Caricom Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque has lauded the Caricom-Chile agreement as a model for South-South co-operation.
At a meeting with Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz in Santiago on the first day of an official visit to the country, LaRocque said the pact was “strong and meaningful” and was making an impact in the Community.
In response, Muñoz said Caricom was “very much on Chile’s radar” and gave assurances that the partnership would come to fruition, according to a press release from the Caricom Secretariat.
The Secretary-General also expressed his and the Community’s sympathy to the Chilean Government and people, particularly the citizens of Valparaiso on the loss of life and destruction of property and infrastructure due to the fires raging in the city in recent days.
LaRocque, accompanied by Assistant Secretary-General Foreign and Community Relations Colin Granderson had a busy schedule on the first of a two-day visit on Monday. Apart from meeting with Munoz, he held discussions with the Vice Foreign Minister Edgardo Riveros and reviewed the Plan of Action 2012-2014 for the Caricom-Chile co-operation with Executive Director Jorge Daccarett and his team at the Chilean International Co-operation Agency (AGCI).
The Plan of Action is being implemented in the areas of Education, Agriculture, Disaster Management, Health and programmes for Caricom diplomats. Both sides agreed that there were major successes in the programme dealing with methods of the teaching of Spanish language in the English-speaking Caribbean and in the area of capacity-building in agriculture, in particular with sanitary and phyto sanitary standards, and disaster management.
The Secretary-General also held discussions with the Director of the Chilean Diplomatic Academy, Pablo Cabrera whose institution is currently hosting a group of Caricom diplomats on a course with emphasis on Spanish language training and aspects of diplomacy in conjunction with Mexico. La Rocque’s final engagement for the day was an interactive session with the Chilean Council for International Relations at which he made a presentation on Caricom.
The visit ended yesterday with discussions at the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) and the UN Food and Agriculture Office (FAO) as well as a session at the University of Chile’s Seismological Centre.