Cooperation between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (UN) System will be further strengthened around several issues including climate change, security, human development, health and education at the Ninth CARICOM-United Nations General Meeting this week.
The two-day meeting begins 20 July 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It is happening against the backdrop of a changing international environment, replete with uncertainty and complexity, and requiring greater collaboration.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque is leading a delegation from the CARICOM Secretariat which also includes Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, and Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development. The Community’s representatives are also drawn from regional organisations including the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), University of the West Indies (UWI), and the University of Guyana (UG). (more…)
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.
Representatives from about 80 international and regional agencies participated in the conference.
During the session entitled ‘Promoting Digital Innovations for SDG 4: Global Partnerships’, Ms. Jennifer Britton, Deputy Programme Manager, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development (ICT4D) at the CARICOM Secretariat, said that both the Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy and the Single ICT space were considered transformative CARICOM inputs to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)4 as well as SDGs8 and 9. SDG 4 addresses quality education, while SDGs 8 and 9 focus on decent work and economic growth, and industry, innovation and infrastructure, respectively.
The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. – The University of the West Indies (The UWI) on 17 July, 2017, marked a change in its leadership, as it welcomed a new Chancellor, the highest officeholder in The UWI system. Trinidad and Tobago national, Mr. Robert Bermudez assumed duties as the 6th Chancellor of the University, having been appointed at the University Council’s annual business meeting on April 27, 2017 to succeed Sir George Alleyne.
According to the University’s Statutes and Ordinances, “the Chancellor shall preside at meetings of the Council [the highest governing body of the regional university] and any Convocation and shall have such powers and perform such duties as may be conferred upon the holder of the office of Chancellor by The UWI Charter or any Statute, Ordinance or Regulation.”
Chancellor Bermudez—as he will be called—has been an entrepreneur for over 40 years. He led the growth of his family-owned firm, to a regional business throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and has enjoyed a distinguished career in business, serving as either Chairman or Board Director for several corporate bodies in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. His vision for the University outlines a keen sense of the mission, effectiveness, relevance and interdependence of academia and the economy. His professional experience as a Caribbean-wide entrepreneur with business acumen garnered from across the region suggests that he will continue the outstanding tradition of Chancellorship at the University.
The University of the West Indies
Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: www.uwi.edu.
As preparations for CARIFESTA XIII intensify, visiting delegations are also stepping up their plans to go to Barbados. Over the past weekend, the local CARIFESTA Secretariat welcomed a group from Haiti who visited the island to solidify plans for the upcoming Festival.
Phillippe Dodard Directeur General, Ecole Nationale Des Arts (Director General of the National Arts School) and Stephanie St. Louis Directrice à la Creation Artistique et Litteraire Ministére de la Culture (Director of Creative Art and Literature in the Ministry of Culture) met with Festival Director Andrea Wells and other local officials to firm up the plans for their own delegation which is expected to be between 80 and 100 persons.
At the meeting, they learnt of the programming for the 13th iteration of the Festival, and looked at locations where their delegation will be performing. The large contingent, which is going to be staggered in its attendance, will have persons coming in time to participate in the Opening Ceremony. Another group will head to Barbados for the Closing Ceremony. (more…)