July 5, 2011 | 4:14 pm | Print
By the Caribbean Journal staff
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the “Big Four” founding members of CARICOM, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, need to provide leadership in the integration movement.
Notwithstanding the importance of states like the Bahamas, Haiti and Belize, he said, the founding members must “drive, pull or push the regional juggernaut.”
Gonsalves said the region could not afford the luxury of “such relative non-engagement,” and that if it existed among the “Big Four” it led to the diminution of engagement by the rest of CARICOM.
“The leadership of Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed of the ‘Big Four,’ does not in any way mean a diminution of the importance on leadership of the other Member States of CARICOM,” he said. “I simply make a salient point of practical politics in going forward.”
The St Vincent prime minister, who was speaking at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Basseterre, St Kitts, said that with the change in government in Trinidad in 2010, it was inevitable that a greater emphasis would be placed on domestic, rather than regional issues.
“I feel sure,” he said, however, “that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, which is populated by committed regionalists, would again be at the fore in pushing the regional agenda on all fronts.”
Earlier in the meeting, Gonsalves had called for a new, permanent secretary-general of CARICOM.
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