PM Gonsalves succeeds Mia Mottley as CARICOM Chair

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Prime Ministers Mia Mottley and Ralph Gonsalves (Photo via Barbados Government Information Service)

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government are presently holding a special conference today (Friday July 3), which will see Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley handing over the six-month CARICOM Chairmanship to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The official handing over of the chairmanship of the regional bloc will be the highlight of this Twentieth Special Meeting of CARICOM Heads.

The conference is being held via video conference throughout the region.

Speaking on the situation in Guyana, PM Mottley said that there are certain democratic values the region stands for based on the CARICOM Charter of Civil Society, a main one being the holding of elections which are credible.

She said that it is “regrettable” that today, July 3rd – more than four months after the General and Regional Elections were held in Guyana – a credible winner has still not been declared.

 

Mottley had previously stated that CARICOM expects the results of the elections to be on the basis of the national recount which was certified as credible by a CARCIOM Observation Team.

Similarly, Dr Gonsalves, during a NBC Radio Programme had warned that the regional bloc will not tolerate the “stealing” of an election, nor allow the results from the recount process to be set aside.

“I am satisfied that CARICOM will not stand by idly and watch the recount which was properly done for the results to be set aside,” Mr Gonsalves had expressed.

Mr Owen Arthur, a former Bajan Prime Minister, during an interview on Kaieteur Radio had also contended that: “Mr Ralph Gonsalves is in perfectly good order” in relation to his pronouncements on the Guyana situation.

He had noted that Guyana, along with other CARICOM countries, is a signatory to the Charter of Civil Society and this places an obligation on countries to ensure that they follow key democratic practices – a main element being the holding of free and fair elections.

“We operate with each other based on the Treaty of Chaguaramas …Therefore we bound ourselves to the practice of good governance.”

“Any departure from the practice of principles of free elections is an infringement of the Charter of Civil Society,” Arthur highlighted.

The Caribbean Community has 15 Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, and five Associate Members – Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.