‘We cannot relax our goal of perfecting Regional integration’ – CARICOM Chair

Chairman of CARICOM the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart (CARICOM Photo)
Chairman of CARICOM the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart (CARICOM Photo)

BRIDGETOWN – Chairman of the Conference of the CARICOM Heads of Government the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados said that the goal of perfecting regional integration must remain paramount for the Caribbean Community. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 36th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Bridgetown, Barbados on Thursday. The Meeting is being held under the theme Vibrant Societies, Resilient Economies.

There will never come a time when we will be able to fold our arms and proclaim now the work is o’er the integration movement is perfect. We cannot and should not relax the goal of making our integration movement a perfect one,” Prime Minister Stuart said.

The Barbados Prime Minister said that it was the responsibility of CARICOM leaders to “raise the gaze of our people to new horizons.” He said that in a structured manner, idle hands should be mobilised around the idle lands in the Region.

Pointing to successes in various areas such as sports and culture,the Prime Minister stated that the vibrant societies in CARICOM had put it in the favourable position of being able to undertake with confidence the task of building resilient economies. He said the Caribbean was a civilisation which had always had much to share with the rest of the world and small size had never determined the capacity of a people to nudge history in any particular direction.

In closing Prime Minister Stuart reiterated his message on integration quoting CARICOM founding father Dr. Eric Williams’ words on the occasion of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas: “All our strength is in our union, all our danger is in discord”.

Read Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Remarks

PM Harris calls on DR to cease, desist

Dr Timothy Harris addresses the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting. (CARICOM Photo)
Dr Timothy Harris addresses the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting. (CARICOM Photo)

BRIDGETOWN – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has called on Dominican Republic authorities to cease and desist with any plan that would lead to the expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian descent and render them stateless.

Dr. Harris was addressing the opening ceremony of the 36th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Bridgetown, Barbados on Thursday. The Meeting is being held under the theme Vibrant Societies, Resilient Economies.

Prime Minister Harris, who was elected to office in February, said the people of St.Kitts and Nevis shared the pain and anguish of the unfortunate Dominicans of Haitian descent and stood with them in opposition to the present assault on their human rights and dignity.

There is no other time for which Regional unity and solidarity are more important than with the current humanitarian and human rights crisis affecting our Haitian brethren and the beleaguered Dominicans of Haitian descent, documented or not, born and living in the Dominican Republic,” said Dr. Harris

Continuing on the theme of Regional Integration, he also expressed that unity among member states was a vital strategy for building the economic resilience of CARICOM. According to him, CARICOM Member States were at the front lines of some of the most serious global problems, whose impacts bear on them disproportionately and pose a threat to their way of life, welfare and existence. He noted however that the people of the Community recognized the value of being together as small states in a competitive and asymmetrical world.

The people of our Community have declared resolutely that after more than four hundred years of being acted upon it is time for us to act for ourselves and to do for ourselves what no one else can, will or should do for us. Dr. Harris said.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister also spoke of several major international meetings that will be held in the upcoming months including the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda; the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference. He said the meetings provided an ideal opportunity for the Caribbean Community to leverage the full weight of its collective voice and vote to ensure its effective and meaningful participation in those negotiations, asserting and inserting a small state perspective and protecting the interests of the people.

He said that there would also be the opportunity to engender a paradigm shift that allowed the independent nations of the Region to break free from outdated systems, agendas and philosophies.

In closing, Prime Minister Harris used the opportunity to provide assurance of his government’s commitment to carry the CARICOM integration process forward.

Long live Caribbean Unity,Long Live CARICOM,” he said.

CARICOM SG praises Grenada’s leadership in ICT

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque praised Grenada for leading by example in using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to create an enabling environment to pursue its social and economic development goals.
The Secretary-General was speaking during a ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown Guyana where he received the credentials of Grenada’s new Ambassador to the Community, His Excellency Patrick Antoine.
In commending Grenada’s drive towards increased use of technology, the Secretary-General cited the country’s decision to become the first English-speaking Caribbean country to develop its own Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in 2011. Grenada he said was positioning itself for diversification by “embracing technology, while maintaining its reputation as the Spice Isle through its abundance in nutmeg and mace which supplies approximately 20 per cent of the world market in those commodities.”
Earlier in his remarks, Ambassador LaRocque noted the “hands-on approach” taken by the Grenadian Prime Minister Dr the Rt Honourable Keith Mitchell in executing his responsibility as Lead Head of Government for Science and Technology including Information and Communications in the Quasi-Cabinet of the Conference of Heads of Government. He recalled the Prime Minister’s involvement in tabling the Regional ICT Agenda and Platform for Action at the Heads of Government Meting in July 2004 as well as his encouragement to his colleague Leaders in 2003 to support the project which has evolved into the Caribbean Knowledge Learning Network Agency (CKLNA).
“Once again, Prime Minister Mitchell has taken leadership of the process and has successfully called on his colleague Heads of Government to devote a focused session on ICT when they meet at their Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines next February. True to his hands-on approach, the Prime Minister will preside over a Ministerial Session which will consider the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) in preparation for discussion by Heads of Government,” the Secretary-General added.

From farm to fork: Improving Nutrition in the Caribbean

Canadian and Caribbean researchers to participate in the Caribbean Week of Agriculture

cwa2013GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Researchers from universities in Canada and the Caribbean will discuss improvements in the region’s agriculture and nutrition during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA2013): Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development, to be held in Guyana, October 4-12, 2013.

Since 2011, researchers from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and McGill University in Canada have been working together to improve to improve food production in the region, as well as the nutrition and health of CARICOM populations. The project is funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a CA$124 million program that supports partnerships between Canadian and developing-country researchers to increase food security through applied research in agriculture and nutrition.

The From farm to fork: improving nutrition in the Caribbean project seeks to address rising obesity rates in the region, due in large part to the limited attention Caribbean countries have paid to local food production. As a result, there is a high dependence on imports of high-calorie, low-nutrition foods. This has created a paradox of obesity and poor nutrition, which threatens people’s health throughout the region.

Results to date are promising. Children in Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts and Nevis are receiving improved school meals that contain vegetables and fruit produced by local farmers. By adopting water management techniques such as drip irrigation and mulching, crop production has increased. Farmers have also diversified their crops. These and other research results will be presented during the two-day workshop Coming Soon: A Healthier, Food Secure Caribbean: Improving Nutrition and Health of CARICOM Population, Oct. 10-11.

IDRC will also participate in the CWA2013 exhibition and trade show. Journalists are invited to visit the interactive CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project booth to learn more about the work that the research teams are carrying out in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.

Experts from IDRC, McGill University, and the University of the West Indies will be available for interviews before and during CWA2013.

Journalists and the public can join in the conversation through Twitter (#IDRC and #CWA2013) and Facebook.

For more information, visit

Putting research to work

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funds practical research in developing countries to increase prosperity and security, and to foster democracy and the rule of law, in support of Canada’s international development efforts. We promote growth and development and encourage sharing knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting solutions that aim to bring change to those who need it most.


CIFSRF is a CA$124.5 million program of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. CIFSRF supports applied research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country organizations to find lasting solutions to hunger and food insecurity. It is a core element of Canada’s Food Security Strategy.

CARICOM Youth Tweet for Regional Integration

twitter birdieCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – United, cohesive, productive, enabling, progressive!
That’s the kind of Community in which youth of the Region wish to live.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) youths took to the twittersphere on Sunday to share their views on the Community and their role in cementing regional integration.
In the first CARICOM Twitter Relay held by the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP) in observance of the 40th anniversary of CARICOM, the youths began a twitter relay mid-morning and continued until 7 pm.
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, who is in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the Thirty-Fourth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, joined the relay that attracted participation from 12 CARICOM Member States. Youths from Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago – and two Associate Members, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos, were among the participants. There was participation also from the United Kingdom and the United States.
The event’s total reach was 8 613 persons, while the estimated level of exposure was in the vicinity of 74 000 persons. According to preliminary statistics, 61 per cent of the participants interacted via the web, while a significant number of persons – 27 per cent – interacted via the use of their Blackberry devices. Seven per cent interacted via TweetDeck while three per cent were using an Apple-based device such as the iPhone, or ipad.
According to the youth who participated in the relay, the next 40 years should be a time for “implementation” and “sustained action”, where “each word and every action” from political leaders lend themselves to an “awakening” of the talents of young people. The future must also be a time of creating and promoting opportunities for young people, an era in which Caribbean people feel more connected to the regional thrust and have a firm understanding of their role in the creation of a viable, unified entity, Caribbean young people said.
Under theme-based legs of the relay, the youths zeroed in on the “utmost importance” of integration given the small size of Member States and the vulnerabilities to which they are exposed. They tackled critical issues such as education and economic empowerment, transportation, free movement, health and wellness, culture, religion, active participation of youth in building the Community, the implementation deficit, climate change, collaboration among the private sectors of Member States, and the creation of competitive advantage in the global arena.
The CARICOM Youth Ambassador programme aims to educate young people about and encourage their participation in regional integration and development and advise policymakers on formulating development policies and programmes which address youth needs and concerns.