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Warning for Caribbean countries

sherieholder, [email protected]

Warning for Caribbean countries

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 4, CMC –Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will have to change its modus operandi and the way it thinks about integration in order to deal with a changing global environment, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque has said.
Delivering the “Distinguished Open Lecture CARICOM Lecture Series” at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Thursday night, La Rocque said that the region now finds itself at another juncture in the progression of its regional integration movement.
“Our capacity to respond to the various challenges and to exploit such opportunities as they may bring, depend in significant measure, on the extent to which our arrangements can be strengthened. It will require first of all consistent and positive engagement in the areas selected for priority action; secondly, effective decision-making machinery; and thirdly, the capacity to deliver.”
He told the audience, including former CARICOM Secretary general Sir Edwin Carrington, UWI Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Clement Sankat as well as various European diplomats that instituting change is never easy and it is more difficult if it is attempted in the face of entrenched attitudes and structures.
“That notwithstanding, the Community is engaged in a three year reform process that encompasses every facet of its operations.  In short we are changing the way we do business,” La Rocque said, noting that regional leaders last year had agreed it was necessary to re-examine the future direction of the regional integration movement and the arrangements for carrying this forward.
Speaking on the topic “The Status of the Regional Integration Process and His vision for the Future of CARICOM,” La Rocque said this would also include the role and function of the Guyana –based CARICOM Secretariat and the various institutions within CARICOM.
La Rocque who discussed the 40 year history of the integration movement, said that a change facilitation team has been recruited to assist him with this process of change.
The team is now undertaking consultations in member states on the first ever Strategic Plan for the Community. 
“These country consultations provide an opportunity for nationals of each member state and associate member to influence the strategic direction of the Community, their Community, our Community. The five year Strategic Plan will set out a common vision and identify our priority areas of focus over the period.
“Critically, it will also address issues of implementability including the roles and responsibilities of all participants in the Community architecture: namely the Conference of Heads of Government; the Ministerial Councils; the bodies, such as the Committee of Central Bank Governors and the Budget Committee; the CARICOM Secretariat; and the Institutions; as well as issues of governance, institutional and operational arrangements and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.”
But he said that the consultations were not taking place in a vacuum with the consultants drawing on  approved policies and programmes, including the 2007 Single Development Vision; the Strategic Plan for Regional Economic Development,  the priorities articulated by regional leaders  and approved policies and action plans in a range of areas, such as agriculture, energy, industry, security, health, youth, ICT and climate change.