting with people in Antigua, Dominica, Barbados, and St. Lucia, including representatives from international and regional organizations. This culminated with preparing the work plan, the draft of which was submitted on November 15.
December also marked the completion of COTS’ first subcontract with Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA), which provided financial support for their 29th annual regional conference.
In early December, the USG sent Diplomatic Notes to the respective counterpart governments (Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica). COTS will begin the registration process in both countries in early January.
COTS hired an Office Manager for the Dominica office, and an Office Manager, Administrative Assistant and Project Accountant for the Antigua office.
In early December Chemonics received the remaining approvals for long term TCN team member Earle Baccus, who will join the team in January 2006. USAID also provided approvals for Pol Klein, the new ‘Doing Business Component’ Team Leader who will join the team in January, and for Terence Slywka, who will replace Sutherland Miller III in mid-February as the Administrative Reform Specialist.
Per USAID’s request shortly after contract award, Chemonics is in the process of finalizing arrangements with a Risk Reduction specialist to work three-quarter time on COTS. Chemonics will work with USAID to review existing LOE and budget allocations in order to accommodate this position.