The Caribbean Community has appointed its first female Secretary-General. She is Belizian Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, an economist who Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley described as “perfect for the job in the region at this time, when economies have collapsed and we must continue to have a sound economist to lead us on a path to growth”.
In hailing the unanimous appointment of Dr. Barnett by CARICOM Heads of Government in a virtual meeting today, chaired by Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, Mottley noted that, given the challenges the region is now facing, the background of the new Secretary-General would serve the grouping well.
The eighth person to hold the post, the former Deputy General Secretary of CARICOM will assume office on August 15, replacing Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, who led the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat for two terms.
Prime Minister Mottley said: “Her vast experience in regional organisations such as the Caribbean Development Bank, at the Central Bank of Belize and elsewhere, has sharpened her for the position she is about to assume — not because she is a woman, but because of her competencies.
“However, her being the first woman means that young girls across the region can be inspired by Dr Barnett’s accomplishments and begin their own moon journey.”
Dr Barnett is a former Vice-President of the Belize Senate and has served in various ministerial capacities in her country’s government. She has also served as Financial Secretary of Belize and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, as well as Vice-President (Operations) of the CDB.
She holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies and a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the UWI.
The Prime Minister also paid tribute to the outgoing Secretary-General, noting that Barbados and the region “benefitted significantly from Ambassador LaRocque’s vast knowledge and experience on economic and trade matters at a time when the region needed it most”.