As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) marks its 40th anniversary, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is calling on regional leaders to remember the context within which the body was formed, and to live up to the vision of its founders for the benefit of all Caribbean people.
The Prime Minister was speaking in Trinidad on Thursday, July 4, where she was participating in the symbolic signing ceremony to mark 40 years since the opening for signature of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established CARICOM in 1973.
The signing ceremony was held as part of the 34th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM from July 3 to 6.
Jamaica’s participation in the signing ceremony signifies Jamaica’s recommitment to the letter and principles entrenched in the Revised Treaty of 2001.
“The theme we have chosen to mark this significant milestone: ‘Forty (40) years of Integration: Celebration and Renewal’, causes us to cast our eyes in retrospect even as we move steadily forward. It reminds us that the CARICOM construct, as envisaged 40 years ago, is rooted in our history, geography, culture and many other commonalities, which remain fundamental to its existence and survival,” the Prime Minister said.
She reminded participants that an entire generation of Caribbean people has emerged since July 4, 1973, when the first Treaty was signed, which is one reason why it is important to “reacquaint ourselves with the context, which informed the creation of CARICOM.”
She pointed out that CARICOM is more than an organisation or mechanism. “It represents the vision and aspiration of our forefathers for a strong integrated region, which would provide the best prospects for economic and social development. It is our responsibility, not only to remember their vision, but importantly, to live up to it,” she stated.
The Prime Minister further noted that the 40th anniversary milestone provides an opportunity to celebrate the region’s achievements and reflect upon the various challenges over the years “as we seek to predict, strategize and respond to the current and rapidly changing international environment.”
She stated that CARICOM, despite its challenges, remains one of the most highly developed integration movements in the world, which is something to be proud of as a community.
“Of course, we must do serious introspection in this ever changing dynamic international community. We must ensure continuous evaluation and renewal to ensure the capacity of the movement to achieve the objectives of the Revised Treaty,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
Contact: Andrea Braham