Culture lives here! That’s definitely the message sent to those in attendance at the official opening ceremony of the 46th regular meeting of the conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) on Sunday evening.
The ceremony, held at the National Cultural Center (NCC), was punctuated by several cultural presentations that not only highlighted Guyana’s vibrant culture but also that of other caricom jurisdictions.

Opening the official remarks was Caricom Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett who registered full confidence that under the guidance of President Dr Irfaan Ali as chairman of the conference, with the necessary support, the interests of the region will be accelerated.

Dr. Burnett said that the matters before Caricom at this meeting will have a significant impact on the direction of the community. She added that the region’s resilience, adaptability and development will be examined in detail.

The Secretary General also acknowledged that significant technical and policy work has led to accomplishments in various areas, including for food security, advancing aspects of the CARICOM single market and economy, border security, air and maritime transportation among others.

Further, Dr. Barnett committed that Caricom will work with stakeholders to help find solutions to the multi dimensional crisis in Haiti. Further, she said that Caricom is committed to retaining the region as a zone of peace, despite various broader controversies and the passage of guns and dangerous threats to the regional territory.

Dr. Barnett said too that Caricom will continue to tackle those and other issues during this 46th meeting. She said that the dedicated hours in plenary caucus and retreat sessions will be focused on movement on solutions in the best interest of the region and its citizens.

Additionally, the Secretary General noted that Caricom’s determined advocacy has helped to spur positive change for critical emissary and global issues. She said that the decision of complaint dated December 2023, to operationalize the loss and damage Fund, and the growing acknowledgement in the international community that the Bridgetown initiative presents a more relevant financial approach to addressing the unique needs of origin are two examples of the impact of CARICOM’s advocacy.

Addressing President Ali, Dr. Barnett said, “As you carry us forward as a standard bearer for CARICOM for the next six months, there is a heavy regional and global agenda, which demands our undivided attention and active engagement in spite of the ever present vagaries of the global landscape.”

She continued, “Let us therefore harness the wisdom of our 50 years of existence, learning from what we have done well, and what we know we can do better.”


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