Posted: Monday, December 19, 2022. 12:54 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: In her end-of-year address, Secretary-General to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Dr Carla Barnett says her office shares pride and celebration of “strenuous efforts” to ensure that the longest-existing economic integration movement among developing countries continues to improve the lives of Caribbean residents.
Going into the fiftieth anniversary year of the 1973 signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM has hosted fellow African and Pacific regional organizations seeking to learn from and about our operations, systems and structure. Internally, member states approved a protocol to amend the Treaty to allow enhanced cooperation and review the governance systems of the community, increasing regular virtual meetings of Heads of Government while maintaining the in-person annual meetings twice per year, the first of which for 2022 was held in Belize.
Other achievements include the signing of the Declaration of St. George’s Towards the Reduction of Intra-CARICOM Roaming Charges, saving greatly on costs depending on the service and market and advancing the CARICOM Single ICT Space as well as the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), of immense value to citizens of the Community; beginning to encourage investments in the agri-food sector to reduce the regional food import bill by 25 percent by 2025; continuing to work to resolve the multi-faceted crises facing Haiti after another year of upheaval; and contributing to the discussion on Climate Change at COP27 in Egypt, which saw the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund for Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS).
The Order of the Caribbean Community, the Region’s highest award, was awarded to Dame Billie Miller, former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados; Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, former CARICOM Secretary-General; Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander ‘Viv’ Richards, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, and David Rudder, the exceptional calypsonian
Secretary-General Dr Barnett concludes, “It is the youth who will bear the responsibility of carrying the integration movement beyond the next fifty years, as there is still much to be done to consolidate and advance the process as we build on our achievements over the past five decades. As we enjoy this holiday season, we can reflect on our accomplishments and look towards increasing our efforts to provide a viable and prosperous Community for all that we desire.
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