“New Thinking” For CARICOM?

By

Above: CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Is it time for new tactics for CARICOM?

As the Caribbean integration movement continues its search for traction, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque says the regional body is continuing its integration quest “with an outlook that is shaped by new thinking and different approaches.”

“That outlook will be influenced by the necessity for appropriate responses to the current global environment which has placed Member States in dire straits, stymieing growth and development and denying us the wherewithal to create a better standard of living for the people of the Community,” he said.

LaRocque said the region’s vulnerability — and its capacity for resilience — “came into stark relief last week in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica, when severe weather visited death and destruction and caused a setback to development efforts there. ”

CARICOM’s relatively new Change Team met with stakeholders across the region this year, and the regional body is currently readying its draft Five-Year Strategic Plan, which will set out a new common vision for CARICOM and identify priority areas of focus.

“Unsurprisingly, sustainable economic growth and development emerged as one of the primary areas of concern for stakeholders across the spectrum with whom the Change Team interacted over the past year,” LaRocque said. “It is our intention, through the efforts of the recently-established CARICOM Commission on the Economy, to explore possible avenues to put us on a sustainable path.”

LaRocque made the remarks in his End of Year message released on Tuesday.

“2014 dawns with the promise of new directions, prioritization on the critical areas that will deliver more immediate and tangible benefits to our peoples, more strategic approaches and the continued emphasis on our youth and empowerment of our citizens,” he said.