Carrington wants stronger bonds between Secretariat, community institutions

CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington has underscored the need to strengthen the relationship between the CARICOM Secretariat and the various community institutions while addressing yesterday’s first ever assembly of regional institutions in the 34-year life of the Caribbean Community.

Referring to the meeting as historic, the Secretary-General also stated that it was perhaps overdue but certainly timely, “coming at a time when more than ever, our Caribbean Community is in urgent need of deeper co-operation and collaboration, the very goal of this inaugural meeting.”

Carrington was speaking on the occasion of the first meeting of the Secretary-General and Heads of Community Institutions at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, a release from the secretariat said.

He noted that as chief executive officer of the community, he had been giving “serious consideration to the need to strengthen the relationship between the CARICOM Secretariat and the various community institutions, with a view to enhancing the collaboration and cooperation that already exists among us.”

“This need I saw as becoming more pressing as the community launched its Single Market in January 2006 and it is likely to become even more so as the process of establishing the framework for the Single Economy by 2008 intensifies,” Carrington declared.

He further contended that the efficient functioning of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in the dynamic global environment will certainly require the more effective harnessing of the institutions and agencies of the community.

From that standpoint as well, he suggested, the major objective of this first encounter of the community’s institutions, generally speaking, must be a “frank exchange of views on the broad vision for the development of the community and on the contribution that these institutions can make towards achieving that vision.”

In that regard, Carrington pointed out that there are a number of important documents which could assist in the deliberations, including the report edited by Professor Norman Girvan entitled “Towards a Single Development Vision and the Role of the Single Economy” and the “Report of the Technical Working Group on the Governance of the Caribbean Community”, by the Technical Working Group headed by Professor Vaughan Lewis.

The foundation document, he added, is of course the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

According to the Secretary-General, a related critical aspect of their discussions would be the more efficient financing of their institutions. And this issue, he said, also calls for sharper focus on the determination of priorities bearing in mind that the resources are far from being unlimited.

“I therefore urge that we use this opportunity to enhance our collaboration by exchanging ideas on our respective work programmes, with a view hopefully to developing a framework within which we can pursue common goals, avoid duplication of effort, and develop synergies, all in the implementation of programmes and projects,” Carrington said.

He also expressed the hope that yesterday’s landmark event in the host country of the Caribbean Community, Guyana, would be a starting point and subsequently a biennial event and a forum for continuous dialogue and consequent concerted action.

He recalled that at the 28th regular meeting in Barbados last July, the Conference of Heads of Government issued “the Declaration of Needham’s Point” entitled A Community for All, and in that document the leaders outlined the community’s new thrust which places functional co-operation at the heart of the regional integration process. In that context, he added, they recognised the critical need for a comprehensive review of regional institutions to better provide common services and coordination of policies and programmes within the community.

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