JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has described the opening of the permanent headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat as a tangible manifestation of the achievements and commitment of the people of the Caribbean.
“It embodies the spirit and vision of the fathers and mothers of our Community, who travelled those difficult early miles to lay the foundation for a Community of which we can be justly proud,” the Prime Minister said at the opening of the building in Georgetown, Guyana on Saturday (Feb. 19).
As such, the Prime Minister said he was unrepentant in his view, that the region could not perpetuate the reliance on others “to interpret the meaning of our laws and the requirements of our Constitutions”.
He pointed out that CARICOM leaders should not be content with the erection of the new facility, but added that the task ahead was to advance the work of community building. “We are summoned to create the institutional machinery and build the capacity, which will enable us to exercise our sovereignty – individually and collectively – for improving the quality of life of the Caribbean people,” the Prime Minister stated.
He noted that the journey towards regional integration has not been a smooth one but despite the many challenges, the spirit of the people of the Caribbean has not been broken. He said the deepening of the integration movement and the pooling of resources, was now an absolute imperative to prevent the region from vanishing without a trace in the waves of globalization and the tide of hegemony, which now prevailed.
Stating that the 1973 Treaty of Chaguaramas provided for the creation of the Common Market and the pursuit of functional cooperation as vital elements of the integration process, he said the Community must now look forward to the inauguration of the CARICOM Single Market by December 2005 with all member states fully on board.
Mr. Patterson noted that CARICOM has been able to foster the development of Pan-Caribbean trade and industry, resulting in a remarkable growth of enterprise throughout the region.
He said efforts must now be made to enhance the technical capacity of the Secretariat to enable it to bring substantial policy and programmes to the point of decision making, by the Community organs.

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