BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque yesterday said that regional leaders were meeting against a background of global uncertainty, including the increasing threats to multilateralism, the spread of tensions and volatility arising from unresolved conflicts, as well as the acceleration of the devastating effects of climate change.
issues demand that we act collectively to overcome the hurdles that confront
us. We face an increasingly hostile international environment which demands
more than ever that we come together to secure and promote our interests as a
community,” LaRocque told the opening ceremony of the two-day 31st
intersessional meeting of the Caribbean leaders.
said that it was important for the regional leaders to continue to show unity
within a changing global environment, praising the outgoing Caricom chairman,
St Lucia's Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, for “the sterling efforts you have
been making to promote and defend the region's interests, in particular, with
respect to the need for funding to enhance our resilience, climate change and
the challenges we face with blacklisting”.
that the scope of the agenda for the summit here “illustrates the breadth of
issues which we, as a community, must address to further consolidate our
integration and to position ourselves advantageously in an increasingly complex
and challenging global arena.
it is the imperative of making significant progress with the single market and
economy; securing our financial sector; safeguarding our fiscal sovereignty;
enhancing our technological capability and capacity; protecting the health and
security of our people; expanding our foreign outreach — it is with one goal in
mind. We have to build a resilient Caribbean Community,” the region's top
public servant told the opening ceremony.
that to do so necessitates an all-inclusive approach that embraces the skills,
talents and resources of the public and private sectors, labour, civil society,
youth, and indeed the entire society.
requires cooperation and assistance from our friends in the international
community. These combined and coordinated efforts will serve us in good stead,
as we strive to build that resilience to combat the challenges that we face,
most particularly, the existential threat of climate change.”
said that the decision by the regional leaders to engage regularly with the
private sector, labour and civil society “is an indication of our determination
to be more inclusive in our deliberations and to embed an all-society approach
to our development efforts”.
welcomed also the presence of the representatives of the Caricom Youth
Ambassador Corps, noting “how can we benefit from the CSME and successfully
conduct trade negotiations with third countries without the involvement of the
private sector and labour?
we maximize the use of technology for our development without the innovation
and dynamism of the youth? How can we combat the scourge of crime and violence
without the input of ideas and actions from civil society?”
that while the region must continue the fight to stave off the epidemic of
chronic non-communicable diseases, it must also be fully aware of the
coronavirus that “has been deadly, claiming more than a thousand lives globally
so far and proving difficult to contain”.
he was pleased so far that “there are no cases in Caricom” and that, while the
World Health Organization has deemed the risk to the Caribbean to be low,
regional countries had adopted a proactive approach and convened an emergency
meeting of health ministers and stakeholders to discuss the issue.
commend the collaboration that is taking place as another example of the
coordination that is required in addressing some of the challenges to our
integration process and to have a positive, sustained impact on the lives of
our citizens,” he added.