CARICOM Chair, Secretary-General thank Amb. LaRocque for his contribution to integration movement

Former CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), The Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett, have expressed gratitude to Ambassador Irwin LaRocque for his contribution to advancing the integration movement.

The kudos came at Dr. Barnett’s installation ceremony as Secretary-General on Monday, 16 August 2021.

Acknowledging the “sterling contribution” of the former Secretary-General, Prime Minister Browne recalled “Irwin’s unflappable spirit and quiet tenacity”, which he said served the Region well, “especially most recently in these Covid times when some decision-makers succumbed to panic and indecision.”

In remarks at the ceremony, the Secretary-General noted Amb. LaRocque’s contribution over the 16 years he served at the Secretariat.

Composite photo shows from left, Dr. Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General; CARICOM Chair, PM Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda; and former Secretary-General Amb. Irwin LaRocque

“For the last 16 years, the first six as Assistant Secretary-General and the last 10 as Secretary-General, he devoted himself to the task of making integration work for the benefit of the people of the Community. On behalf of the Community, thank you Ambassador LaRocque.  I am certain that the Community will find an appropriate way to honour your contribution,” she said.

Amb. LaRocque demitted office on 15 August 2021 after serving two terms as Secretary-General.

Dr. Barnett used the opportunity to extend wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, from his injury following the recent “despicable attack”.

“Such violent actions have no place in our political discourse or in society generally and must be condemned unreservedly,” she said.

Secretary-General Barnett also paid tribute to the late Sir Lester Bird, former Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, who died on 9 August 2021.

“I cannot conclude without paying tribute to the late Sir Lester Bird whose contribution to the development of Antigua and Barbuda and the Region will not be forgotten. Sir Lester was a committed regionalist who dedicated significant time and effort towards the advancement of the interests of the Caribbean Community. He may have been a fast bowler, but his innings in life was played very well. Please accept the condolences of the Community, the staff of the Secretariat and my own on his passing,” Dr. Barnett said.

Participants at the ceremony observed a moment of silence to mark Sir Lester’s death, as well as the passing of a member of staff of the CARICOM Secretariat.

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