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be the opportunity to engender a paradigm shift that allowed the independent nations of the Region to break free from outdated systems, agendas and philosophies.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