• Login
  • / CARICOM Song /
  • Webmail /


Posted in: Press Releases | 09 July 2009 | Release Ref #: 279/2009 | 740

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) “The creation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy is vital to our survival as small states, critical to our development within the prevailing global economic system, and central to our strategy to improve the quality of life of our people.” This, according to Dr Hilary Brown, CARICOM Secretariat’s Programme Manager, Culture and Community Development, as she addressed the Opening Ceremony of the four-day Caribbean Youth Exchange Conference underway in Haiti on Thursday. The Youth Exchange is funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) with support from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Civic Action, Haiti and the CARICOM Secretariat. Dr. Brown said that the CSME also represented our shared vision and aspirations as Caribbean people, built on a foundation of a common history and a shared culture.

    The Conference, she said, was convened on the premise of a firm commitment to realizing the dream of Caribbean unity and integration and as such, she regarded the youth as critical to that process.

    “We are here because we know that youth are critical to making this dream real. We know that people to people contact within the Community is the only way to make the CSME a lived reality for all of us,” she said.

    While not discounting the critical importance of legislation in facilitating the free movement of people; of services, goods and capital within the Community, Dr Brown was of the firm belief that “we cannot legislate our unity,” and told the more than forty young people gathered from across the Caribbean that they had an important role to play in “breaking down the barriers and the stereotypes that exist among us in developing new and strong networks; in showing the way and articulating a new vision of what a unified Caribbean can be.”

    The Programme Manager was convinced that Caribbean youth had a tremendous transformative power which was important to the regional movement.

    Alluding to the proposed Special CARICOM Heads of Government Summit on Youth to be convened later this year, Dr Brown commended the youth for the research they had completed, noting that the final Report submitted to the Heads of Government would highlight regional issues and trends regarding youth with respect to governance and participation, education, health, their safety and well-being; labour and employment, sports and recreation, the environment, migration, Caribbean culture and identity and regional integration.

    Also speaking at the opening ceremony was the Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Youth of Haiti, Mr Jean Claude Michaud who called for an office for Caribbean youth that could foster the exchange of ideas to support the CSME. He also expressed his concern that Haiti’s art and craft were being merchandised by other countries and entities, while Haiti was not benefitting; and expressed his hope to see the day when Haiti was fully integrated in the CSME and could move its goods and services freely within the Community.

    The Director-General in Haiti’s Ministry of Youth, Sports and Civic Action, Mr Daniel Pierre Charles, outlined several challenges of the integration movement, chief of which he said, was free movement of persons, and called on youth to help bridge the gap, asserting that “we need to get to know one another better” to discover that “we are more alike than different.’ Organised under the theme, Youth - Making the Caribbean, the Youth Exchange brings together young people from all 15 Member States and five Associate Members to promote Caribbean cultural identity; heighten awareness of issues relating to regional integration and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and most importantly, to sensitise participants to the research findings of the CCYD.

    CSME stands for CARICOM Single MARKET & Economy.

    The CSME Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat is the implementation office which assists the Member States in fulfilling the requirements of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

    Learn more