JIS News

Regional Heads of Government have been invited by the President of the Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, to attend a two-day retreat in that country to discuss the future of the Caribbean.

While a date has not been finalised for the retreat, the intent is for the region’s leaders to deliberate ahead of the July regular meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government in St. Kitts and Nevis.

A communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 22nd Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Grand Anse, Grenada on

February 26, stated that the invitation comes against the background of acknowledgement by the leaders that the region faces many “serious challenges” to its survival and there is “an apparent loss of momentum” in the regional integration agenda.

It goes on further to say that the Heads of Government are convinced that collective commitment to the regional concept will enable member states to overcome the challenges, while there is consensus about the need to re-assess approaches with a view to determining modalities that would re-energise the regional integration effort.

“Heads of Government recognised that their discussions were taking place against the backdrop of the rapidly changing international environment, including the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, which has had a negative impact on the economies of the region. It was against this background that, despite their concern at the slow pace of the regional integration movement, Heads of Government urged that the Community should not allow itself to be discouraged by the often expressed views that CARICOM was in crisis. They urged, instead, that the region be viewed as being at the crossroads of opportunity,” the document stated.

The communiqué said the regional leaders believed that CARICOM’s leadership, at all levels, should acknowledge the protracted challenges and the urgency of addressing the perception of decline.

In this regard, there was acknowledgement of the need to implement decisions already made and embodied in the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas “living by the spirit of unity and collective action that inspired the Grand Anse Declaration, which preceded it.”

The communiqué said that having re-affirmed their commitment to the regional endeavour and agreed that focus should be placed on improving the welfare of citizens, the leaders are of the view that it was prudent that they adopt a united front and proceed accordingly.