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Caricom begins national talks on reform

The 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was Wednesday due to begin region-wide consultations on identifying priorities and overhauling the Guyana-based regional headquarters, the Secretariat said in a statement.

The pilot of national consultations on a Five-Year Strategic Plan for CARICOM, regarded as a critical aspect of reforming the regional integration movement, is slated to be held in Barbados from June 5 to 7.

The consultations will be conducted by the Change Facilitation team based at the Caricom headquarters in conjunction with Ambassador Robert Morris, Barbados’s Ambassador to CARICOM.

“The 5-year strategic plan for the Community will, among other things, identify the priority areas of focus for the Community and guide the restructuring of the Secretariat. Even while awaiting the completion of the Strategic Plan, the Secretary-General has begun some corporate reforms within the Secretariat,” CARICOM said.

The recruitment of a Change Facilitation team emanated from the discussions of region loeaders in Suriname in 2012 after receiving a report on the Review of the Secretariat.  The Heads agreed that it was necessary to re-examine the future direction of the Community and the arrangements for carrying this forward which would include the role and function of the CARICOM Secretariat. 

Caricom leaders approved the outline of the Strategic Plan at their Inter Sessional Meeting held in Haiti, last February and agreed to appoint Change Drivers in each Member State with overall responsibility for coordinating and facilitating the Change Process at the national level.  In the first instance, the Change Drivers will coordinate the national consultations on the Strategic Plan. Ambassador Morris has been designated as his Barbados’ Change Driver.

The consultations in Member States will include stakeholder groups including Heads of Government, Leaders of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, representatives of Business, Labour, Youth and other civil society groups, CARICOM Institutions and other key organizations with headquarters in the Member State.

These consultations are intended to address the Vision, Mission and Core Values of the Caribbean Community; Priority Areas for the attention of the Community in the period 2014-18; and the most appropriate and efficient governance and management structures for the Community.

The consultations in Barbados begin on Wednesday with CARICOM institutions and organizations, the private sector and Labour. On Thursday the team meets with the Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados as well as with Caribbean Policy Development Centre and Non-Governmental Organisations. On Friday they will hold sessions with the Leader of the Opposition and CARICOM Consular offices stationed in Barbados.

The facilitation team which has a three-year mandate is being assisted with resources from the Government of the United Kingdom through the Department for International Development (DFID) and began work in the CARICOM Secretariat last November.