This was the charge President of Guyana, His Excellency David Granger, issued to Heads of Government and delegates at the opening of the Twenty-Eighth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Georgetown Guyana on Thursday morning.
“Economic cooperation is a fundamental pillar of our Community. The Caribbean, if it is to escape the hazard of economic emasculation in today’s global environment, must expedite the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). We face threats that include dampened demand for our goods and services and distortions in our financial sectors caused by de-risking by international banks.
In any assessment of the performance of the regional integration movement, the positive elements must be considered. And integration must never be measured solely on trade as there was much more that was happening in other spheres such as in functional cooperation and in crime and security, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Monday at the CARICOM Secretariat.
He was at the time responding to questions at a press conference that preceded the Twenty-Eighth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM which will be held Thursday and Friday at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency David Granger, President of Guyana.
The Secretary-General said that integration was working even though there was always room for improvement.
“Can you imagine if there were no CARICOM? Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives… like CXC… that’s CARICOM at work. The fact that more than ninety-nine per cent of our goods is traded freely within our Region – that’s CARICOM at work. The fact that we can have a concerted effort at talking about correspondent banking,…can you imagine if Guyana went alone or Saint Lucia went alone to talk …about correspondent banking? The fact that we have been able to successfully addressing the issue HIV/AIDS collectively; the fact that we have become the first region in the world to eliminate measles and the fact that we have a Community response at the time of disaster… The fact that we are able to present our concerns on climate change collectively.
“There always is room for improvement… By and large, I am satisfied. There are some frustrations that we hear of and we experience in terms of the pace. But as one Prime Minister always says: we are not going to a point; we are on a journey. Development, as is integration is a journey and once your journey is going in the right direction and you are always improving on what you have and building a sense of Community which I think we really do have, I think we are on the right track; we are going in the right direction. We are carrying everybody with us; no one is being left behind We are building a sense of community and carrying everyone with us. Despite what you may hear … (integration) is working,” the Secretary-General said.