Jun 15, 2009 News
…Jagdeo calls for regional countries to recommit to integration process
As regional integration comes under focus once again at the upcoming Heads of Government meeting in Guyana, the region for the first time may have a joint office in Europe later this year.
During a recent press conference, Caricom Secretary General, Edwin Carrington, told the media that at present, the Secretariat is exploring possibilities to have an office set up to represent the entire Caricom.
“We expect to have the finalized costing soon and there might well be a first Caricom joint representation in Europe,” Dr. Carrington said.
He, however, did not disclose the location of the proposed office.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, who hosted the press conference with the Secretary General, said that Guyana has proposed joint missions in South Africa and Geneva, but did not make much progress in venture.
Meanwhile, President Jagdeo, who is the incoming Chairman of Caricom, called for member states to recommit to the integration process as the regional integration movement remains on course.
Addressing the issue of the upcoming Heads of Government meeting, President Jagdeo, who is also the lead Head of Government with responsibility for Agriculture in Caricom, said that in light of the anxieties of the fragility of the regional integration movement, it was critical to affirm that ‘the integration movement is as strong as ever before.’
The Head of State acknowledged that the Community was grappling with ‘unprecedented challenges’, many of which were induced by the global financial and economic crisis.
He however pointed out that the institutional mechanisms set up to guide Caricom through this period, must be allowed to work.
He also emphasised that Caricom leaders had a ‘deep desire’ to work together to achieve the objectives of the integration movement towards the development of a better community for all.
The differences of opinions, which were inevitable wherever diversity existed, should not be used as positive indicators of disunity, he noted.
“Those differences of opinion on various issues are elevated to the level of the disintegration of the movement and that is a contention that I cannot agree with.”
He stressed that the region has made significant progress that individual member states could not have made by themselves, noting that regional advocacy on critical issues, such as climate change and the reform of the global financial systems and the strides made in education, were among the examples that justified the relevance of the integration movement.
The Caricom Secretary-General also endorsed President Jagdeo’s affirmations of the strength of the community.
Integration, he said, has ‘bumps’ and it has ‘smooth freeways.’
It is unfortunate when the slightest difficulty is interpreted as the final end for the integration process, the Secretary-General said.
Climate change, agriculture, and the deleterious effects of the global financial and economic crises on tourism in the region, are among the weighty issues that could entail lengthy discussions at the upcoming Heads of Government Meeting, the President said.
The Thirtieth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom is scheduled for 2-4 July, 2009.
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