Accredited Third StatesCanadaPress Releases


CARICOM Heads of Government, in Abuja, Nigeria attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, on Sunday morning participated in a meeting of a different kind. They gathered together at a special breakfast session to bid farewell to one of the hemisphere’s outstanding leaders – outgoing Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien. CARICOM Heads of Government/Delegation in attendance were: the Prime Ministers of The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago and the President of Guyana. Other Heads of Delegation were the Minister of Tourism of Dominica, the Foreign Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the High Commissioner of Grenada to the UK and the Secretary General.

Prime Minster Chrétien, a longstanding friend of the Caribbean, demits office in Ottawa on 12 December 2003.

The Prime Minister of Canada, who has traditionally taken time out at these Commonwealth Meetings to meet with his Caribbean colleagues, did so again but this time with a difference – it was his last.

The outgoing Canadian Prime Minister and CARICOM Heads of Government/Delegation and the Secretary-General, in an informal setting, enjoyed a pleasant breakfast during which the Canadian Prime Minister spoke of issues relating to Canada’s present situation at home and its position abroad. He reminisced on some of the issues and challenges he had encountered during his term of office as Prime Minister of Canada.

The Region’s leaders, led by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, Chairman of CARICOM, paid glowing tribute to Prime Minister Chrétien for his longstanding friendship and steadfast support to the Region over the years.

Heads of Government had set the stage for this occasion when, at their meeting in Montego Bay in July, 2003, they:

…noted that during his tenure as Head of Government of Canada, Prime Minister Chrétien had shown tremendous goodwill to the Region and sought to address regional concerns;

… agreed to identify an occasion on which to mark with appreciation the contribution made by Canada to regional integration over the past thirty years and specifically, the contribution made by Prime Minister Chrétien to this effort;

Heads of Government were joined by their Ministers for a presentation by the Chairman, to the Canadian Prime Minister of a CARICOM Pin made of gold from Guyana and a Special Plaque of Appreciation made of wood from Trinidad and Tobago. The plaque was adorned with the Canadian maple leaf and the CARICOM logo of interlocking Cs.

The ninety-minute meeting ended with the CARICOM Representatives extending best wishes to Prime Minister Chrétien for a happy retirement and an open invitation to visit the Region on holiday, now as an “honorary CARICOM Citizen”

CARICOM Heads of Government observed that the incoming Prime Minister, Hon Paul Martin, had for some time served with distinction, as a representative of the Region on the Boards of various International Financial Institutions. They expressed their intention to establish early contact with him and members of his cabinet in order to pursue the mutually beneficial links, which have long existed, between the peoples of Canada and the Caribbean.

Abuja, Nigeria
8 December, 2003

Show More
Back to top button