Above: young entrepreneur Warren Cassell (centre)
By Dana Niland
Private sector investment and entrepreneurship are key elements for sustainable growth and fighting unemployment in the Caribbean, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said this week at the opening of the 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.
“The entrepreneurial spirit of innovation, creativity and risk-taking is essential to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global marketplace,” he said.
LaRocque praised Caribbean youth for their leadership in this creativity, singling out for commendation Warren Cassell of Montserrat and Nolana Lynch of Trinidad and Tobago.
Cassell, now 16, started a business at age eight from his small regional base, using his tech skills to provide services to the region and beyond.
Cassell was Caribbean Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.
Lynch, now 27, started her own company five years ago, and is using her profits as an international supplier to fund sustainable development projects throughout the community.
“They are demonstrating that the sustainable development of the Caribbean Community can be achieved with the marriage of our human and natural resources to our innate skills, innovative ideas and hard work,” LaRocque said. “Unleashing the dynamism and creativity which have been the hallmark of our Region and using that distinctive Caribbean vibrancy to build our society on our own terms will put us on the path to create the resilience we need.”
LaRocque said a review of the Community’s education and human resource systems was under way, in order to ensure that the region’s people were equipped with 21st century competencies, as well as to promote competitiveness and sustainability.
This year’s conference marks the first year of the five-year Caribbean Community Strategic plan, which aims to identify and improve upon key issues of the economy, environment, social community and more.