Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Dr. Carla Barnett has highlighted several of the region’s achievements in an end-of-year message, citing strenuous efforts in 2022 to ensure that the integration process improves people’s lives.
“There is much that we can look back on with pride and celebrate about our integration movement during this joyous season,” Barnett observed.
On the cusp of the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in July 1973, she noted that CARICOM is the longest-existing economic integration movement among developing countries.
“It is with pleasure we have been hosts to African and Pacific regional organisations seeking to learn from and about our operations, systems, and structure,” the CARICOM Secretary-General stated.
And Barnett described it as a clear demonstration of the dynamic nature of CARICOM, this year’s agreement on a Protocol to Amend the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to allow enhanced cooperation among Member States.
She recalled that Heads of Government also agreed to review the governance systems within the Community for more effective decision-making and to ensure follow-up on the Community agenda.
Barnett explained that one of the key actions in that regard has been to increase the regularity of virtual meetings of the Heads of Government while maintaining two face-to-face meetings annually.
In addition, she mentioned the signing of the Declaration of St. George’s Towards the Reduction of Intra-CARICOM Roaming Charges.
According to the CARICOM official, it was an important aspect of advancing the CARICOM Single ICT Space and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and of immense value to Community citizens.
Barnett said that although the new roaming arrangement did not eliminate roaming charges within the CARICOM space, operators indicated savings would be 70-98 percent, depending on the service and the market.
“This is an interim measure but a significant milestone with respect to the Single ICT Space in our Region,” she stated.
Barnett also pointed to the momentum gained by the initiative to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.
In this regard, she recalled two successful fora in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago to encourage investment in the agri-food sector.