Major breakthroughs from COP21 says PM Stuart

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Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart
Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart

Outgoing CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados Hon. Freundel Stuart said the Community got major breakthroughs that it wanted from the COP 21 Agreement signed in Paris last year. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which is being held in Placencia, Belize from 16-17 February 2016.

I am of the view that, the agreement, implemented with seriousness and determination by the international community, will allow us to address the multi-faceted challenges which climate change poses for our countries,” Prime Minister Stuart said.

In his speech the Barbados Prime Minister reflected on some of the occurrences during his six-month term. He said he was pleased that the Meeting would be considering formal draft rules of procedure for the Conference which he hoped would be adopted in July. He said this procedural detail was important because the rigour of decision-making was directly linked to the quality of implementation. He said further that the Community’s decision-making must always be able to withstand the scrutiny of institutions like the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as well as the people of the Region, and the world.

Prime Minister Stuart also used the opportunity to speak of the Region’s unshakeable commitment to unity in the face of adversity, particularly after Hurricane Erika which had devastating effects on Dominica. He commended the Regional family for responding with what he referred to as “appropriate acts of assistance and compassion”.

The Barbados Prime Minister also highlighted that the year 2016 was very important to the Region as it implemented initiatives to which it had committed itself in 2015, and to further those that commenced in previous years.  He also noted that it was a year with deep symbolic significance for countries of the Region such as Antigua and Barbuda and Belize which are celebrating 35 years of independence, and Guyana and Barbados which are commemorating 50th anniversaries.

In closing, Prime Minister Stuart said that the Region needed to look at its strengths and seek to retain them at all costs. He said CARICOM also needed to look back at important elements that had been lost in the Regional integration movement and seek to reclaim them while also looking inward to identify those aspects that hindered it and that could be discarded. He stressed that those steps needed to be taken urgently.

We must then look forward to see what new or different measures we need urgently to adopt to ensure that our movement remains both vibrant and relevant in this 21st century, but more importantly, that it remains a sustainable project that continues to meet the needs of the people of the Caribbean,” he said.

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