Caricom gets 1st female Secretary General

– had formerly served as Deputy SG

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) on Tuesday got its first female Secretary General when the Heads of Government, including Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali, unanimously agreed to appoint Dr Carla Natalie Barnett as the eighth Caricom Secretary General.

Dr Carla Natalie Barnett will be the eighth Caricom Secretary General

According to a statement from Caricom, Dr Barnett was unanimously elected at a virtual special session. Dr Barnett, a national of Belize, is the first woman and the first Belizean to be selected for the post. She will replace Ambassador Irwin LaRocque who is coming to the end of his second term. Dr Barnett is expected to assume office on August 15, 2021.
“Heads of Government in congratulating Dr Barnett on her selection, recognised the historic moment for the Community. A former Deputy Secretary General of Caricom, Dr Barnett was formerly Vice President of the Belize Senate and has served in various ministerial capacities in her country’s government,” Caricom said.
Dr Barnett was educated at the University of the West Indies (UWI) where she read for a PhD in Social Sciences. She also holds a Master of Economics degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from UWI.
She has extensive experience at the executive level of the public service in Belize and in the Caricom region. Her work experience includes service as Financial Secretary and Deputy Governor/acting Governor at the Central Bank of Belize. She has also served as a Vice President at the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank.
Her tenure as Caricom Deputy Secretary General coincided with the re-organisation of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat, the Community’s administrative body.
Last week, the Caricom Council of Ministers met to discuss the replacement for LaRocque.
The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) had reported based on sources that the leaders would have to choose between Dr Barnett, the first-ever woman to have served as Deputy Secretary General from 1997 to 2002 and the current Deputy Secretary General, Dr Manorma Soeknandan. Before joining the Caricom Secretariat, where she holds the post of Deputy Secretary General from February 2014, Soeknandan served as the first female Resident Ambassador of the Republic of Suriname to Guyana from 2001 to January 2013.