Friday 30 October, 2020

LaRocque: CARICOM celebrates 47 years! We weathered the storm well

This year marks the 47th anniversary of CARICOM and according to Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque, there’s a lot that we should be proud of.

He said this year it's being celebrated in an environment dominated by the continuing health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his CARICOM Day address, Ambassador LaRocque said the pandemic has brought to the fore several challenges that have tested us as a people.

Even so, he believes that we’ve weathered the storm relatively well.

He said: “Let me, at the outset, extend my deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones; and I wish a speedy recovery to those afflicted by the disease. So far, we have demonstrated that capacity for resilience, which has been the hallmark of our response to the numerous challenges we have faced over time.”

The CARICOM Secretary-General said enormous strides have been made in improving the lives of Caribbean people within the four pillars of its integration movement.

These pillars are:

  • Economic integration
  • Human and social development
  • Foreign policy coordination
  • Security cooperation

Ambassador LaRocque said the successful management of the regions COVID-19 response is due in part to the continued cooperation of Heads of Governments, Ministerial councils, CARPHA and CDEMA.

The CARICOM Secretariat has been instrumental in coordinating the response to the pandemic. That is CARICOM at work for the benefit of the people of the Community. The success of the combined efforts in combatting the challenge of COVID-19 is evidence, not only of the competence and skill of our Caribbean people but also of the value of a unified region.”

He said now more than ever, that level of coordination is needed to rebuild economies that have been ravaged by the effects of the pandemic.

“We must exploit every opportunity provided by the CARICOM Single Market and Economy in rebuilding our economies. What we have demonstrated time and again in the face of persistent devastation from natural disasters is a steely resilience, and an ability to rebound and restart. The bedrock of that characteristic is the spirit and determination of Caribbean people, and the banding together of our Member States in times of adversity.”

The CARICOM Secretary-General said that spirit of togetherness and determination is critical to attempts to extricate us from this latest assault on efforts to build a safe, secure and prosperous community that benefits all citizens.

He said: “As we celebrate our anniversary, let us reflect on what each of us can do to keep our community safe and to contribute to the revival of our economies.”

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