Above: Ambassador Bernadette Rathedi
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The African nation of Botswana has appointed its first-ever Ambassador to the Caribbean Community.
Ambassador Bernadette Rathedi was accredited as the country’s first Plenipotentiary Representative to CARICOM in a ceremony in Guyana this week.
The diplomat underscored what she saw as a need for Africa and the Caribbean to make greater efforts to work together.
“There is, indeed, power in unity,” she said at the CARICOM Secretariat this week.
Botswana first established diplomatic ties with a Caribbean country in 1978, when it formalized relations with Guyana.
“As the Community seeks to deepen ties with the African continent, through strengthened relations with individual states and sub-regions, Botswana presents itself as a meaningful interlocutor with CARICOM States in this regard,” CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque told the new envoy. “Your position as the headquarters country for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as a willingness in seeking to strengthen relations at this time augurs well for our close collaboration. Indeed, the two Communities face similar development challenges in the process of regional integration and cooperation.”
Rathedi said Botswana was interested in continuing cooperation between CARICOM and the SADC, pointing to the historical ties between the two regions.
“We still remember vividly, the active and very bold positions of the Caribbean countries that contributed to the efforts to end colonialism and apartheid in our part of the world,” she said. “Today, the Southern Africa region boasts of relative peace and stability, thanks to the enduring support of the Caribbean Community and that of other friends in other parts of the world.”