Unimaginable facing pandemic alone, PM Rowley tells CARICOM Heads Meeting
In dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have been unimaginable for any Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member State to face it alone, outgoing chair of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley said.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 42nd Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the CARICOM on Monday 5 July, he said the Region shared resources, expertise and support that kept it afloat in turbulent times.
During the past six months when CARICOM was “bombarded with various issues and challenges,” Prime Minister Rowley said that the outgoing Secretary-General’s steady leadership kept the Community “focused and grounded.”
In commending Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, he said:
“I have the distinct privilege of being the last Prime Minister with whom you would have worked through his entire term as Chairman. That puts me in the position to commend you for the sterling service you have provided during these past months when we were bombarded with various issues and challenges. You did not falter in your duty and have been a great asset to CARICOM, a rock – keeping the Community focused and grounded.”
The Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister also lauded the work of Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre in addressing the COVID-pandemic.
He also congratulated Secretary-General (designate) Dr. Carla Barnett on her appointment, noting that he looks forward to working with her in advancing matters on the Regional agenda.
“The CARICOM identity belongs to us all and, today, on CARICOM Day – twenty years since the signing of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, I applaud the ‘I am CARICOM’ initiative which seeks to bridge that divide and facilitate more active participation by our citizenry. This will undoubtedly add threads to the fabric of our integration movement in the years to come,” Prime Minister Rowley stated.