Distinguished Heads of State and Government
The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Baldwin Spencer, is unable to be here with us in St. Kitts & Nevis for this meeting.
He has asked me to convey his sincere regret to his colleagues and to the meeting at being unable, two days after a general election, to take himself away from the urgent tasks involved in forming a government. He sends his best wishes for successful deliberations.
Prime Minister Spencer noted the significance of the fact that some of the very first decisions of his government involved Antigua and Barbuda’s participation in CARICOM, and that this was symbolic of his government’s re-dedication to the principles and ideals of CARICOM.
In considering his options, Mr. Spencer was well aware of the challenging issues facing this Conference. He looks forward to an early opportunity to join his colleagues in tackling the pervasive challenges to our people’s development and independence.
On his behalf I would like to thank the government of St. Kitts & Nevis for hosting the Meeting at such short notice; and to express special appreciation to our host Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas for agreeing to chair the proceedings.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda also owes a debt of gratitude to the Most Hon P. J. Patterson for agreeing to extend his term as chair for three months. This was done at a critical time in CARICOM’s external relations, and the region had the benefit of clear and principled leadership.
I offer you the full support of my delegation and of the government of Antigua and Barbuda as you guide us towards the strategies that will see a resolution of the issues that populate our agenda.