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Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 08 August 2005 | Release Ref #: 162/2005 | 2358

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has experienced both economic development and setbacks, but as it continues to focus on the December 2005 implementation of its Single Market and Economy (CSME), it is confident of a stronger and reorganised bloc, poised to face the global challenges which threaten our regional economies.

    The foregoing message was conveyed by CARICOM Secretary-General, His Excellency Edwin Carrington at a ceremony to mark the 32nd anniversary of CARICOM and to recognise some members of staff for their long service to the Caribbean Community.

    Speaking to the gathering, which included officials of the Government of Guyana, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the media and CARICOM Secretariat staff, Mr. Carrington noted that the year 2005 marked a new dawn for CARICOM. He alluded to the February 2005 inauguration of the new headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat and the April 2005 inauguration of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as significant milestones reached by the Community.

    Reflecting on the economic downturn in the Region, occasioned by the loss of preferential treatment of some agricultural commodities; rising oil prices; the high incidence of HIV/AIDS; among other factors, Mr. Carrington stated that the CSME “aims to achieve the efficiency and productivity necessary to more than to replace the preferences lost … and … to restructure our region’s economy.”

    Citing the importance of a reorganised and intensified regional productive sector, the Secretary-General said this must be pursued by CARICOM Member States alongside initiatives to “win new markets abroad, preserve and expand the gains the Community in areas such as health, education, culture, disaster management, security and such fields, and building new areas such as information technology for development.”

    Mr. Carrington expressed gratitude to the Government of Guyana for providing the new Headquarters and to the Government of India, Tata Infotech and the Secretariat’s ICT Team for the provision and installation of the Secretariat’s IT system.

    In a brief response, Guyana’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Samuel Hinds noted that despite the challenging international economic forecast, there was reason for optimism. He added that Caribbean citizens are known for their courage under difficult circumstances and for their resilience in overcoming misfortune. “We must therefore rally them to our cause so that with their solidarity and support, we may together become as competitive as any other region, and so earn our survival and success, ” Mr. Hinds stated.

    Some twenty nine members of staff of the CARICOM Secretariat were recognised for their long service which ranged from ten to twenty five years.