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Studied, deliberate progress in integration movement – CARICOM Chairman

Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 20 December 2016 | Release Ref #: 184/2016 | 4039




    We have come to the end of an interesting and impactful year for our Caribbean Community (CARICOM).


    2016 has seen studied and deliberate progress in our integration movement.  We continue to work to ensure that the people of the Community realise the benefit of our co-ordinated actions. The advancement of our reform process is a key element towards achieving that goal and I applaud the headway being made in that regard.


    The joyous celebrations marking the 50th Independence Anniversary of both Barbados and Guyana in November and May respectively allowed us to reflect on an era when such co-operation was manifested by the two countries having a joint diplomatic mission in London.  It was a fine example of the spirit and substance of unity that, today, we must embrace in order to advance our interests domestically and globally.


    It is becoming more and more evident that the social, political and economic challenges that we all face are best overcome by our collective actions. It is why my colleague Heads of Government and I have taken steps to strengthen our co-operation including in security, in human resource development, in health and in the area of foreign policy. The concern that we all have for the security of our Region and the safety of our people has motivated us to reinforce the regional security architecture. We have moved to improve the arrangements under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) to make it more efficient so that our private sector and other stakeholders could more easily benefit from the provisions.


    Joint action is also proving to be critical as we address the troubling issue of correspondent banking which threatens our economic, financial and trading stability. This includes its effect on remittances from our relatives abroad. Having brought all the stakeholders together last October, they engaged in constructive dialogue towards a permanent solution.


    We demonstrated once again the strength and value of our togetherness when Hurricane Matthew wrought severe devastation, with Haiti and The Bahamas particularly hard hit, and other countries such as Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines being affected. The outpouring of assistance from the Governments and peoples of the Community certainly brought comfort to those in distress.


    These continuous climatic events highlight the need for the implementation of the measures contained in the Paris Agreement which 10 of our Member States have already ratified after signing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in April.


    As the year came to a close, it was with great sadness that the Community learnt of the passing of the former President of Cuba, His Excellency Fidel Castro Ruz OCC.  His contribution to the development of our Region can never be forgotten.  This iconic global figure never forgot the role that CARICOM played in breaking his country’s diplomatic isolation and was instrumental in providing the tremendous assistance from Cuba to our Community.  He was truly a valued friend.


    The consistently proven advantage and success of acting in concert will stand us in good stead as we assess the implications of global events on our Community.  These happenings should merely serve to emphasise the importance of deepening the CARICOM integration movement. 


    My fellow CARICOM citizens, in this season of sharing and goodwill to all, we must continue to demonstrate the care for each other that strengthens our Community in spirit and substance. We must all work together to achieve our goal of a prosperous, healthy and safe Community for All. Let us therefore recommit ourselves in the coming year to the pursuit of that goal.


    May you all have a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season and a bright and Happy New Year.