Outgoing CARICOM SG says “we have achieved a lot”
Roseau – Outgoing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque suggested that “another mechanism” be utilised in getting member countries to strengthen their existing cooperation and collaboration for the future development of the region.
La Rocque was speaking on on the television programme “Annou Pale” (Let’s Talk), hosted by Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Sunday.
“One of the things I have noticed that we can only move as fast as the slowest member state and that slows us down quite a bit, so I think if we had another mechanism going forward, we could achieve a lot more,” La Rocque said.
“We have achieved a lot. Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to minimise that, but I think there could be greater achievements if we were all working in concert.”
La Rocque leaves office next month after 11 years as the region’s top public servant at the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat and will be replaced by Dr. Carla Bennett, a national of Belize, who will be the first woman selected for the post.
La Rocque also commented on the progress being made under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
“I think we have before us now an opportunity, the decisions the heads have taken that we will go with the coalition of the willing,” La Rocque said.
“Some are calling it the coalition of the willing, some are calling it enhanced cooperation. But those who are ready to go forward, let us go forward with it, leave the door open for others to come along.”
The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across most of the 15-member regional integration grouping and LaRocque said it was important for the Caribbean to make progress in that regard.
“There are areas I think could have gone a little much further, I have to admit that…but we have had some achievements there,” he said.
“We have gone from five categories of skills to 10, I wish there were lots more,” La Rocque said, and noted that “a major part of the market has been introduced by public procurement”.
“We have also introduced contingent rights so that when a person moves in our region, their family can move with them under certain circumstances and benefit from certain rights,” he said.
“Another major issues is the introduction of the multilateral air services agreement, which allows for, hopefully, the further development of the air services in our region….”
La Rocque said that the Caribbean population will judge the integration movement on the ability for people to be able to move around freely.