If Barbados and other Caribbean Community Member States are to fulfil their potential, then they must find ways to capitalise on their strengths.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart threw out this challenge, as he delivered remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), on Monday, at the Placencia Hotel in Belize.

Applying some of the themes that are being used to mark Barbados??? 50th Anniversary of Independence, Mr. Stuart called for some introspection at this juncture in CARICOM???s history, in order to chart a future for the regional grouping.

???We should look at the strengths of our movement and seek to retain them at all costs; second, we must look backward at important elements that we have lost in the regional integration movement and seek to reclaim them,??? he advised.??He also urged his counterparts to seek to identify the factors that were hindering progress and to discard them ???with some urgency???.

With respect to the future, the Barbadian leader noted that as his country continued to celebrate its golden milestone and was trying to embrace progressive strategies to propel its growth, CARICOM also needed to implement such an approach.

???We must then look forward to see what new or different measures we need urgently to adopt to ensure that our movement remains both vibrant and relevant in this 21st Century, but, more importantly, that it remains a sustainable project that continues to meet the needs of the people of the Caribbean,??? he said.

CARICOM leaders are meeting today in their first full day of deliberations at the Belize Ocean Club, and are discussing such issues as Correspondent Banking and the Climate Change Adaptation Agenda. They are also seeking to pilot a comprehensive strategy to combat the threat posed by the Zika virus.??The conference comes to a close tomorrow.


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