Secretary-General, His Excellency Irwin LaRocque
Deputy Secretary-General, Her Excellency Manorma Soeknandan
Other members of the CARICOM Secretariat Executive Management Team
Officials of the Secretariat and CARICOM Member States
During the Twenty-Sixth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government that was held in Nassau, The Bahamas on 26-27 February 2015, under the chairmanship of the Rt. Honourable Perry G. Christie, CARICOM Heads agreed to the establishment of a CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors. A Terms of Reference and functions for this Committee were also approved.
Hence, it is my honour and privilege this morning, Excellencies, to welcome you to this Inaugural Meeting of the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors. It is my honourable duty to serve as Chairman of this esteemed Committee until 30th June 2015, after which I will hand over the baton to my good friends in Barbados.
Excellencies, the formation of this Committee provides an opportunity for us to greatly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the CARICOM Secretariat and its related agencies. As Ambassadors, we have a unique position in having direct contact with our Heads of Government and Cabinets, as well as with the technical advisors and stakeholders. We must therefore maximise these unique positions in actioning our responsibilities to provide strategic advice and support to the Community Council of Ministers and support for the reform of the Community.
This Committee can truly serve as a Rapid Response Mechanism to get early feedback from Member States on matters of import. Members of the Committee of Ambassadors must remain aware of the issues discussed in the various Councils. The Committee of Ambassadors should also strengthen relations with their country Ambassadors attached to Overseas Missions in order to ensure that there is adequate information-sharing.
Excellencies, in our deliberations, we must guard against re-visiting agenda items that have already been concluded in other fora. We have a duty to counteract the occurrence of implementation deficit which is an underlying theme of the Strategic Implementation Plan for the Caribbean Community for the years 2015-2019.
We must reflect on how our discussions promote the strategic priorities of the Community, namely: building economic resilience; building environmental resilience; coordinating foreign and external economic relations; strengthening community governance; building social resilience, equitable human and social development; building technological resilience; strengthening the CARICOM Identity and Spirit of Community.
Excellencies, it is anticipated that during this morning’s meeting we will review:
priorities for the work of the Committee;
matters pertaining to the operationalisation of the Committee;
the Terms of Reference for the Committee;
mandates from the Twenty-Sixth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government;
operationalising the Community Implementation Plan;
the Change Management Office of the Secretariat; and
the role of the Secretariat in the Committee’s functions.
Excellencies, as I stated at the outset of my remarks, the formation of the Committee of CARICOM Ambassadors provides an opportunity for us to greatly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the CARICOM Secretariat and its related agencies. I therefore look forward to your frank and productive talks on these matters this morning.
I thank you.