The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will be taking a closer look at developing concrete ways to position the region for growth, through a strategic plan.

This was stated by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he spoke with members of the media during the 35th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM, under way at the Sandals Grande Resort in Antigua.

The final draft of the plan was presented for the consideration and approval of the region???s leaders on Wednesday, and is expected to be discussed in caucus today.

Noting that the Strategic Plan 2015-2019 would serve to pave the way forward for the people of the Caribbean, Mr. Stuart also pointed out that its contents were developed after the intensive canvassing of key stakeholders.

He said: ???We have come up with a report that charts a very clear direction for the regional integration movement over the next five years. I think we have come up with a report, not a top-down report, but a bottom-up report, because we consulted with ??? all the relevant stakeholders and institutions in the region. We were able to consult with opposition parties, the private sector parties, labour, and so on.???

Explaining that the strategic plan reflected the understanding and the ideals of the principal stakeholders across the region, the Prime Minister added that it would allow CARICOM leaders to be ???in a very good position to chart the way forward for the regional integration movement ??????

???So, I really think that in the face of all the challenges that the regional integration movement has been facing, particularly since the global economic challenges surfaced, that we have gone back to basics and we???ve tried to see what we need to do to effect a great leap forward for the regional integration movement. And, I???m satisfied that the report led us in that direction,??? he indicated.

The strategic plan identifies key priority areas for the Community, including developing and building economic, social, environmental and technological resilience, strengthening CARICOM???s identity and ???spirit???, and strengthening Community governance.

Change Drivers were selected in member states to ascertain the views of a cross section of citizens. National consultations were held with Prime Ministers and Members of Cabinet, Leaders of the Opposition, other Members of Parliament, the private sector, employers and trade unions, youth representatives, other civil society groups, representatives of tertiary level institutions, and labour organisations.

Barbados??? Change Driver is Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert ???Bobby??? Morris.

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