[www.inewsguyana.com] – In his end of year message Secretary General of CARICOM (Caribbean Community)Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said unsurprisingly, sustainable economic growth and development emerged as one of the primary areas of concern for stakeholders across the spectrum in 2013.
In this regard he stated that it is the intention of the body, through the efforts of the recently-established CARICOM Commission on the Economy, to explore possible avenues to put the region on a sustainable path. According to him the Commission will provide advice on implementable solutions based particularly on the priority areas set out in the Region’s Growth Agenda.
Ambassador Larocque added that for the Caribbean Community, 2014 dawns with the promise of new directions, prioritization on the critical areas that will deliver more immediate and tangible benefits to people, more strategic approaches and the continued emphasis on youth and empowerment of citizens.
He wished the entire Community Happy Holidays and a prosperous and productive New Year and prayed for a speedy recovery of Member States affected by the recent severe weather.
The Secretary General stated that 2013 was a reflective and celebratory year for the Community as it marked its 40th Anniversary. “That we have come thus far is testimony to our determination and commitment to forge a common destiny as small unified States in this unique corner of the world called the Caribbean. Our Anniversary Theme of ‘Celebration and Renewal’ remains relevant as we bask in our Caribbean-ness, rekindle the spirit of Community and continue our integration quest with an outlook that is shaped by new thinking and different approaches.”
LaRocque in his message further stated that the outlook will be influenced by the necessity for appropriate responses to the current global environment which has placed Member States in dire straits, stymieing growth and development and denying us the wherewithal to create a better standard of living for the people of the Community. He said “indeed, the vulnerability of our Member States and their capacity for resilience came into stark relief last week in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica, when severe weather visited death and destruction and caused a setback to development efforts there.”
He expects the new outlook to also be shaped by the Review and Reform that the Region has undertaken at the behest of the Heads of Government. “We are on schedule to achieve early in the New Year one of our key milestones – the completion of the draft Five-Year Strategic Plan.”
The Plan was crafted following consultations with stakeholders across Member States and Associate Members. The Plan will set out a common vision and identify priority areas of focus over the period and will also address issues of implementability including the roles and responsibilities of all participants in the Community architecture.