The Community of the Caribbean (Caricom) begins Tuesday its 31st Inter-Sessional Meeting to discuss common policies on security, climate change, tourism, and trade. Its country members will also discuss a regional approach to the coronavirus virus and other noncommunicable diseases.
During the opening remarks, outgoing Caricom Chairman Allen Chastanet emphasized the importance of acting cooperatively to face common problems, one of which is climate change.
“Act collectively to confront the hurdles before us, including those related to global uncertainties and the devastating effects of climate change,” St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Chastanet said.
“Let us move more purposefully and advance in this integration movement and implement measures to give it vibrancy.”
The new Caricom Chairperson, Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, also emphasized the importance of regional integration as a way to address the Caribbean islands’ challenges.
“We should determine how we can face each challenge. In Barbados, we think it is about the union,” she said and recalled that collective action is the answer to important in solving new epidemiological problems.
“We had no idea of the ability to act that we would have to face on the threats of the Covid-19.”
According to Barbados Prime Minister, the solidarity attitude should also be displayed on the subject of the U.S. foreign policy’s threats to the sovereignty of the Caribbean peoples’ sovereignty.
“Only with unity, we can fight against imperialist governments that seek to oppress the peoples,” PM Mottley stressed.
“We are family, we are kith and kin. Being kith and kin must stand for something…As a family, nothing can separate us.”
The Caricom’s concern for unity and solidarity was triggered by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent attempts to divide the Caribbean countries, an outcome which could facilitate the President Donald Trump administration’s geopolitical agenda, especially concerning Venezuela.
In January, Jamaica hosted an international meeting attended by some Caribbean countries “hand-picked” by Pompeo. Local analysts and politicians appreciated that meeting as an obvious attempt to divide the Caricom.
On that occasion, Mottley said that, as Caricom chairwoman, it was impossible for her “to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of Caricom are not invited,” as reported by the Jamaica Observer.
Established in 1973, the Caricom includes Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Suriname, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Turks & Caicos, and Trinidad & Tobago.