Last updated: November 9, 2017 at 11:53 am
Guyana has been lauded for its seminal role in the evolution of the regional integration movement.
The praise came as the country’s new ambassador to CARICOM, Charlene Phoenix, presented her credentials to CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque.
The Secretary-General, speaking during the inauguration ceremony, recalled Guyana’s role, along with Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, in restarting the integration process through the formation of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), and then, through the Georgetown Accord, fashioning the pivotal movement from CARIFTA to CARICOM.
He also noted Guyana’s agriculture efforts in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet and the importance of the sector to the community’s efforts to enhance its food security.
“You therefore represent, ambassador, a country rich not only in the tradition and history of our community but also in being a full participant in forging the ties that bind us as a people,” the Secretary-General said.
Ambassador Phoenix, who served in the past as head of the CARICOM unit in Guyana’s foreign ministry, confirmed that the country has always championed the merits of regional integration, adding that the need for a strong and efficient integration movement is as urgent now as at its initial formation.
“We see CARICOM as a vehicle which gives voice to member states and has thus placed its imprint on matters of tremendous importance whether regionally or on the international stage, like climate change, the SIDS Agenda, and the sustainable Development Goals amongst others,” she said.
“These issues have direct impact on the livelihoods, economic advancement and empowerment of the Caribbean people.”
Phoenix has now joined the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors, a body which forms part of the Community’s governance structure and whish has as its principal focus the advancement of the integration process.
“As part of that body, you have the opportunity to help shape the future direction of the integration movement,” LaRocque said.