President Bharrat Jagdeo has issued a sober charge to fellow regional leaders, advising them that in realising the community’s goals, they should focus more on outcomes rather than on processes.
President Jagdeo, who inches closer to the end of his second term as President of Guyana, was speaking during the closing moments of the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis on CARICOM Day, Monday. According to a press release from the CARICOM Secretariat at Turkeyen, he lamented that sometimes Heads of Government were too pre-occupied with processes and traditions and warned that they should not get too comfortable with the ‘familiar’ or rest on their laurels.
The task of leading the integration movement, he stated, was not a public relations job.
“People judge us on results, therefore we should judge ourselves on results,” the release quoted him as saying
In moving forward, President Jagdeo exhorted his colleagues that they should “always ascertain the value added to the process before plunging into new initiatives.”
As an example, he recommended that those member states that were negotiating with the International Monetary Fund should place the emphasis more on growth programmes rather than on stabilisation programmes in order to maximise the benefits for their country.
He also urged his colleagues to defend fiercely the Caribbean Community and to recognise how far the community had come in spite of the plethora of struggles “that no other region has experienced.”
In bidding farewell to his colleagues, Jagdeo reiterated his passion for the regional integration movement and expressed his conviction that he was leaving the fate of the community in safe and committed hands.
Jagdeo said he was satisfied that the 15-member grouping, in its 38 years, had made remarkable gains, which had assumed even greater significance because of how far the region had travelled – from slavery through emancipation to crown colony government to stable democracies.
“We must never ever forget that!” he emphasised.
He added that the community was relatively small “but had always packed a punch bigger than our size in world affairs.”
However, “if we want to continue to do so, we have to keep our thinking fresh and be creative in the way we try to safeguard prosperity in our region or else we may lose that distinct historic advantage,” he cautioned.
And referring to his tenure as the youngest serving Guyanese President, he said he was satisfied that he had made a difference in his country and had re-shaped its image from a place where there was a sense of hopelessness to one of hope.
In acknowledging President’s Jagdeo’s advice, Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse – one of the most recent additions to the conference – noted that Jagdeo had played a good inning.
Meanwhile, former CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Grenada Tilman Thomas also applauded Jagdeo’s contribution to the region, noting that he is a regionalist and a loyal supporter of CARICOM, the release concluded.