Saint Lucia’s new Ambassador to CARICOM Her Excellency Elma Gene Isaac presented her Letter of Accreditation on Tuesday 2 May, and reaffirmed her country’s commitment to advancing its obligations under the Single Market and the broader regional integration agenda, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in welcoming Ambassador Isaacs during the Accreditation Ceremony at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, apprised her of the key role of the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors into which she has been drafted. The establishment of the body, he noted, was a part of the Reform Process, given its functions to provide strategic advice and support to the Community Council and the Office of the Secretary-General.
Members of the Committee, he added, played a critical role in linking national and regional agendas and in facilitating the change process at the national level. They are responsible for identifying challenges to the implementation of decisions and making recommendations for resolutions. The Committee of Ambassadors was also important in implementing the CARICOM Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2019.
As the Secretary-General welcomed the new Ambassador, he lauded the contribution of her predecessor, Ambassador June Soomer, whose vast working experience within the Region, he said, enabled her to become the first female Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
Ambassador LaRocque commended Saint Lucia’s leadership in discharging its responsibility for Sustainable Development within the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet. This leadership, he said, helped the Community’s efforts in achieving, in the Paris Agreement, coordinated, balanced and integrated actions regarding the concerns of Small-Island Developing and low-lying coastal States (SIDS).
Within this context Ambassador Isaacs said:
“The Government of Saint Lucia will act expeditiously in order to meet the targets outlined in our Nationally Determined Contribution including significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a transition to renewable energy, increased energy efficiency and a shift to cleaner transport.”
She noted that it was imperative that the Region continued to work in concert to secure the gains achievable from the Paris Agreement and to promote attainment of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Regarding the CARICOM Single Market she said, “It bears no repeating that the Single Market is critical for our Member States.” Acknowledging Saint Lucia’s appreciation for a recent CSME review, she signalled her country’s readiness to address outstanding areas for action.
Against this backdrop, she said the issue of security must be addressed, even as mechanisms were engineered for the successful implementation of a single CARICOM space. The need to address “enhanced vulnerability which accompanies integration,” she said, remained a critical response to threats posed to national and regional security.
“Insularity, intolerance, violence, fear and brutality are not and ought never to become the way of life of our CARICOM people. There is no doubt that we must enhance our surveillance and intelligence capability; that we must create supportive partnerships with extra-regional states; that we must close ranks against perpetrators of terrorist activities,” Ambassador Isaacs stated.
“I urge, simultaneously, that we engage churches, societal groups, clubs and associations in our response and that we embrace and reaffirm, particularly in our young people and vulnerable members of society such core values as respect, equality, peace, justice and the right to life itself.”
There was an agreement, during the discussions between the Secretary-General and Ms Isaacs after the accreditation ceremony, that there was the need for a regional response to crime, commensurate with the new challenges to security within the Region.