May 07, 2013 News Comments Off on Integration needed to implement solutions for CARICOM- Ambassador
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), has underscored the need for Member States to work together to find and implement solutions to the challenges that face the Community.
Basing his comments on the current state of the global environment and its effects on the Region, the Secretary-General said that while the times are difficult, they also presented an opportunity for the Region to band together
to overcome them.
“It is not by chance that this year we can celebrate 40 years of integration, something that we must be proud of. It is through hard work, commitment and a determination to do what is best for the people of our Caribbean Community that we have kept the fires of integration burning.
“The work of this Council over the next two days must stoke those flames,” Ambassador LaRocque said.
LaRocque also raised the matter of the private sector’s representation at COTED at the opening ceremony of the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the COTED at the Pegasus Hotel, in the context of the changing construct of the Council, and the private sector’s role as a conduit to transform the policies enunciated by the Council into bread and butter issues.
“Honourable Ministers, Heads of Delegation, over the last few Meetings, I have heard you lament about the absence of the private sector at the table. And the private sector too has been seeking to have access to the Council. As you deliberate here today about the future role and construct of the COTED, I urge you to consider positively the plea of the private sector to have a seat at the table of this Council.
“Indeed, any discussion on the strategic direction of the COTED and the Region’s economy could only benefit from the input of our private sector through whom the policies enunciated by the COTED will become bread and butter issues,” the Secretary-General said.
Minister Rodrigues-Birkett also referred to the accommodation of the Region’s private sector at COTED. She went further to suggest an interaction with the private sector as a regional organisation at least once a year.
“This Council, of course, should be in great part about the private sector, and while I think that it is good to have the private sector at the Council, and I support that completely, I have noticed that at OAS meetings, and the Commonwealth meetings, for instance there is always a session prior to the meetings with the private sector,” Minister Rodrigues-Birkett said.
The importance of the private sector was also underscored by the Chairman of COTED, the Hon. Oliver Joseph, Minister of Economic Development, Planning, Trade and Cooperatives of Grenada. He called for the advancing of the work of the Council to send a signal to stakeholders, particularly the private sector, that the COTED is both concerned and responsive about changing its reputation.
The strategic direction of COTED, to take account of the changing global environment and the necessity to more efficiently deliver on the Community’s priorities, is an agenda item of the two-day meeting.
Other items on the agenda are the consolidation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, negotiations for the CARICOM-Canada Trade and Development Agreement, and considerations on the way forward with respect to the threat to CARICOM’s export of rum to the United States.
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