ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- The Caribbean should take an active role at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) debate on the post 2015 Agenda.
This was the view expressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, Caroline Rodrigues-Birkett, as she addressed the opening ceremony in Grenada of the fourth meeting of foreign ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba on Thursday evening.
The minister said that, later this month, when the UNGA debate opens, countries will be called upon to engage in healthy dialogue on the future beyond the global development compact represented by the Millennium Development Goals.
“We are looking forward to this discussion and it is our hope that we all take an active role in the deliberations with a view to ensuring that our region’s interests are adequately and effectively addressed,” she added.
Rodrigues-Birkett told her Cuban counterpart that CARICOM was pleased to witness changes to his country’s agriculture, private sector, tax, and economic policies. These changes, she said, attested to Cuba’s resilience, its ability to adapt and its commitment to pursuing a development path that benefitted not only the people of Cuba, but also the wider Caribbean.
The foreign minister added, “In this regard, we will continue to advocate for the removal of the US embargo on Cuba. It is wrong and unjust.”
CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque, in his remarks, also alluded to the embargo. He noted that the Community had stood steadfastly with Cuba in hemispheric and international arenas on matters of great concern to the region.
“Paramount among these is the Community’s continuing demand for the lifting of the US embargo,” he stated.
The secretary-general indicated that CARICOM would continue to engage with other actors in pursuit of Cuba’s full participation in hemispheric affairs. He said the Community “looks forward to the day when Cuba will be invited to take part in the Summit of the Americas process.”
LaRocque, in recognising Cuba’s role as president pro tempore of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean States (CELAC), observed that the organisation’s objectives of deepening dialogue and interaction between the sub-regional groupings and their member states and promoting greater synergies and opportunities for cooperation between these groupings, resonated with CARICOM’s belief that there was need for the hemisphere to become more cohesive.