As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and United Nations (UN) meet in New York, USA, to discuss how the international body can better support the Region’s strategic goals, UN Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres, has lauded CARICOM’s leadership on many pressing global issues.
Speaking at the opening of the 9th Biennial CARICOM-UN General Meeting in New York on Thursday, 20 July, the UN SG said:
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the decision by the General Assembly to grant the Caribbean Community observer status. Since then, we have worked productively together and, today, our organisations are both undergoing processes of review and strategic planning to better face the challenges of a changing international reality. We are grateful to have benefited from your leadership on many pressing global issues.”
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has renewed his call for International Financial Institutions and development partners to review the criterion for access to concessionary development financing by small developing states.
He told the opening of the 9th Biennial CARICOM-United Nations (UN) General Meeting in New York on Thursday, 20 July, 2017, that access based on GDP per capita was not an adequate measurement since it did not take account of the inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Low Lying Coastal Developing States (SIDs).
CARICOM and the UN Systems held the two-day meeting to build on areas of cooperation in relation to the regional and global development agenda.
As the Community leverages this engagement, Ambassador LaRocque said small and vulnerable states were not a factor in shaping the global changes which impact them.
PRESIDENT David Granger served as Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from January to July, 2017 and during his tenure, he emphasised the economic, environmental and physical security of the citizens who make up the populations of member states. The Guyanese Head of State placed at the top of the regional agenda our right, as members of the Community, to citizenship, to food security and economic viability, a safe and secure existence and the protection of our territorial integrity.
Recognising that the small states that make up the Region must stand firmly together in the face of a constantly changing global environment, President Granger believes that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is the key to addressing these bread and butter issues for CARICOM citizens.
Foreign Policy Coordination
Effective foreign policy coordination is viewed as an important enabler for building resilience by effectively positioning CARICOM and the Member States in the global arena through collaboration, cooperation and strategic alliances, the promotion and protection of the interest of CARICOM and other small states to mitigate vulnerability and the leveraging of resources for regional priorities. Heads of Government of CARICOM continue to articulate and harmonise policies and programmes to safeguard and promote the Community’s interests within the global environment. President Granger has attached great importance to foreign policy coordination, even as individual states within the Community pursue their national interests. He believes that foreign policy coordination is one of the four pillars on which the Caribbean Community stands.
Within a current international environment that is replete with uncertainty and complexity, President Granger warned that the efficacy of the Community’s international advocacy could be impaired if coordinated regional positions are weakened.
“The Caribbean Community cannot cling to an obsolete model of insularity in light of these international changes. The mirage of 15 airlines, 15 cricket teams, 15 defence forces and 15 embassies in the capitals of the world might mesmerise a few sentimental romantics, but could deplete the treasuries of our states. The Community, challenged by the constantly changing international situation, must redouble its efforts to ensure a more safe society for its citizens, more stable economies for its countries, deeper solidarity and a more secure hemisphere,” the President said.
Speaking at the opening of the 38th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM at the Grenada Trade Centre in Grand Anse, the President of Guyana said the CSME is still the best vehicle to allow small states like those of CARICOM to compete in the global economy while promoting economic and social development.
CARICOM Heads of Governments, who began the first business session of their two-day meeting on Wednesday, were expected to examine the findings of a comprehensive review of the CSME. (more…)
“CARICOM is a community of the people we serve, not a club of officials and politicians. We need to cast our nets far and wide to engage the combined spirit and the collective brain-trust of the Region. We must blend various languages and accents in order to speak to the world with one voice about the aspirations of our people and the mission of CARICOM.” Dr. Hubert Minnis
Dr. The Hon. Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, has signalled his readiness to help deliver the mandates of CARICOM to provide better, healthier and more prosperous lives for the people of the Community.
In doing so, the newest Member of the Conference of Heads of Government also expressed confidence in organs and institutions of the Caribbean Community to deliver benefits of integration.