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CARICOM unity and strength highlighted by Secretary-General in end of year address

Posted: Monday, December 21, 2020. 1:26 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Secretary-General to the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, says a unified approach typified the region’s response to many challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his year-end address for 2020, Ambassador LaRocque stated, “We reaped the benefits of a CARICOM-wide public health approach which was adopted from the very outbreak of the virus, even before a pandemic was declared…Thanks to the hard work of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), our lead Institution in the sector, other Regional Institutions, the CARICOM Secretariat and health officials across the Community, all under the guidance of the Heads of Government, we were able to avoid the worst effects.” 

Only 1,300 persons have died of COVID in the region to date, a relatively low figure in the global context. He added that seven CARICOM members including Belize and an Associate member proceeded with general elections with little impact.

The Secretary-General also reviewed other regional milestones such as uniting with the CARICOM Private Sector Organization (CPSO) as an Associate of the Community through the Caribbean Congress of Labour.

“These two Organisations along with the representative body for civil society are important voices to be heard in advancing the integration movement, particularly the CSME,” the Secretary-General noted.

The Community, in an effort to facilitate its post-COVID-19 economic recovery has been seeking support from friendly countries for the international financial policy-making bodies to review their eligibility criteria which bar access to development assistance, grants and concessional financing.  Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers have been advocating for a Universal Vulnerability Index to be used to determine access.

“These financial resources would be invaluable to assist in recovery from the pandemic, and the continuing battle to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change,” the Secretary-General said.


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