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Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 18 May 2006 | Release Ref #: 93/2006 | 2215

    It is my pleasure to welcome Ambassador John Williams to the Caribbean Community Secretariat and to receive him as the Plenipotentiary Representative of Barbados to the Caribbean Community.

    Ambassador Williams, a former Senator and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, brings with him a wealth of experience in matters pertaining to the Caribbean Community.

    Ambassador, your country Barbados continues to play a meaningful role in the Caribbean Community. Your Prime Minister is the lead Head of Government responsible for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, a heavy task given the fact that the CSME represents the flagship of regional integration.

    The CARICOM Single Market, as we all know, was formally launched on 30 January 2006. The stewardship of Barbados of this herculean task is recognized by the Community, not least in recent comments by the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable PJ Patterson, in acclaiming the Prime Minister of Barbados as the most suitable person to lead the Region into its next economic development phase – The CARICOM Single Economy.

    Barbados has also played a major role in promoting the small state agenda internationally, starting with its hosting of the 1994 UN Global Conference on Small Island Developing States, of which the Barbados Programme of Action still represents a blue print for international action on small states.

    Prime Minister Arthur was also the lead Regional Head of Government on issues related to small states in 2000, as the Commonwealth sought to ensure that the agenda on small states was not lost from or overlooked on the international agenda.

    In this he was successful, as today, the small states agenda is an area of focus in many fora, not least of which is the World Bank Forum on Small States held annually at the time of the World Bank Conferences.

    Prime Minister Arthur was also a lead speaker for the Region at the UN Financing for Development Conference held in Mexico in 2002.

    In congratulating your country and the role it continues to play, the Secretariat must place on record the tireless efforts of the Foreign Minister of Barbados in chairing CARICOM’s Ministerial Committee on External Negotiations. Minister Miller is also pursuing relentlessly the Region’s efforts to make the Caribbean Community more widely understood in our closest neighbour to the north, the United States of America.

    In the Region’s preparations for Cricket World Cup 2007, the Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados Hon. Mia Mottley, continues to play a role in the Region’s campaign to ensure a high level of security for Cricket World Cup 2007 to be held in the Region in April next year in her capacity as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee of Ministers of National Security pertaining to CWC issues.

    Ambassador, with that very short overview of the leading role of your country in Community relations, I need not say that much will be expected of you. You are presenting credentials on the cusp of the Eighteenth Meeting of the Community Council, the second highest policy making body in the Community.

    That meeting is expected to scrutinize the proposed agenda for the Twenty-seventh Meeting of the Conference, to ensure that it is an agenda worthy of the attention of our Heads of Government. It will also make sure that the preparations being made, not only by the Secretariat, but also by the Member States of the Region, are of a sufficient standard to meet the high expectations of the Conference and result in decisions that will benefit the people of the Community whom we serve.

    I therefore look forward to your participation in that meeting, and the advice that you will offer. The wisdom that your experience will bring will no doubt augur well for the future of Community deliberations.

    May I therefore propose a toast to the Government and People of Barbados and the continued and dedicated support of the Caribbean Community Secretariat in service to the people of the Community.