CARICOMStatements by Secretary-General

Fifty Years Strong: A Solid Foundation to Build on – Message by Secretary-General Dr Carla N Barnett

As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) commemorates 50 years of existence and is acknowledged as the longest lasting integration movement of its kind among developing countries, we also know that it is no mean feat that it has endured. Our longevity is the result of a deep commitment, immortalised in ink at Chaguaramas on 4 July 1973 and nurtured decade after decade by the steely determination of successive governments and the people of the Region.

This determination spurred the growth of our Community from an initial membership of four Member States to the current fifteen full Members and five Associate Members.  The four pillars which define our core objectives – economic integration; foreign policy coordination; human and social development; and security cooperation – are central to our regional and national development policy.

Our active cadre of Community Institutions continuously focus on critical matters such as education and human resource development, health, agriculture and food security, disaster management and response, climate change, and crime and security.  We are an influential voice in international fora on these matters, and our leaders have played important roles in such important matters as the dismantling of apartheid, and are playing important roles today in the growing global debate on reparations for slavery and native genocide, and the discussions on climate injustice and responsibility for damage caused by climate change.

As a Region, we number among our diverse accomplishments the establishment of the Caribbean Development Bank; the Caribbean Court of Justice; the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency; the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility; the Caribbean Examination Council; the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

CARICOM has traversed five decades of challenge and change, and we are understandably proud of our accomplishments.  As the theme selected for our 50th Anniversary celebrations declares, we are 50 years strong, with a solid foundation on which to continue to forge a Caribbean Community that is inclusive and resilient, a Community that is a unified, competitive force in the global arena, where every citizen is secure, and a Community that shares opportunities, and economic, social and cultural prosperity.

As we celebrate this Golden Jubilee, we pay homage to our founders; to past and present administrations, and staff members of the CARICOM Secretariat, and other Institutions and Associate Institutions of the Community; to the people of the Region, both resident and in the diaspora; and to our international partners. We acknowledge, with heartfelt appreciation, your deeply rooted commitment to the ideals of integration and the concrete benefits that have accrued to the Region because of your partnerships, advocacy, and hard work.

As we look forward, we acknowledge that the global landscape has evolved significantly from the realities of 1973. If we are to fulfil the promise of our integration as laid out in the Treaty of Chaguaramas, we must continue to demonstrate the acumen, tenacity and sense of shared purpose that has sustained us for the past 50 years. This is what will secure a safe and prosperous Community for future generations of our Region.

Let us therefore marshal our talents and our zeal, and continue resolutely towards our vision of “One Caribbean, A Community for All”.

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