CARICOM SG says 2015 a ful­fill­ing year for the Caribbean Com­mu­nity

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

(CARICOM) Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Am­bas­sador Ir­win LaRocque has sin­gled out unity, com­mit­ment and in­no­va­tive ideas among the fea­tures that helped to fash­ion a ful­fill­ing 2015 in the re­gion.

“This past year has been a most ful­fill­ing one for us in the Caribbean Com­mu­nity. The value of our in­te­gra­tion move­ment proved it­self at home and abroad as we con­tin­ued our ef­forts to pro­vide an im­proved stan­dard of liv­ing for all our cit­i­zens. The progress that we have made on many fronts has been due to our act­ing in con­cert to se­cure the best op­tion for our Com­mu­nity,” he said in an end of year mes­sage.

The Sec­re­tary Gen­eral said he was con­fi­dent that with ini­tia­tives un­der­way, bol­stered by the “tan­gi­ble ev­i­dence of what our unity” could achieve, the re­gion would pro­vide “the safe, se­cure and vi­able so­ci­ety that will make us all proud to be cit­i­zens of CARICOM”.

LaRocque added that sus­tained eco­nomic growth will cre­ate the jobs nec­es­sary for main­tain­ing a de­cent qual­ity of life and CARICOM coun­tries were work­ing to­wards achiev­ing that as well.

“Many of our mem­ber states are fac­ing fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic chal­lenges, in­clud­ing high debt and be­ing grad­u­ated out of ac­cess to fi­nanc­ing at con­ces­sional rates. We are making strides in ad­dress­ing th­ese is­sues, par­tic­u­larly with re­spect to chang­ing the cri­te­ria for ac­cess to con­ces­sional fi­nanc­ing. Also, in­ter­est­ing and in­no­va­tive ideas have been put for­ward to al­le­vi­ate the debt bur­den. The achieve­ment of our goals in those two ar­eas will greatly as­sist in the ef­forts to en­cour­age growth,” he said.

Re­call­ing CARICOM’s progress over the year, he noted that its at­tempts to in­flu­ence the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to sup­port po­si­tions which ad­vance the re­gion’s in­ter­ests also met with some suc­cess at ma­jor global con­fer­ences held this year to deal com­pre­hen­sively with the chal­lenges of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

“For us in the Caribbean Com­mu­nity, the out­come of th­ese global dis­cus­sions, par­tic­u­larly on the is­sue of cli­mate change, bore sig­nif­i­cant rel­e­vance as we con­tin­ued to seek to build our eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­silience both of which are pri­or­i­ties in the Com­mu­nity’s Strate­gic Plan. We did our­selves proud at each of the events with our uni­fied ap­proach re­sult­ing in favourable out­comes,” the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral said.

He stressed that to ful­fil the po­ten­tial of the de­ci­sions taken at th­ese con­fer­ences will re­quire the re­gion to con­tinue to strengthen the co-or­di­na­tion of for­eign pol­icy.

CARICOM Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Am­bas­sador Ir­win LaRocque.

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