Leaders to hold two-day retreat
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended their two-day summit here late on last night agreeing to a two-day retreat in Guyana before July but failing to appoint a successor to Sir Edwin Carrington, who retired as Secretary General at the end of last year.
“It is a work in process, there is a research committee and there is going to be an interview panel, it is going to be a transparent process and we all will know who is going to the CARICOM Secretary General,” host Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman, Tillman Thomas, told the end of summit news conference.
There are at least six candidates being considered for the position of top public servant in the region.
“It is a process, CARICOM is an institution (and) the institution is functioning,” Thomas said, dismissing the notion that the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat has been without a leader since Sir Edwin stepped down.
His Jamaican counterpart, Bruce Golding said candidates had been identified and that interviews had not yet been completed.
“The criteria for those interviews have already been laid out…the interviews are to be conducted by an panel that was agreed on today and we expect to get a report of the results of those interviews when we next meet,” he added.
Asked whether the leaders would have an announcement to make on the new appointment by the time they gather in St. Kitts in July for their annual summit, Golding replied “one has to be careful you don’t preempt the outcome of those interviews, we just have to wait for that process to be completed.
“We would have expected to receive the report of the interview committee and to have deliberated on that by that time (July),” he added.
The leaders have also agreed that the burning issue of governance, which dominated their deliberations during their annual summit in Jamaica July last year and again over the past two days, had been referred to the Committee for continued deliberations.
“The matter was discussed but it was decided …that it should properly await the completion of the review of the (CARICOM) Secretariat because the Secretariat is an integral part on the delivery of that governance and secondly, it is not just likely to come up, but it is inevitably going to be part of the discussions that should take place in the retreat that we have received the invitation from President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana,” Golding said.
He told reporters that “there is no easy fix “to the governance issue, and that the leaders have all recognised the importance of the need to develop a new governance structure to guide the more than two decades old regional integration movement.
“We recognised the importance and urgency of it (and) the thinking is that the heads of government away from the burden of technical advice and so on may be able to give it the sort of deep Caribbean focus and commitment that thereafter will have to be translated into mechanisms and modalities.
“But what I will say is that we recognise that what we have is not capable of delivering what the Caribbean people demand and therefore it is a question of finding a way,” he added. (CMC)