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CARICOM to implement Community's 5 year Strategic Plan

Featured CARICOM to implement Community's 5 year Strategic Plan
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, January 4, 2015 - The Outgoing Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Gaston Browne has commended the Region for demonstrating strength of character and resilience in the face of the difficulties with which Caribbean governments and people have been confronted over the past year.

Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, who is being replaced by his Bahamas counterpart, Perry Christie, said in a New Year's message that "The lingering effects of the global economic and financial crises, heavy debt burdens, high unemployment and low growth have had a negative impact on our lives and our standard of living."

"However, as a region we have put our heads together to seek solutions to the problems and identify strategies to pursue which would put us on a path to growth and development and, importantly, create jobs," added Browne.

In the meantime, as Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie assumes  the  Chair  of CARICOM for the  next six months,  it will behis duty to work with colleague Heads and the Secretary-General to lay the foundations   for the implementation  of our Strategic  Plan.  

This year, the Caribbean Community  Community  embarks  of  implementation strategy for the Region’s  first-ever  Five-Year Strategic  Plan 2015-2019.

In his new Year’s message, Prime Minister Christie said the Plan “is a bold step that  demonstrates  our determination  to provide  the best options  for the growth  and development  of our people.   This Plan is an important   part  of the  Reform  Process  in our Community  and we stand  to be judged  both  by its success  and  the  actions  we take  in its implementation.”   

The new CARICOM chairman said  “In repositioning  our  Community, as this  Plan  seeks  to do, we will be aiming  at making  it more  resilient  to the  internal  and  external  factors  which hinder  our efforts  at attaining   sustainable   development in a rapidly  changing  world.”

He pointed out that “There   can  be   no   more   vivid  demonstration    of  the   dynamic   nature    of  the   global environment  that  we face than  the  recent  rapprochement  between  Cuba and the  United States.   Those  of us who have consistently   called for an end to the  isolation  of our sister Caribbean  country  and,  in particular,   the  cessation  of the  economic,  trade  and  financial embargo  are heartened   by the  initiatives  announced   by President   Obama  and  President Castro.   In  my view this  rapprochement  underscores   the  urgency  of a summit  between the American  President   and the Heads  of the Community.”

Prime Minister Christie also  noted that “This  year  also  marks  the  beginning   of negotiations   for  the  United  Nations   Post-2015 Development  Agenda   which  seeks  to  find  a  more  effective  route   to  the  sustainable development  of all States.   This is of keen  interest  to our  Community   as it is important that  the  concerns   of small  vulnerable   states  like ours  must  be taken  into  account  and acted  upon.    We  have  taken  action  in this  regard  by  ensuring   that  our  concerns   and interests  are part  of the platform  for the negotiations   agreed  to last September  in Samoa by the grouping  of Small Island  Developing  States  (SIDS).”

He said that Caricom's first-ever Five-Year Strategic Plan is yet another example of how the region has been able time and again, to find its own solutions to overcome its problems.

"From CARIFTA to Common Market to Single Market and Economy, we have made economic strides. Through CXC, PANCAP and CDEMA we have successfully devised our own solutions to education, health and disaster management issues.

"Our regional security apparatus has served us with distinction. We have proven beyond a doubt that we are capable of devising appropriate measures to help ourselves, he said.

Prime Minister Browne said that those examples are also a clear indication that the region's best efforts result from actions as an integrated unit.

"The collective intelligence and creativity of our people has ensured that our Caribbean civilisation has thrived despite the setbacks and it is to that we have turned again to combat our current challenges. It is that faith and confidence in you the people of the Caribbean that assures us, as leaders of this community, that we are capable of confronting any obstacle with your full support," said the outgoing Caricom chairman.

He urged the Caribbean to regard "2015 as a year in which we recommit ourselves to strengthening our integration movement in a spirit of unity", recalling a statement he made early in 2014 when he noted "together we can, and will, not only survive but thrive, by enhancing our collective capacity to achieve economic stability and growth, a better quality of life for our people and sustainable development".

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