Challenges of 2020 Amplify Importance of Regional Cooperation – CARICOM Outgoing Chair

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon Mia Mottley

Outgoing Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, has expressed profound gratitude to the organisation and institutions that have steered the Community through the unprecedented challenges posed so far by the year 2020.

Prime Minister Mottley said when she assumed chairmanship at the behest of the President of Suriname, His Excellency Desiré Bouterse due to provisions of elections in Suriname, it was never anticipated that the year would have been so “distinctive” not only in terms of the “roundness of its number” but more significantly, “fullness of its challenges.”

She said the challenges had amplified the importance of regional cooperation and regional collaboration, as she lauded the work of the CARICOM Secretariat, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), and the Caribbean Development Bank.

“If ever there was a time that we understood the importance of these regional institutions, it is now. Everyday countries across this region can manage who comes in and out of their borders with the assistance of IMPACS. IMPACS has made a difference from Bahamas in the north to Guyana and Suriname in the south, from Barbados in the east to Belize in the west. It has allowed us to help screening and to be able to deal with what none of us ever contemplated would be our reality – closed borders not only to the international community, but to each other,” Prime Minister Mottley stated.

She noted the critical role of CARPHA in assisting Member States to test for the novel coronavirus, and the role of CDEMA as focal point for the World Health Organisation, in mitigating the effects of the global health pandemic in the Region.

Prime Minister Mottley in her recent announcement of the access CARICOM Member States have gained to Africa’s Medical Supplies Platform, had also announced that CDEMA will function as the supplies management hub for CARICOM. Without the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, Prime Minister Mottley said the Region “would have been left to the Wild, Wild West, exposed to the ravages of all of the gale-force winds of COVID,” as it looked for critical medical supplies to response to the virus.

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