Above: flags at the CARICOM summit in Haiti (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
PORT-AU-PRINCE — The Caribbean Community officially began its summit of regional leadership here Monday, a moment CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque called “historic.”
Haiti is hosting the conference for the first time since it acceded to the Caribbean Community in 2002.
LaRocque, opening the ceremony at the Karibe Hotel in Petion-Ville, said there was no greater indicator that Haiti “has taken its rightful place within the CARICOM Community.”
Above: CARICOM SG Irwin LaRocque (CJ Photo)
“That this country has been able to rise beyond the monumental challenges of its recent past and take over the leadership of CARICOM is a testimony to the strength and resilience of its people,” he said.
The Dominica native said continued integration with the Caribbean presented “positive opportunities” for Haiti, including the areas of health, communication, commerce and trade. along with the ongoing PANCAP partnership against HIV/AIDS.
LaRocque said CARICOM had already begun changing its approach to integration, in the face of new circumstances and challenges.
“We have to accept that we must change our modes of operation,” he said. “We must embrace the promise of our future.”