[www.inewsguyana.com] – Speaking about the on-going CARICOM Reform Process, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin LaRocque said it had validated the relevance of the CSME as the platform from which to build the Community’s economic resilience.
Ambassador LaRocque was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth Intersessional Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Monday, March 10.
He said following a review of CSME’s operations by the Prime Ministerial Committee on Sunday, the next steps regarding the process would be presented to the conference.
He said the Commission’s Preliminary Report will recommend that priority attention be focused on fiscal sustainability, including debt management, and promoting a conducive environment that would reduce regional impediments to investment and trade and spur private sector growth and development.
Speaking in more details about the CARICOM Reform Process, Ambassador LaRocque said a broad consensus was emerging on the strategic priorities for CARICOM in the next five years.
He explained that the Reform Process was built around a five-year Strategic Plan for the Community and a transformed Secretariat. He said governance arrangements envisaged based on the Change Consultations must include all the Community institutions as part of a CARICOM architecture for delivering the benefits of the integration movement.
“In that regard, the CARICOM brand must permeate all our institutions and activities as we seek to build our sense of identity” he said.
The Secretary General also indicated that issues of Growth, Sustainable Development, ICT, Human Resources and Transportation were among the priorities that Heads of Government will deliberate on over the next two days.
Regarding ICT, Ambassador LaRocque said it was both an enabler of socio-economic development, as well as a sector in its own right for creating employment.
He said this sector, in both its forms, must be viewed as the new frontier for regional integration and has to be a significant factor in forging a path towards growth and sustainable development and efforts to strengthen Community spirit.
“To enhance those possibilities, the creation of a single ICT space within our Community should be pursued vigorously in our efforts to bring technology to the people, while aiding in building our technological resilience” he said.
In discussing Human Resource Development, Ambassador LaRocque said the issue would be discussed from a holistic approach to the region’s education system. He said this would help to address the shortcomings and challenges that had been observed in Human Resource capacity in both public and private sectors
In concluding his remarks the Secretary General said a sense of unity and solidarity must become the central force that drives the Community to find a route to ignite growth in its economies.
“As we move to reform our Community, let us do so driven by that Spirit and welcome the participation and involvement of all stakeholders in a way that ensures a CARICOM which fulfils the hopes and aspirations of its citizens” Ambassador LaRocque said.