Speaking in an on-line ceremony via Zoom, Mottley said she awaited the Caribbean Court of Justice ruling on the election matter next Wednesday, but remains concerned that four months after the elections, Guyana is still waiting on the results.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is hearing an appeal by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of a Guyana Court of Appeal decision on what constitutes “valid votes.” The CCJ first has to determine whether it has jurisdiction to hear the matter before proceeding.
Mottley said “it is regrettable that there is still no clarity as to the conclusion of that electoral process.”
“We have a duty to support one another. Guyana will have a bright future and Guyana must have a future that will make every Guyanese a winner”, Mottley said. She also spoke about the need to respect principles that have been guiding the community.
“We trust and pray that we are in a position as a family to work together but we cannot ignore principles when it is inconvenient to stand by them,” she told the opening of the CARICOM Summit.”
“I have said enough on that matter on that stage and I look forward to us being able to resolve this as a family ensuring that the values which we respect as the Caribbean are those values which our founding fathers enshrined for us and which we continue to hold dearly because these are the values that make the kind of difference in the kind of democracy we need to have.”
For his part, incoming Chair of CARICOM, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves defended the statements made by the Barbadian Prime Minister last week.
Gonsalves said some of the criticism of Mottley were vulgar and unwarranted and came from people who should know better.
“Her helpful initiative to assist in the preservation of democracy in Guyana within the terms of the (CARICOM) Charter of Civil Society will be long remembered despite unwarranted, vulgar and opportunistic criticism of her from assorted jaundiced sources who ought to know better”, the new CARICOM Chair said.
As he assumed the Chairmanship of the Community for the next six months, Gonsalves said the challenges of nature and the global political economy must serve as driving forces to build a stronger, better Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
While he acknowledged that the union was “far from perfect”, and that there were both possibilities and limitations in the design of the integration movement, Prime Minister Gonsalves praised the Community’s impressive achievements.
“Our CARICOM has chalked up impressive achievements in its four pillars of integration: functional cooperation, coordination of foreign policy, security collaboration, and economic integration, including Single Market trading arrangements. But the design of CARICOM itself highlights its possibilities and limitations… CARICOM was conceived and fashioned as a Community of independent, sovereign states entirely combined to pursue a series of objectives, measures and tasks,” he said.
That design and practical functioning of CARICOM meant that some “enduring problems” had not been solved. Those challenges included regional governance, institutional political representation and non-automaticity of financing regional institutions including the CARICOM Secretariat, he pointed out.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the quickening pace of the challenges of nature and the global economic challenges had made it imperative that “we build a CARICOM that is better and stronger” while recognising its inbuilt and operational limitations.
CARICOM, he maintained, was central to the Region’s salvation given the explosion of pandemics, climate change and matters of global political economy. On that note, he singled out Community Institutions for praise, including the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), CARICOM IMPACS.
“The heroic contributions of CARPHA, IMPACS, CDEMA – all CARICOM Institutions – and the RSS, a sub-regional security umbrella, is a sufficient testimony in this regard. Accordingly, I reiterate our profound gratitude to the regional public servants at CARICOM, the OECS and at all allied regional institutions,” Mr. Gonsalves said.
Accepting the Chairmanship of the Community with “humility and enduring obligation”, he listed his priorities as:
- COVID-19 and interconnected-ness to health, the economy, society and security;
- coordination of regional air transport;
- socio-economic recovery of the Region;
- strengthening the Region’s resilience against multiple vulnerabilities;
- shaping a new, more inclusive global order; and
- uplifting the Caribbean civilisation
“Let us build further upon our solid accomplishments in this our remarkable Region and magnificent Caribbean civilisation. This building of our Region and our regional civilisation is a great cause, and great causes have never been won by doubtful men and women,” he said.
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