Sat | Dec 4, 2021

CARICOM leaders to discuss recruitment of new secretary general

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2021 | 4:50 PM

The recruitment of a new secretary general for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is among key issues on the agenda for regional leaders meeting over two days starting today. 

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque's second five-year term is due to expire this year and a potential transition comes amid the coronavirus pandemic which has devastated the mainly tourism-dependent economies of the region. 

The Dominican was appointed the seventh secretary general of the 15-member bloc in August 2011 and later reappointed in February 2016. 

The leaders are scheduled to discuss the matter in a caucus this afternoon, according to an agenda for the 32nd inter-sessional meeting being held virtually.  

The secretary general effectively functions like a chief executive officer and heads the CARICOM Secretariat, which is the implementing arm of the organisation. 

LaRocque took over as member states struggle to rebound from the 2008 global financial crisis and wallowed in increased indebtedness and could be exiting amid another calamity. 

Under his leadership, the region has been mounting an aggressive push for a reclassification of members to enable greater access to development financing, challenging key donors like the European Union on blacklisting while welcoming new institutions such as the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security.

There's also been the introduction of the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty which simplifies the procedures of returning fugitives to the country where they are facing charges. 

But his tenure also featured the persistent problem of slow implementation of agreements such as on-air travel, nagging trade fights, and the spectacles of divisions among member states on foreign-policy issues such as Venezuela.

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