CARICOM must do better in the coming years -TT Prime Minister

CARICOM must do better in the coming years -TT Prime Minister

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley has sounded the alarm over the many challenges facing regional governments and the countries of the region themselves.

At the opening of the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Port of Spain, Dr. Rowley said “never before, have small states faced the broad and deep range of challenges that we face now. From Climate change, pandemic, crime and violence, transnational migration issues to insecurity with food supplies, our region has been buffeted by many systemic storms. Throughout all of this, the majority of our people in the region have proven themselves to be resilient, resourceful and determined and dignifie.

Many countries in the region have found themselves facing a slow recovery from the years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister pointed to the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Fund, the CARICOM Crime and Security Agency as well as the Caribbean Court of Justice as some of the symbols of hope in the region.

He said even though there doubts about the relevance of CARICOM among member states, past experience has shown that countries in the region are stronger together.

“On the world stage we might be small but we are not insignificant. As CARICOM, we are at our strongest, we could be our best,” Rowley said.

Dr. Rowley said the ongoing meeting must be one of introspection for regional leaders. He said CARICOM has been going in the right direction, but time has come for it to examine what more it can do to realize the dream and aspirations of its citizens.

“Together this regional family of nations can examine with pride our achievements during the last half century. We have faced many challenges and have risen to overcome them. Despite the difficulties through our cooperation, our shared goals our regional integration movement has not only survived but it has thrived, expanded and flourish,” Rowley pointed out.

Rowley said the region has learnt a valuable lesson during the COVID-19 pandemic, and even now he said the region is affected by trade restrictions and even more worrisome the region is now being escorted out of the world’s financial systems through de-risking and loss of correspondent banking. He said countries in the region are also now being encouraged by global powers to abandon its hydrocarbon resources even as other expand their industry.

It is for those reasons Mr. Rowley said, the region must chart its own course and do better that it has done over the last fifty years.

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