Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett received Chile’s new Ambassador to CARICOM H.E. Juan Pino at the Secretariat Headquarters in Guyana on Friday 1 October.
In remarks at the Accreditation Ceremony, both Dr Barnett and Ambassador Pino looked forward to continuing to build on the strong relations that date back to 1996 when the two sides signed an Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
Below we present the remarks made at the Ceremony:
Remarks by Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett
- Your Excellency Juan Pino Vásquez, Plenipotentiary Representative (Designate) of the Republic of Chile to CARICOM and wife, Ms. Luciana Medeiros;
- Ms. Carolina Faune, Consul and Second Secretary of the Embassy of Chile in Guyana;
- Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, and other Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat.
I extend to you a very warm welcome to the Headquarters of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, on the occasion of your Presentation of Credentials as Chile’s Plenipotentiary Representative to the Caribbean Community.
It is with pleasure that I accept your Letter of Credence, and congratulate you on your appointment. I look forward to our working together to strengthen the long-standing and friendly ties between your country and the Caribbean Community.
The Member States of CARICOM highly value the close and friendly relationship that has been forged with Chile over the years. Our common interests and shared concerns have been reflected in discussions at the bilateral level and, also at the regional and hemispheric levels, through shared Membership of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Organization of American States (OAS). This relationship is also underpinned by engagements at the political, official and technical levels, and mutual support in international fora.
Our relations date back to 1996, when the signing of an Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation paved the way for cooperation in a wide range of areas. Under this Agreement, Chile has provided technical assistance primarily in the form of training courses in Natural Resources; Agriculture; Health and Nutrition; International Negotiations with Diplomatic Training; and Foreign Language Training for High School Teachers in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI). These courses have all been well received, and have been of tremendous benefit to the Region in building its capacity in these areas.
A key element of the Agreement was the establishment of the Standing Joint Commission on Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination. The Commission has met on two occasions with the Third Meeting long overdue. It is my sincere hope that during your tenure, this body can meet as soon as possible, with a view to reviewing and advancing our technical cooperation in the agreed areas and in other areas of mutual interest.
Ambassador, given our Community’s thrust to become more resilient, I wish to place on record CARICOM’s appreciation for the provision of technical assistance for the strengthening of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), our lead Institution in preparing for and responding to natural disasters, the principal threat to our resilience.
Climate change is an existential threat to our Region, and issues of disaster management and risk reduction are of grave concern to the Community. Chile’s firm commitment to combat these threats is well-known. The Community welcomed your leadership on addressing climate change issues during your Presidency of COP25. We look forward to your country’s support in advocating for the concerns of Small Island and Low-Lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) at the upcoming United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP26), in the United Kingdom in November this year.
CARICOM greatly appreciates Chile’s advocacy on its behalf on another matter that adversely affects attempts at building resilience. Many of our Member States are categorised, as Middle-Income Countries (MICs), and therefore are denied concessional development financing, through the use of per capita income as a primary criterion for access. Regrettably, our Community is not represented in the fora where such decisions are made, and as such, CARICOM depends on friends such as Chile for continued support in the Councils of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for the removal of this criterion.
CARICOM is convinced that a multidimensional vulnerability index is a much more accurate reflection of a country’s eligibility for concessional development financing. I urge Chile to lend its voice to this cause.
With these short remarks, Ambassador, I wish you a most successful tenure. I can assure you of my support and that of the staff of the CARICOM Secretariat, as we work together to the mutual benefit of the Caribbean Community and Chile. I thank you.
Remarks by Ambassador Juan Pino
Her Excellency Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community.
Chile and the Caribbean Community have maintained diplomatic, friendly and cooperative relations for decades. In 1993 the first collaboration and cooperation initiatives were born, and in 1996 Chile and CARICOM relations were formalized with the signing of an Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation that paved the way for cooperation in agriculture, health and nutrition, foreign language training, among others.
The Caribbean States hold a high importance for my country, derived from a variety of mutual opportunities that exist for both parties and that have been built over the years.
This dynamic relationship has been based on countless milestones, such as State Visits, participation in CARICOM summits, as it was in 2016 and 2018, and the highest expression of all of the above, which has been our determined policy of opening resident Embassies in the region. This public policy was designed to better involve us, to know the realities of each country, with a direct look at the field to exercise the benefits of constructive dialogue and, most importantly, respectfully listen to the messages of our counterparts.
In this sense, Chile made the decision to open a resident Embassy in Georgetown in July 2015 to get closer to Guyana and participate as an observer country before the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), whose headquarters shelters us on this occasion.
With pleasure, I would like to point out that Chile shares with CARICOM a number of development principles and policies in regional and global affairs, in Human Rights, defense of democracy, sustainable development, territorial integrity and the sanctity of treaties.
In this way, Chile has articulated its relationship with CARICOM by sharing its experience in South-South and Triangular Cooperation, through human resource training, scholarships and technical transfer initiatives in projects, demonstrating the real and lasting commitment to address the development of member countries.
Cooperation has also been deepened by two Joint Commissions, in 2003 and 2012, which reaffirmed common areas of interest by the two parties. The third one was programmed to be carried out in 2018, conversations advanced in 2019, but the pandemic stopped the negotiations.
In this sense, I am pleased to thank the efforts made by CARICOM for the organization of the Official Visit to be carried out by the Executive Director of the Chilean Agency for International Development Cooperation, Cristian Jara, who took office in March of this year. The objective of the aforementioned working visit is to get in contact with the General Secretary with a view to discussing new program initiatives and starting conversations for the holding of the third Joint Commission aimed at establishing the terms of reference for the next 4 years.
The current health crisis, with all the difficulties inherent in each country, has in turn made it possible for new opportunities, unexplored to date, to be transformed into realities appropriate to the present situation. Sharing knowledge and good practices allows countries to feel part of the same destiny.
Complementarily with the South-South cooperation programs, and in another sphere of the relationship, Ms Secretary General, we understand that the time is propitious to give a greater impulse to the relationship between the parties, advancing in the instruments of economic and commercial ties to give greater continuity to the negotiations between Chile and CARICOM, to verify the feasibility of having an Economic Association Agreement in the near future. Post-pandemic reconstruction imposes this task on us.
Reiterating the honor of representing the Government of Chile, I thank you once again for your attention and I make myself available to serve Chile and CARICOM.
See more photos of the Accreditation Ceremony: