Caricom’s Leap Forward: Dr. Carla Barnett Hails Progress in Regional Integration and Economic Development

Dr Carla Barnett
Dr Carla Barnett Caricom Secretary General

In a significant milestone for regional cooperation, Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), reflected on the organization’s impactful strides in 2023. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Caricom, under Barnett’s pioneering leadership as the first female Secretary General, has reinforced its commitment to deepening economic integration, enhancing trade, and strengthening foreign policy coordination.

A key focus for the upcoming year is the implementation of free movement for all Caricom nationals by March 2024, a decision backed by the Heads of Government. This initiative promises to bolster community relations and human development, providing new opportunities for the people of the region.

The past year also saw Caricom advocating for global issues like the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and supporting Haiti’s return to stability. The organization’s efforts in reducing the region’s food import bill by 25% by 2025 mark a significant step towards self-reliance and food security.

Caricom’s engagement at international forums, notably the United Nations Climate Change Conference (CCOP 28) in Dubai, highlighted the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to climate change. Barnett emphasized the need for urgent action by major emitters to address global warming and advocated for a just transition to renewable energy.

Inclusivity remains a cornerstone of Caricom’s approach, with efforts like the regional Youth Forum ensuring the participation of young voices in shaping the future. The organization’s collaborative spirit, extending to international partners, the private sector, and civil society, reflects a deep commitment to building a safe, prosperous community for all.

This year’s achievements serve as a testament to the power of collective action and the enduring vision of Caricom’s founders. They invite reflection on the role of regional unity in addressing contemporary challenges and shaping a sustainable future for the Caribbean community.

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