Caricom has demonstrated resilience in this “testing” time – SG
Caricom Day 2020
Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque lauded the Community’s collective resilience during the time of COVID-19, which has aided in properly addressing the pandemic.
He shared these remarks in a statement on Saturday, in commemoration of the Community observing its 47th Anniversary.
According to LaRocque, the day is depicted like no other in the Community’s history, as it is celebrated in an environment that is dominated by health and economic effects thrust upon its Member States by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a time that is testing us as a people. We have done relatively well in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, we have demonstrated that capacity for resilience, which has been the hallmark of our response to the numerous challenges we have faced over time… What we have demonstrated time and again in the face of persistent devastation from natural disasters is a steely resilience, and an ability to rebound and restart. The bedrock of that characteristic is the spirit and determination of Caribbean people, and the banding together of our Member States in times of adversity,” the Ambassador said.
Throughout the decades of the Community’s existence, LaRocque pointed to strides which were made in improving the lives of people within the four pillars of integration movement – economic integration, human and social development, foreign policy coordination and security cooperation. Moreover, the Community’s membership has become more diverse with Dutch-speaking Suriname and French-speaking Haiti added to the previous complement of all English-speaking nations.
“Their inclusion has certainly enhanced our diversity, which is a major strength of our Community. Another strength is the institutions of our integration, which were established to help implement the policies and programmes agreed to by our Heads of Government, and the various Ministerial Councils. They have served our Community well, as is being demonstrated in the so far successful management of our response to COVID-19.”
Caricom has managed to set up various organisations and frameworks to assist its Member States in various sectors. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), through its laboratory in Port of Spain, has been conducting tests for COVID-19 for several countries, proving its usefulness in these unprecedented times.
“A key role in the response is being played by the Regional Security System (RSS), whose aircraft are providing courier service by transporting samples for testing from some Member States to CARPHA in Trinidad and Tobago.”
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is also functioning as the hub for collecting medical equipment and supplies for distribution to the countries.
Furthermore, the Secretary General went on to say that Governments and the Ministerial Councils have been extremely active in leading the charge against this pandemic and its effects. The Caricom Secretariat has also been instrumental in coordinating the response to the pandemic.
“That is Caricom at work for the benefit of the people of the Community. The success of the combined efforts in combatting the challenge of COVID-19 is evidence, not only of the competence and skill of our Caribbean people, but also of the value of a unified region. We need that coordination of our collective skill and spirit more than ever, as we take on the major challenge of rebuilding our devastated economies which have been ravaged by the effects of the pandemic. We must exploit every opportunity provided by the Caricom Single Market and Economy in rebuilding our economies.”
Caricom started its journey with four signatories: Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago and has grown to include another 11 countries to its bloc.