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New Year’s Message from Chair (Incoming) of the Caribbean Community

 “We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living

 through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community.”

“Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement.”

New Year’s Message from Chair (Incoming) of the Caribbean Community


(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     I take this opportunity to wish all the people of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) a bright, productive and prosperous 2016. As we embark on each New Year, we, as individuals, do so with resolve to make it better than the previous year.  For our Community it is no different.


Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community. We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim.


We do so in the face of the sternest economic test that our Member States have had to face in recent memory. To overcome that challenge we are determined to become more efficient and effective in the conduct of our affairs and have instituted a reform process which includes a Community Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015-2019.  This year, we look forward to increasing the pace both of that reform and the implementation of the Strategic Plan.  Already the restructuring of the Secretariat, a critical part of the reform, is well underway even as the Secretariat and the Community Institutions strengthen their collaboration, and together with Member States, advance the implementation of the Strategic Plan.


That Plan is designed to build our economic, environmental, social and technological resilience to assist us in the drive towards growth and sustainable development.  The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is an important vehicle in that drive for greater resilience and we will be vigorously pursuing the consolidation of the Single Market.  To support that consolidation and to better confront the new challenges which constantly arise in a world of change, we will be making our governance arrangements more flexible and dynamic.  We will therefore be continuing efforts in the coming year to revise those arrangements for our integration movement to become more effective and relevant to the needs of our people.


In my view, another relevant factor in the lives of our people is the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).  The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community.  During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more Member States joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.


2016 will also see the Community increasing its efforts to combat the scourge of crime through initiatives which target those most at risk in our societies.  The planned activities will focus on curbing anti-social behaviour and channeling energies into productive endeavor.  We must all be involved in a concerted attempt to arrest crime and violence in our Community and building the secure society which we desire.


The base factor in whatever we have achieved has been the strength of our unity.  That was never more evident than in the manner in which we rallied together to attain our objectives at the three major international conferences in the past year, particularly at COP 21 in Paris.  The binding decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Development Goals and Climate Change have great potential to boost our growth and development and bolster our resilience.  It is therefore in our interest to use our coordinated foreign policy to advocate at every opportunity for urgent implementation of those decisions.  In so doing we will be seeking the support of our International Development Partners as well as other Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS).


I assume the chairmanship of our Community, following the incisive and decisive leadership of the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart.  His guidance during the past six months has been highly appreciated by his colleague Heads of Government.


People of the Caribbean Community, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to.  Let us strive to make 2016 one to remember as a landmark year for our integration movement.


Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow

Prime Minister of Belize

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