Despite its current economic challenges, Government remains committed to its obligations as a financial contributor to CARICOM institutions.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave this assurance last evening, while urging the institutions to be prudent in their spending.
He was at the time delivering the feature address at the official opening of the new Caribbean Examination Council???s (CXC) Headquarters at Prince Road, Pine Plantation Road, St. Michael.
Mr. Stuart said Barbados considered it important not only to pay its assessed contributions to the CARICOM Secretariat, but participate actively in the many areas of functional cooperation. He pointed out that in addition to CXC, Barbados hosted several other CARICOM agencies and associate agencies.
???When Barbados provides the headquarters for a CARICOM institution, it assumes payment of the rental and related charges. In 2014, Barbados paid approximately BDS$20 million in total contributions to CARICOM institutions, which included an amount of approximately $6.6 million for CARICOM agencies based in Barbados, some 13 in number. Of this sum, the largest amount was related to CXC which was $1.8 million, including rent,??? the Prime Minister disclosed.
He stressed that Barbados has been making an effort in the interest of regional integration in all areas of functional cooperation and particularly in education.
???When, therefore, Barbados??? commitment to CARICOM is questioned, as happens from time to time, examples like this spanking new CXC building and Barbados??? support for CXC overall must be given appropriate prominence,??? he declared.
Mr. Stuart noted that Barbados has always placed a high priority on education, because its main resource is human capital. He said Government pays the entry fee and subject or unit fees for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination for each public school student, and disclosed that BDS $1.5 million was spent last year.
He said that in the early days of CXC, there were many negative perceptions by naysayers who doomed it to failure. However, he continued, the institution persevered in the face of challenges, to the recognition of its certificates from both regional and international tertiary level institutions.
???The fact that the Caribbean Examinations Council has stood the test of time, persisting in the face of myriad and sometimes daunting challenges, is testimony to the vision and resilience of our region, reflected through successive Heads of Governments, Ministers of Education, the management and staff of the Council, teaching professionals and the people themselves,??? he suggested.
According to him, the Council???s assessments had gained international recognition and could compete with examinations offered anywhere else in the world.