Ja will continue to ‘work constructively’ within CARICOM – Johnson Smith
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says Jamaica will continue to “work constructively” within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the best interest of the country and region.
Speaking at the CARICOM 50 Flag Raising Ceremony at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in downtown Kingston on Thursday, July 13, Senator Johnson Smith said CARICOM is the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world.
“Fifty years of life in any shape or form is a golden occasion that merits celebration. It is a time for both reflection and renewal. Despite the challenges and obstacles encountered in the pursuit of regional integration, tremendous progress has been made. Many of our CARICOM citizens, on a daily basis, contribute to the ideals of integration through their exploits in public service, sports, music, business and other facets of Caribbean society,” she said.
Minister Johnson Smith further noted that as the current chair of the Community of Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), she is committed to ensuring that member states work towards strengthening the regional integration movement.
Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago were the four founding CARICOM member States that signed the historic Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4, 1973.
“Our membership and engagement with CARICOM continue to be an important part of our foreign policy, and over the years, through its four pillars of economic integration, human and social development, foreign policy coordination and security cooperation, CARICOM has aimed to improve the lives of the people of the region, particularly through functional cooperation in health, education, and security, among others,” Senator Johnson Smith said.
In his address, CARICOM youth ambassador, Odane Brooks, pointed out that the Caribbean organisation has played a critical role in fostering regional cooperation and sustainable development.
“We continue to witness the positive strides in the areas of expanded education, entrepreneurship and skills training for our young people. With the institutionalisation of programmes like the CARICOM Youth Ambassador, young people have been given a platform to engage in the policy dialogues and also to get a platform to amplify their own dreams and aspirations,” he shared.
Brooks implored CARICOM to strengthen employment opportunities for youth, nurture their entrepreneurial spirit and build sustainable physical and economic infrastructure to safeguard against the impact of climate change.