Feb 08, 2012 News
-as 29th Caricom Council of Ministers meeting gets underway
An urgent call was made yesterday by Suriname Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Winston Lackin, for the Caribbean Community to join forces if needful changes are to be realized. Lackin made the appeal in his capacity as Chairman of the 29th Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers, which took place at the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.
He disclosed that although a number of decisions were made over the last decade within the Community, there is still need for these to be implemented, “if we want to survive as a Region. We have to do structural things and present decisions to our Heads to help Regional institutions to get out of the situation we are in.” He pointed out that it is a known fact that the impact of the financial crisis and the effects of Climate Change have directly affected the Region, even as he reiterated the need for more collaboration if the Region is to remain united.
He revealed that having perused the agenda for the Meeting, it was observed that more than 99 per cent of the issues have been there for a long time and “we are not finding solutions for them.”
Most of them, he revealed, have to do with the lack of finances even as he alluded to member states that are having serious financial problems.
“We are not in a position to make a contribution. When we look at our organization we see institutions that we have put in place that are not functioning because of finances.”
“We have to do things differently. We need to change our ideas and our behaviour and the way we have been doing business…We can’t even ensure security in our Region and it is directly related to our population’s survival…We can’t control our own institutions, so it is time for us to come together and change the way of doing business.”
Lackin expressed optimism that the conclusion of the meeting would see decisions being taken to change the way of doing business. He amplified the need to find means to create finances to get rid of the existing situation even as he pointed to the Region’s dependence on funding from outside sources.
“We have to think outside of the box to find solutions, to create CARICOM enterprises and business opportunities…Let us join our national resources and intelligences to have the possibility of controlling and directing our own institutions and come to a position where we can decide our own destiny, because if we keep on depending on funds from the European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom we will not find structural solutions for the problems we are facing,” Lackin added.
Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in delivering opening remarks at the meeting, pointed out that the Council is meeting at a time when the Community continues to ask hard questions of itself and the role of all of its organs, bodies and institutions against a background of the demand by Heads of Government. As such he noted that the actions that are engaged must make a meaningful impact on the ground even as he pointed to his movements throughout the Region where he met with various stakeholders. “I have heard firsthand the concerns expressed by our Heads, by you, our Ministers, and the citizenry of our communities and there is an urgent call to do things differently if we are to deliver what is expected of us.”
He noted too, that it is within the Council that the responsibility resides to function as a preparatory body for meetings of the Conference of Heads of Government and thereby to determine what matters may be laid before it. In other words, he said that “this Council should be the fulcrum around which the Community swivels. It is within your purview to discuss whether these highly pivotal functions are being adequately discharged.” He added too, that a process of review cannot be completed at any one meeting but rather, discussions are urgent and must form a major part of the introspection which the Community is poised to undertake.
Yesterday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers, for the first time, saw the attendance of Ministers from Jamaica and Saint Lucia.
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