The Caribbean Community (CARCIOM) through its executive officials received yesterday at Guyana’s Secretariat at Liliendaal the credentials for the first ever Sweden plenipotentiary representative to CARICOM Claes Hammar.
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, received the credentials.
Ambassador LaRocque welcomed Hammar to CARICOM and spoke to the mutual benefits and cordiality of the bilateral union of Sweden and CARICOM.
He spoke to the impact of climate change which he said threatens “our very existence, given the reality of sea level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of climatic events.”
According to Ambassador LaRocque the effects of climate change is just one example of actions in the international arena “which has it genesis outside of its borders but expose the vulnerability of small states particularly from exogenous shocks.”
The Secretary General also spoke of the global financial, economic crisis which “continues to have a disproportionate impact on most of the economies of CARICOM member states.”
He said that due to the flawed assumption that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita is the primary measure of development many small countries are denied of the needed resources to assist “in alleviating the situation we are faced with.”
He said that it does not take into account other critical factors such as lack of resilience of these shocks.
According to LaRocque, “The impact of such global phenomena on our small states is out of proportion to that of the more developed countries and impaired the capacity of small states to pursue the divide development path.”
The Secretary General spoke also to the proliferation of small arms in CARICOM member states. “The illegal trade in arms along with the international trade in illegal drugs has severely compromised the security of our citizens and threatens our economic and social development,” said LaRocque.
He said that CARICOM played an active role in United Nations (UN) negotiations arms trade treaty and stressed the need for Sweden’s support and signature to the treaty since CARICOM looks “forward to collaborating with you on its implementation.”
LaRocque spoke of Sweden’s contribution of US$5.2B for Overseas Development Assistance which he posited is evidence of its desire to assist those countries which are less fortunate.
“I trust that in identifying countries that will benefit from your development assistance we will take into account the peculiar vulnerability of small developing states.”
He articulated that within CARICOM there are areas in which a significant amount of work has to be done to give those less privileged a better life and raise the standard of living.
“There are distinct possibilities for us to work together to improve e.g. the prospects of our youths to rescale the large cohort of our unemployed and help build the human resource capital so necessary for our sustainable development” said LaRocque.
Sweden Plenipotentiary to CARICOM, Claes Hammar, in presenting his credentials spoke to his country’s foreign policy which he said actively contributes to freedom, peace and reconciliation around the world.
“We work to promote democracy, human rights and sustainable development in cooperation with other countries, regionally and multilaterally.”
He said that Sweden recognizes the seriousness of the global challenges facing the environment and pledged “continued cooperation with CARICOM in this area where we have many common interests.”
He said that Sweden has a commitment with the EU [European Union] that has strategic links with other global actors.
Ambassador Hammar said that Sweden “is working for a world of equality, where everyone’s rights are respected regardless of gender, skin colour, beliefs or sexual orientation.”
He said also that freedom of expression and religion must be further strengthened.
According to Ambassador Hammar, Sweden which is the third largest humanitarian government, has a long standing commitment to peace keeping, conflict prevention, mediation and he believes that this commitment is also shared with Caribbean Countries.
He said that they also share the vision that smaller countries need to be represented and make important contributions.
Hammar said that he looks forward to the opportunity to enhance cooperation between Sweden and CARICOM.
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