Declaring his government’s full support for the deepening and widening of CARICOM, President Donald Ramotar yesterday said he is convinced that member countries could be more prosperous if bold steps are taken to bolster integration.
In a message to mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the integration movement on July 4th, 1973, the President said that “Integration implies, however, that our peoples must be vested with the right to move and do business across the region without imposed barriers”. He said that while the Heads of Government since 1989 have recommitted to hassle-free movement in the region “insularity continues to plague our union and poses a threat to what we envisage for our peoples”.
While progress has been made, it is necessary in other areas to meet the demands of the international environment. “Critical to this is the work of the CARICOM Secretariat in performing at its intended optimum. In this regard, Guyana welcomed the reform process currently taking place across the region. This process will see the restructuring of the Secretariat, and other regional institutions to make these institutions more proactive to anticipate and respond to the current trends in a timely manner”, he added. Contending that many are unaware of the work being done by CARICOM on behalf of the wider community, Ramotar said “There is therefore need for more sensitization of the work of CARICOM, thereby allowing for a greater appreciation not only by Guyanese citizens, but also nationals across the region”.
He noted the successes of the regional integration movement such as the Caribbean Examinations Council, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Court of Justice and posited that a “strategically repositioned Caribbean Community can continue to make a significant impact at the global level through among other things forging new partnerships with Third States and the further strengthening of its relations with other regional groupings such as the Union of South American Nations…”
In its message, the PNCR noted that the Founding Fathers of CARICOM and the signatories to the founding Treaty of Chaguaramas were Prime Ministers Errol Barrow for Barbados; Forbes Burnham for Guyana; Michael Manley for Jamaica; and Eric Williams for Trinidad and Tobago.
“The PNCR takes great pride in the role of our Founder Leader in the regional integration movement. Our Party trusts that even as we celebrate this occasion, we will all continue to commit ourselves to the strengthening and advancement of our common Caribbean home.
“The PNCR has played a pivotal role in promoting and sustaining the movement for the development of a common Caribbean identity and a strong Regional Economy (and) is familiar with the recent challenges which have tested the resolve and commitment of the Leaders of the Community. The integration process has been c
hallenged before, in various ways, but it has survived them and as a result, is today one of the oldest integration movements in the World”, the party said.
The PNCR, the main component of the opposition coalition APNU, said that the PNCR would “never lose faith in the resilience of the Community, despite the trials.”