Leaders (from left) Stephenson King of St Lucia, Tilman Thomas of Grenada, Hubert Ingraham of The Bahamas and Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica photo: nationnews
Are CARICOM meetings an opportunity for government leaders from the region to travel to various regions of the Caribbean at the expense of the tax payer to see old university class mates, and socialize at what should be serious discussions and actions following these meetings?
What does the picture to the left says to the seriousness of the discussions at the Basseterre, St. Kitts venue? Are we to believe that for such discussions the Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingram is appropriately attired. If he were invited to a G-8 summit, or to speak at the United Nation head-quarters, would he be similarly attired? Is this an indication of what is now expected of CARICOM meetings.
There could be many plausible explanations as to why Prime Minister Hubert Ingram, would casually dress in light of such a meeting, whereas his counterparts are more formally attired, but we will not explore them here.
This photo was taken on the second day of deliberations of the CARICOM leaders who are now aware at the end of the need to implement new strategies that would make the integration movement more relevant and result oriented. One expects that at the 33rd, or maybe 35th CARICOM heads of government meetings, these strategies will be discuss, as the matter is a serious one.
Guyana's President, Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters that he was pleased so far with the discussions that included the situation in Haiti, the ongoing efforts to restructure the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat and the need to "focus more on results rather than process."
President Jagdeo is willing to support in region as he might be able to, when out of office, but he has made it clear that he was not interested in accepting the position of Secretary General to replace Sir Edwin Carrington, who stepped down as the region's top public servant after 18 years at the start of 2011. This is quite understandable as he will be focusing on preventing the divide which might be in Guyana under his administration from spreading to the wider region.
"I will be a private citizen which I am not unhappy to be," he said, adding when the suggestion was made for him to take over from Sir Edwin "I said I don't want to be secretary general of CARICOM."
All in all the CARICOM seems to be coming along nicely. The Trinidad prime minister has appointed a new minister in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation just when it was expected that discussions were about to end. This should prolong discussions between itself and REDjet, but this is wholesome for CARICOM, as it thrives on many, many, many discussions.
Stay tune as our leaders continue to hold important discussions to discuss on matters which they will later shout across the Caribbean sea to each other via the press. As a preventative measure maybe the amount of meetings of CARICOM should be increased. The 32nd CARICOM meeting in St. Kitts will soon close all discussions, and we can now all reflect upon what measures have come to pass from those discussions over the years.