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Stuart: CARICOM is alive and well

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Stuart: CARICOM is alive and well

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Contrary to rumours the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is invigorated and on a clear path to development.
That is the word from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he provided an update on the status of the Caribbean Community to members of the media.
His comments were made late yesterday at the end of day one of the 33rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort, in Castries. 
He said: “The speeches you heard this morning [at the opening ceremony] all attested to the fact that CARICOM is alive and well. Yes, we have our challenges- but who doesn’t, and what you heard this morning would have left you in no doubt that regional heads are determined to wrestle these challenges to the ground, and to ensure that this movement survives. The stakes are too high; the people of the region expect us to deliver on this project, and we are determined to do so.”
He added: “I don’t think anybody can be in any doubt now about the commitment of the Government of Jamaica to the regional integration process. As I indicated yesterday, (Tuesday) Jamaica was one of the signatories to the Treaty of Chaguaramas and has, from then until now, with varying degrees of intensity, committed itself to the regional integration movement.”
In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Chairman of this year’s conference and host Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, reminded his colleagues that they were charged with the task of steering their various ships of state in what could be sometimes termed treacherous waters. He told his counterparts that there should be “one common agenda” to ensure the prosperity of member states, adding that the governance structure needed to be re-organised at the national level “on our own terms” and not as a result of pressure from external forces.
At the close of yesterday’s business session, the CARICOM Heads examined ways of advancing the Regional Agenda for Economic Development, and they exchanged views with the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States, José Miguel Insulza, and the Secretary-General of the African Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
They will meet today in caucus to continue their deliberations. (GIS)