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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