CARICOM seeking New Image Print E-mail
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Friday, 25 October 2013 00:00

l-r Neville J Bissember, Irvin LaRocque and Audrey WallaceSecretary General of CARICOM, Irwin LaRocque, was in Belize on Monday, 21st and Tuesday, 22nd October to hold consultations for the development of a strategic plan for CARICOM. With the visit to Belize, LaRocque and a delegation from the secretariat have been to 11 of the 15 member states of CARICOM. They are also expected to make calls on all member states including the two associate member states. The delegation has been meeting with senior public officials in each country as well as members of the media, members of the private sector, civil society, youth, members of the opposition and institutions that are part of the CARICOM architecture. 

At a press conference held after it met with media managers and directors, LaRocque explained that CARICOM is going through a 'rebranding' exercise where it has to be more relevant and responsive to the needs of people on the street, "the people are not feeling us sufficiently," he stated. According to the Secretary General,  CARICOM has not been as successful as it should have been because of an agenda which grew too much to become unmanageable given the resources that are available. He said what the organization is now seeking to address needs and targets which can be accomplished. It has to change, "the way we have been doing business trying to get too many things done at one time with resources that are constrained by fiscal arrangements." He added that it is better to identify priority areas that are relevant to member states and which can be fully implemented, moving them off the agenda and then moving on to other areas.

And as LaRocque has been moving from country to country, he says that there has been areas that repeatedly come up as problems, including in these is transportation. He stated that transportation should build a community of people of many nations, but if we cannot move because of problems with connections and cost it poses a problem for CARICOM. Another area of concern is that of communication where, "we are not communicating properly to people in the community," he said.

In concluding the Secretary General explained that as he is doing his tour, the feeling he is getting is encouraging where participants indicated that things that need to be fixed should be fixed. He added that there is a richness in the discussions and there is a wealth of information which is gathered through deep rooted commitment to CARICOM by discussion participants.