President David Granger will be pushing for more “intense” cooperation among Member States on regional security when he assumes chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in 2017.
Speaking on a special edition of ‘The Public Interest’ programme which was recorded in Barbados and aired locally on Friday, the Guyanese Leader pointed out that the issue of security in the region is important and no one State on its own can adequately tackle the issue.
He further noted that regional security should be looked at beyond crime fighting and illicit trade, adding that other areas such as emergency relief are fast becoming an integral matter that calls for cooperation among Member States. President Granger believes that together Caribbean countries can make the region a much safer place for its citizens.
According to the Head of State, security in the region does not only warrant cooperation with Britain, the United States or Canada, but there needs to be certain base level cooperation among Caribbean countries.
Moreover, the Guyanese Leader indicated that during his stint as chairman, there would have to be some introspection of Caricom to see where it is and where it wants to be, especially since next year the body will be 44 years old.
“Certainly (Caricom has) matured and we have to make some mature judgments. Is Caricom moving as quickly as we want it to move? Where is it going? And are we serving the citizens of our region the way they expect to be served? I would feel that the most important deliberation will be the consideration of the economy. We have to be able to deliver a certain quality of life to our citizens and that quality of life will be based largely on ‘bread and butter’ issues,” he pointed out.
President Granger stressed that steps need to be taken to have the Single Market and Economy moving so that the wealth of the Caribbean can be used to develop countries in the region to benefit its people.
“Caricom has achieved a tremendous amount over the last 44 years and I feel that the task in 2017 will be to convert that cumulated knowledge into benefits for the people. In that regard, I believe that the promise of a Single Market and Economy is what will deliver a higher quality of life to our citizens,” he stated.
Furthermore, he noted that the region needs to ensure that the educational standards and the social obligations of governments are discharged to benefit their citizens. Additionally he emphasised the importance of enhancing and increasing manufacturing, production and trade among Caribbean States.
President Granger will assume the Chair of Caricom from January 2017.