Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Edwin Carrington, was last evening (March 23) bestowed with the Commander of the Number of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain, in recognition of his years of distinguished service to the region and the process of integration.
The conferment of the high honour was authorised by His Majesty the King of Spain.
Spanish Secretary of State for Latin America and the Caribbean, His Excellency Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, and Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva presided over the formal ceremony, which was held at the official residence of the Embassy of Spain in Jamaica, on Norbrook Road.
The ceremony coincided with the first European Union (EU)-CARIFORUM Senior Officials Meeting on Political Dialogue, which was held in Kingston yesterday. The meeting is a lead up to the Summits of Heads of EU/CARIFORUM and EU-Latin America and the Caribbean slated for Madrid from May 17 to 18.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh (centre) is in discussion with Spanish Secretary of State for Latin America and the Caribbean, His Excellency Juan Pablo de Laiglesia (right), and Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva at yesterday’s (March 23) ceremony to confer Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Edwin Carrington, with the Commander of Number of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain, in recognition of his years of distinguished service to the region and the process of integration. The ceremony was held at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador on Norbrook Road, Kingston.
In presenting the award, Secretary of State de Laiglesia noted that Dr. Carrington had played a critical role in Caribbean integration, and had earned the respect of regional and international leaders for service to the territory.
“The Government of Spain greatly appreciates the role he has played in deepening relations between Spain and CARICOM and his full participation in the CARICOM/Spain Summits have been highly valued,” Mr. de Laiglesia stated.
He noted that the occasion was fitting, following on the heels of the “very successful” meeting of political dialogue, and serves to pave the way forward for greater cooperation between Europe and the Caribbean.
In accepting the honour, Dr. Carrington said it is always satisfying to be recognised for one’s contribution, particularly in advancing cooperation between states and peoples.
Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Edwin Carrington (left), is presented with the insignia for the Commander of Number of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain, by Spanish Secretary of State for Latin America and the Caribbean, His Excellency Juan Pablo de Laiglesia. Dr. Carrington received the honour, under authorisation of the King of Spain, in recognition of his years of distinguished service to the region and the process of integration. The award ceremony was held yesterday (March 23) at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador, Norbrook Road, Kingston.
“Such recognition as I have received tonight should be an inspiration to those who serve and it is in that spirit that I accept this award from his Majesty the King of Spain, to whom I wish to convey my most profound thanks, and deepest appreciation,” he stated.
Noting the historical relationship between Spain and the Caribbean, which dates back to the 15th Century, Dr. Carrington said that such cooperation took on new life with the first ever institutional contact between a Spanish head of government and CARICOM, when the then Prime Minister, Jose Maria Anzar met with CARICOM Heads in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad in 1999.
“The cooperation has grown from strength to strength, with Prime Minister Jose Jose Zapatero and CARICOM leaders fully engaged in the process, having met regularly and due to meet again soon in May,” he noted.
Dr. Carrington pointed out that the framework agreements for cooperation between CARICOM and Spain has guided relations over the past 11 years, producing mutual benefits. He said Spain’s decision in 2007 to appoint an ambassador to CARICOM has served to energise the relations between both sides, establishing “a point of ready contact”.
“As we look forward to the next Summit, we can look back with satisfaction to what has been accomplished in the past 11 years and seek to ensure that the level of cooperation is heightened and that the May 2010 summit becomes a catalyst in that regard,” Dr. Carrington stated.
In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh said: “I am moved that the King of Spain has seen it fit to give (Dr. Carrington) this award and to honour him for the service that he has given to the Caribbean, the African and Pacific countries, and the rest of the world.
He has truly been a great son of the Caribbean”.
Dr. Baugh said the region is looking forward to the May Summit, noting that “Jamaica and the Caribbean are deeply grateful for the relationship that is mushrooming, (and) the closer integration that we are having with Europe, with Spain, (and) other countries.
The ceremony was attended by members of the diplomatic corps; Ministers of Government, and other Government officials; members of the Opposition, former Governor-General, Sir Kenneth Hall, and wife Rema Holding Hall; and a slew of sector leaders.