Barbados’ Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman, Mia Amor Mottley greeting staff of the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana while Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (right) looks on. (GP)

The staff of the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana have been lauded by the movement’s chairman, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, as critical frontline soldiers in the war for a better region for all its people.

Speaking during a one-day visit to the headquarters complex of the regional integration movement in Georgetown on Monday, Ms. Mottley also urged them to use this year to perfect their vision for the deepening of relations among member states and their people.

“Let me say how pleased I am to be here in Georgetown in this building that really represents the hopes and aspirations of our people,” Barbados’ Prime Minister said.

“Earlier, I was asked to sign the [visitor’s] book, and I said then that I was very conscious that 2020 is known for perfecting the finer vision, and therefore it has not escaped me that in this year 2020 we have an obligation to so do, building on the legacy of our founding fathers…

“I am conscious now more than ever that ours is a responsibility to carry the baton, to hold it as firmly as we can … and to make sure that we can use this innings to add runs to the board, but conscious that others will come after us.”

Ms. Mottley, who is preparing to host CARICOM’s Inter-sessional Heads Meeting in Barbados in just over two weeks, added: “To that extent, how do we progress and thrive, amidst all the challenges and crises that we face, amidst those who believe that by 2050 we run the risk that the Caribbean could be the poorest region of the world…, or by those who recognise that the climate crisis we face has put some real existential issues before us … and has created a category of persons we never thought would exist in our lifetime — climate refugees.

“Then you then add the public health crises, and to those who think I am referring to the coronavirus, I am not., I am referring to the violence in our societies that would see from Jamaica with 101 murders in January, in Trinidad 46 and in my own country three, which may seem small to you, but is most disturbing to us.

“When I look at these things, plus the other public health crisis of chronic NCDs that are cutting down too many of our people in the prime of their lives, then you begin to ask: How is it that what we are doing can make a difference to change the course of the destiny of not just our countries, but of individuals, individual families, individual communities?”

Barbados’ Prime Minister then told scores of CARICOM employees: “It is for that reason that I believe that our ability this year, 2020, to pause and use the metaphor of the year to perfect that finer vision where we can allow our people to dare to dream, to be determined to do at all times, to be disciplined to do, to be able to recognise that the instant gratification …. of our time cannot be the thing that guides us as we go forward and that in almost every other aspect of serious human progress it requires discipline and capacity to stay the course and to stay focused.

“And it is that that requires us therefore to engage our people and not just our governments. I have come here therefore conscious of the fact that the people who come to work every day to make this reality our reality, are primarily you in the secretariat.

“I, therefore, thank you for your continued commitment to a project that many had doubted was capable of surviving; a project that many, even if they don’t doubt it, are sometimes prepared to be indifferent and more consumed with the affairs of others than with our own affairs. We have a responsibility to build on that legacy.”

Press Secretary
Roy Morris

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