CARICOM summit opens with call for critical analysis
CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders began their annual summit in St Lucia Wednesday with the incoming chairman Allen Chastanet calling for a critical analysis of the 15-member regional grouping.
Chastanet, the host prime minister, told the opening ceremony that “can we say we are satisfied with our current status? Do we believe that all our citizens or even the majority are satisfied? Are we pushing ourselves hard enough?”
He said as elected leaders, they must be prepared to rise to these challenges and like their forefathers must inspire Caribbean citizens by finding the solutions to counteract the threats faced by the region.
“As brilliant as the institutions we established as CARICOM were in their time, given the changes in the world we must now reform these institutions to respond to the new normal so that they can continue to serve our region and its citizens.
“Let us not put off for tomorrow what we must do today. How much longer must we ponder the need for a strong regional security force? Do we expect criminals to respect our individual sovereignty?”
Chastanet said over the last few years, from climate change concerns, to championing the rights of the Windrush generation, to fighting for tax justice and fiscal sovereignty, the region has had to let the world know, “we are here and we will be heard.
“These and other issues require us as CARICOM and as Small Island Developing States to make some bold choices to secure our mere existence,” Chastanet said.
He added that he was pleased to be chairing the regional integration grouping “at a very critical time in the life of this region.”