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CARICOM Secretary-General promises inclusive management of regional affairs

Last Updated on Monday, 16 August 2021, 14:18 by Denis Chabrol

Dr. Carla Barnett

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Carla Barnett on Monday promised to run the affairs of the 15-nation bloc in an inclusive manner and give a listening ear to everyone in an effort to find solutions to some of the region’s most pressing problems.

Dr. Barnett said she intends to tap into the “well-spring of unity” because it is a source of strength that she and her team intends to bank on. “To build on and maintain that strength will require that my team and I reach out on a regular basis to explain, to exhort, to inform, to educate so that all will feel a part of the whole that constitutes CARICOM and ‘I am CARICOM’ will mean much more than a catchy slogan,” said the Belizean Economist.

The new top regional public servant announced that she and her team would invite stakeholders in all sectors, including the media, to reach out to the Secretariat so that they could share their fears, concerns  and their vision for CARICOM’s future. “This must be our mantra as we seek to build a truly integrated, inclusive and resilient community that is driven by knowledge, excellence and productivity,” she said.

Dr. Barnett said, as the regional movement approaches its 50th anniversary, a number of “achievable goals” by creating space for new thinking to solve current problems and outline new future paths. Issues, she said, that have to be addressed include implementation of decisions, the Single ICT Space or the Blue Economy, effective regional participation to contain global warming, productive use of abundant lands of Guyana, Suriname and Belize for the rest of the region, job losses, blacklisting of jurisdictions and crime among youth. “No one has all the answers. No one has all the ideas. That is why all must be involved. I see a Caribbean Community that the average citizens of the region will be a part of and not a part from,” she said.

Dr. Barnett succeeds Dominican Irwin La Rocque.

In recent decades, CARICOM’s public profile on major regional and international issues has become low-keyed compared to the 1990s.