Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has been selected to serve as the seventh Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by the Heads of Government.
LaRocque, 56, a national of Dominica, replaces Sir Edwin Carrington of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ambassador LaRocque is the current Assistant Secretary-General for Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat, having served in that post since September 2005.
He was educated at Queen’s College and the New School for Social Research, both in New York and New York University, majored in Political Philosophy, Political Economics and Economics respectively.
Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary-General, he served as Permanent Secretary in various Ministries in Dominica for more than fourteen years, including in the Ministries of Trade, Industry, Enterprise Development, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs, where he headed the diplomatic service. He also served as the principal advisor to the Government of Dominica on all matters pertaining to economic integration and regional and international trade.
He was Dominica’s senior policy adviser on the revision of the original Treaty of Chaguaramas and served on the CARICOM Inter-Governmental Task Force which drafted the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Ambassador LaRocque has a wealth of experience in management, public administration, economic development, trade, foreign affairs and diplomacy.
During the period when Dominica underwent a structural adjustment programme, he was a member of the Cabinet-appointed Public Sector Reform Task Force, which included the private sector, trade unions and non-governmental organisations, with responsibility for the overall management, planning and performance review of the public sector reform process.
He also served as the Chairman of the Consultative Working Group, a public/private sector consultative and advisory committee appointed by the Dominica Cabinet, with focus on the enabling environment for private sector development and growth.
He has served on several Boards, including those of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Caribbean Export, the Dominica Agricultural, Industrial and Development Bank, and the Dominica National Development Corporation.
As Assistant Secretary-General, he provided strategic leadership for the continuing implementation and further development of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), as well as the Sectoral Programmes of the Community including agriculture, services, industry and energy.
Ambassador LaRocque has managed diplomatic negotiations with third countries and international development partners which required political acumen for successful completion. He has testified, on behalf of the Community, before the US International Trade Commission on trade relations between the Caribbean and the US with emphasis on extending and expanding the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).
He is currently the Co-Chair of the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council and is leading the negotiations with the United States Trade Representative Office for a new Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
He has gained considerable experience with the European arrangements through his involvement in developing and negotiating with the Commission of the European Union, development assistance under the European Development Fund.
It is the opinion of many that Ambassador LaRocque’s experience in national public sector reform will be critical in the reform and restructuring process of the CARICOM Secretariat, which is currently in progress.
Ambassador LaRocque has served and had a close working relationship with several Prime Ministers of his homeland, and also in the Region by interacting with and providing advice to various Heads of Government and Cabinets in his capacity as Assistant Secretary General.
CARICOM Chairman Honorable Dr Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, in announcing the selection said: “My colleague Heads of Government and I believe that Ambassador LaRocque possesses the requisite skills of visionary leadership, courage and commitment required to guide the Community at this time of change and uncertainty.”
Secretary-General-designate LaRocque in his reaction expressed his deep appreciation for the confidence reposed in him by the Heads of Government.
“I am humbled and privileged for this opportunity to continue my service to the Governments and people of the Caribbean Community. As we strive towards the goal of a Community For All, the confidence of the Heads of Government, the support of the people of the Community and the committed staff of the CARICOM Secretariat are vital in achieving that objective,”
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