Caricom must rely on resource persons as it shapes new five-year strategic plan

Caricom Secretary-Gen-eral Irwin LaRocque said that in seeking to prioritise Caircom’s foreign policy agenda it is necessary to rely on the knowledge and experience of resource persons in foreign policy practice, among others areas as the region pursues the promotion and protection of its interests in a changing global environment.

In his speech at the 17th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), La Rocque said the new chair of the council should seek advice from persons in foreign policy practice, academia and economics as there has been major transformations in the balance of power on the international scene, according to a Communique from the Caricom Secretariat. Guyana, under the leadership of Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett has assumed the COFCOF chairmanship.

LaRocque said the community has taken into account the narrowing of interests of its traditional partners in their relations with Caricom and the new layers of complexity that render efforts at coordination of foreign policy challenging but even more necessary. “…There is now a multiplicity of centres of power and influence,” he said, adding that the US remains a major and arguably indispensable global actor as it still retains the foremost military power; the health of its economy, the largest in the world, still matters to the global economy, and the “soft power” of American cultural forms is unrivalled.

“Emerging from its economic stagnation, the EU remains another major centre of political and economic influence. The influence of the BRICS, (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on the global economic system is increasing along with their strategic weight,” he said.

Among the BRICS, China is a rising global power that has been aggressively expanding its economic and financial reach to the various regions of the world including Latin America and the Caribbean.

There have been a number of predictions that it could eventually overtake the USA as the most powerful global economic power.

There are also the Gulf States with their enormous sovereign wealth funds looking for high return investments. “I would also mention Singapore.

In many ways it is a model of the success that the knowledge economy and emphasis on long-term planning, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship can achieve for a country that has no natural resources but has been able to build on its strategic location and human resources,” the secretary-general said. He asserted that the Caribbean Community can learn from that country’s experience and modus operandi.

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