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Stuart: Identify CARICOM challenges

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Stuart: Identify CARICOM challenges

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has urged the recently appointed Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque to identify the existing challenges facing regional integration.
Stuart and LaRocque met to discuss regional issues and a statement issued afterwards said the Barbadian leader encouraged the Secretary-General to focus on what CARICOM needed in order to energise the integration movement and revive the consciousness of the people.
He said critical to this would be finding out what kind of Caribbean the Community wanted.
LaRocque is on a three-day official visit here following similar missions to St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda and will include interactions with youth, the private sector and the media as well as visits to Barbados-based CARICOM Secretariat offices and regional institutions.
The statement said that during the discussions with Stuart, LaRocque, who assumed the role of CARICOM Secretary General in August “took the opportunity to share… his vision and ideas for taking the integration movement forward”.
It said that LaRocque is of the opinion that the task could not be achieved without “the buy-in of all interested parties, and without paying attention to what stakeholders in the region were saying.
“In a wide-ranging discourse, the Secretary General recalled that at their retreat in May 2011 in Guyana, Heads of Government had asked for a review of the current state of implementation of regional integration and noted the need to consolidate on those gains.”
LaRocque said he saw the need to prioritise the goals in which interventions could have a positive impact of the populace, such as transportation, sport and the youth.
The Barbados leader said that while the focus of attention had been on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the region, there was a need to put people’s ideals and passions back into the regional thrust.
He cited as examples, the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), West Indies cricket and the University of the West Indies (UWI), all of which, he said were unifying forces but did not form part of the Region’s productive sector.
Following his meeting, LaRocque paid courtesy calls on the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr Warren Smith, and the Programme Co-ordinator of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), Dr Arnold McIntyre. (CMC)

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