REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, EDWIN CARRINGTON, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY ON THE OCC
Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings | 07 June 2006 | Release Ref #: 105/2006 | 732
Excellency, it is certainly a pleasure to welcome you warmly as the Plenipotentiary representative of the Federative Republic of Brazil to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). I have perused your CV and I must say that your many years of service and the dedication to your duties make you eminently qualified to be Brazil’s representative to the Caribbean Community. The decision by the Government of Brazil to appoint an ambassador to CARICOM is clear evidence of the importance that Brazil places on its relations with CARICOM. Indeed, in recent times, Brazil has demonstrated vigorous commitment and support towards the development of the Region. Your president addressed The Conference of Heads of Government in Suriname last year February. In addition, Brazil is neighbour to Guyana where the Secretariat of the Community is situated. Ambassador, today we have strengthened our proximity with diplomatic ties. Excellency, your country, under the leadership of President Lula da Silva, has made tremendous strides both in social and economic development, including world acclaimed achievements in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Region welcomes the cooperation between the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and Brazil in dealing with this deadly scourge. The provision of free anti-retroviral drugs to Member States of the OECS sub-group of CARICOM will provide immediate relief for over 500 affected persons, while continuing cooperation in prevention and control, treatment and support will provide long-term benefits for the entire Region. The Community also commends Brazil in its development and use of alternative sources of energy and recognises the positive effects that such a move will have on the environment. The success of ethanol as an alternative to fossil fuel is a sterling example of how to make efficient use of renewable resources thus reducing dependence on petroleum. Such great strides have secured Brazil’s position as a regional leader and world player in this critical area. Through its leadership role in the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Haiti, Brazil has also contributed tremendously to the stabilisation of the situation in Haiti, the newest Member State of the Community. CARICOM Member States have welcomed the return to constitutional rule in Haiti through the election of Mr. René Preval as president of that country, by what has been proclaimed by the international community as free and fair elections. The endorsement by the Haitian parliament of Mr. Edouard Alexis as prime minister of Haiti further consolidates constitutional rule. CARICOM will continue to support the new government’s reconstruction and reconciliation efforts and is prepared to do so in collaboration with other friendly nations to ensure that these efforts are fruitful. The Region is aware of discussions between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Brazil over the possibility of Brazil’s membership of that regional bank. As the COFCOR conveyed to your minister of foreign affairs when it held discussions with him in April, the Community looks forward to a positive response from Brazil to these overtures. With the support of Brazil, CARICOM-MERCOSUR relations are becoming increasingly closer and the Region is pleased with Brazil’s endeavours to deepen the relationship between the two groupings through the proposed CARICOM-MERCOSUR free trade agreement. We are delighted that the proposed agreement would also protect the principle of special and differential treatment, a necessary criterion if small states are to survive in a world increasingly characterised by trade liberalisation. Excellency, CARICOM has every intention of continuing and deepening this important relationship with Brazil and your accreditation, ambassador, will serve as a platform for continuing collaboration between Brazil and CARICOM on various regional and international issues. My staff and I therefore look forward to working with you as we strive to further cement the close relationship that has developed between your country and our regional integration grouping, CARICOM. Finally, Excellency, as the football world cup gets set to commence this weekend, I wish Brazil best of luck. Watch out however for the Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago. I thank you.