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CARICOM Secretary General says national growth and development inextricably linked to regional growth and development

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     Delivering a distinguished lecture at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine  Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday (Oct.3, 2013), Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),  Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said national growth and development was inextricably linked to regional growth and development.
According to him, regional policies and national policies must be so intertwined as to be almost indiscernible. He said it was when that happened that CARICOM citizens would feel a sense of being part of a community.
The Secretary General addressed the status of regional integration as well as his vision for the future of CARICOM in his presentation. He expressed that a major realization going forward was that the current situation demanded a change in operation, particularly in the way the people thought of integration.
He stated that a change facilitation team had been recruited to assist with this transformation and was currently undertaking consultations in Member States for the first ever Strategic Plan of the Community. He said that with eight consultations completed so far, it was clear that the people of CARICOM remained committed to realizing the potential of an integration movement.
He said the reform process was central to the future of the integration movement and provided an opportunity to chart a new paradigm for growth. He noted that conversations have begun in that regard and in these discussions voices from civil society must be heard as the call for participatory governance during the consultations was a clear sign that the top down form of integration would not be accepted by the CARICOM people.
In promulgating his long term vision for the Community Ambassador LaRocque said he saw the Community as one in which all were involved.
“There would be a system of meaningful consultations from which a free flow of ideas emanate, allowing for the distillation of the best and most practical” he said.
Ambassador LaRocque stressed that CARICOM in his vision would be a Community in which regional plans and policies were harmonized with national plans and policies that issues important to the Community would also have been resolved. “I speak here of hassle free travel, free movement, currency convertibility, and contingent rights,” he stated
He said to achieve these goals frank discussions must be had to resolve all the concerns of Member States.
“I intend to deliver a Secretariat that is strategic in outlook and efficient, effective and responsive in serving the needs of its member States and providing leadership to the integration arrangements” the Secretary General said.
The lecture formed part of a new series at the UWI St. Augustine, focusing on CARICOM: exploring its usefulness to the region and its future on its 40th anniversary celebrations.

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