Regional Security, Climate Change take center stage at CARICOM Heads meeting in St Vincent

Georgetown, GINA, March 10, 2014

Press Release

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government, including President Donald Ramotar opened their Inter-Sessional Meeting at the Buccament Bay Resort in Kingstown, the capital of St Vincent and the Grenadines today, with Regional Security and Climate Change headlining the agenda.

During the opening ceremony, incoming CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves re-emphasised the need for the 15-member regional grouping to gain momentum in its work.

He recognised the continuous criticism of the Community’s slow pace or sometimes failure to implement decisions of its agencies, but lamented the fact that the grouping is not a single state, but rather a society of sovereign states, and as such there is need for unity to ensure the work of the body moves forward.

“The success of the CARICOM enterprise truly begins with the political leadership, though it does not end with us alone, it’s us, our national populations and our national institutions,” Dr Gonsalves said.

He expressed optimism that the meeting will address the key agenda items and end with some level of results, with the aim of improving the lives of the peoples of the Caribbean.

“ This inter-sessional Conference of Heads of State and Government has nominally a long agenda, essentially though the subjects to be discussed have one focus, that is to improve the lives and quality of living of the people of CARICOM,” he noted.

The St Vincent PM also expressed gratitude to CARICOM Heads for their support to his country, during the December 2013 torrential rains which claimed the lives of 11 persons and damaged major infrastructure in the country.

President Ramotar is expected to make a presentation to his colleague heads on climate change and the need for the region to take urgent action.

The Guyanese delegation at the two-day meeting includes Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Head of the Climate Change Unit at the Office of the President Shyam Nokta and Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Elisabeth Harper

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