Install the 45th Summit of Caricom Heads of State and Government in Trinidad and Tobago | News

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The 45th Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) was officially installed this Monday with the participation of regional and world leaders, such as the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres.


Caricom celebrates 50 years at Summit in Trinidad and Tobago

During the opening ceremony, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the Secretary General of Caricom, Carla Barnett, highlighted the special nature of the organization's summit, which this July 4 celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Barnett highlighted the role that Caricom has played since then, leading the formation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), leading the negotiations with Europe on preferential trade agreements, fighting for the UN to recognize small island states and Low Coastal Developing States (SIDS).

“Our leaders are also present at the International Court, giving priority to health and the Nassau declaration in 2001. No one can question the excellence of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, which has an example of leadership in the fight against the pandemic of Covid-19," he said.

Likewise, Barnett highlighted the legacy of the so-called founding fathers of Caricom, such as Arthur Lewis, William Demas, Alister McIntyre or Nita Barrow and said that "it has shown that with strength and consistency collaboration and integration can be achieved."

Addressing the challenges, Barnett noted that there are areas that call for improvement such as transportation, the free movement of citizens, and the nature of crime and insecurity, particularly in Haiti.

“We are dealing with a multifaceted crisis, crime and security, constitutional and political, humanitarian, in our most populous member state, Haiti. As our Community tries to help the Haitian people find effective solutions to crises, we have appointed a Group of Eminent Persons that has begun to facilitate dialogue among the main Haitian stakeholders,” he indicated.

The Caricom Secretary General also recognized the importance of food security, the need to reduce food imports, and the urgency of moving forward with a digital development strategy to increase productivity and build sustainable livelihoods, especially for young people.

Likewise, it highlighted the resilient and decisive character of Caricom, despite the change in global realities, to maintain the course of integration.

Keith Rowley: at Caricom we have the best ahead for regional cooperation

During his speech, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, reflected on what happened in Chaguaramas on July 4, 1973 and paid tribute to the founding fathers who laid the foundations on which the family of nations was built.

“The late Prime Ministers Errol Barrow of Barbados, Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Michael Manley of Jamaica, and Dr. Eric Eustace Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, were leaders who understood that our strength as small states lies in our unity,” he said.

In this regard, he stressed that although Caricom was initially made up of four nations, it has 15 Member States and five Associate Members and specified that the union of Martinique and the Netherlands Antilles is expected soon.

“At Caricom we have the best ahead for regional cooperation, we must continue to grow in this integration movement, adding new blocks at this juncture. Although there were doubts at the beginning, experience has shown us that we are stronger together, ”he emphasized.

The Trinidadian Prime Minister acknowledged that the strength of the Caricom peoples had an impact on winning the battle against Covid-19, and highlighted the survival and success of the regional integration movement.

“As a community we have been affected by the ravages of the international financial system that is designed to impoverish us. Many markets were closed, recessions were created in various industries such as sugar and bananas, but we are excited that we can overcome all of that," Rowley said.

Likewise, he mentioned the lines of work in which Caricom must continue working, such as reinforcing sustainable development, addressing poverty and insecurity and the climate in the region, areas of work to serve the people of the Community.

António Guterres: United Nations depends on the experience and leadership of the Caribbean

Guterres stressed that the United Nations depends on the experience and leadership of the Caribbean, and called for critical reflection on the enormous challenges facing the region.

In this regard, he recognized the progress of the Caribbean in cooperation in economic and social development, the fight against illegal drug and arms trafficking and non-communicable diseases, as well as the promotion of gender equality and the defense of action climate.

In this sense, he called for work on two fronts: action to fix finances in the face of dysfunction and injustice and an outdated international financial system, and the climate crisis, since "limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius It's still possible."

“I urge governments to move quickly on their net zero emissions deadlines so that developed countries commit to reaching net zero as close as possible to 2040 and emerging economies as close as possible to 2050, and Caribbean countries They have been showing the way,” he said.

Guterres also urged to help alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people, by intervening in the installation of the Caricom Summit.

“I come here from Haiti. The security situation is dire, humanitarian needs are increasing, and there is still no political solution in sight. But I came with hope and optimism, ”she specified.

According to Guterres, the challenges currently observed in Haiti require greater commitment and solidarity, for which he assured that he will continue to press to "establish a solid international security force, authorized by the Security Council, to help the national police Haitian to defeat and dismantle the gangs.

The entity's highest authority reiterated the call to partners to increase support for the Haitian police in the form of financing, training and equipment and reflected that for there to be lasting security, democratic institutions must be strengthened.

Roosevelt Skerrit: we are the largest and longest-running integration movement in the world

The current president of Caricom and prime minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, also pondered the history of the organization and its course towards integration since it was conceived five decades ago.

“I am sure that there is no better place than the cradle of Caricom to celebrate this occasion. I feel a great privilege assuming the presidency of the Caricom Conference of Heads of State”, he highlighted.

Skerrit hailed the leadership of outgoing Caricom president, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis, saying he is expected to continue working for integration for a long time.

“These last 50 years of Caricom have seen many achievements, we deserve to be proud of our history. We are the largest and longest integration movement in the world, and we have to be proud of that, ”he stressed.

The president of the regional organization indicated that the Community still has to continue working so that it is prosperous, safe and that it brings benefits to the peoples that make it up, for which new objectives must be set that lead to success.

“We must unite our wills to resolve essential issues. We have the opportunity on this historic occasion, and as we deliberate in the days to come, we must make decisions that are transformative for our towns and that determine the future of our community for the next 50 years,” he assured.

Skerrit stressed that work is being done so that in the coming years, Caribbean citizens can move freely throughout the region. “It is time for interregional travel to be something to be proud of. Political will has to be used on issues of expansion for the benefit of the regional economy”.

“Unity in safety, well-being and health, and disaster reduction has to be seen in all processes. That has to be the mantra that drives us for years to come,” she said.

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