CARICOM Heads of Government at their 35th regular meeting in Antigua
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- CARICOM heads of government have approved the first ever strategic plan for the Caribbean Community. This announcement was made by chair of the conference Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, during a closing press conference at the end of the 35th meeting of the conference on Friday.
According to Browne, the five-year plan (2014-2019) sought to “reposition the Community and identify priorities and activities that would meet the challenges of the international environment”.
He said it was the crucial element in the reform process for the Caribbean Community; adding that the change process would involve a reform of the Community’s institutions and a restructuring of its Secretariat.
The plan identified eight integrated strategic priorities and key areas of interventions: building economic resilience; social resilience; environmental resilience; technological resilience; strengthening the CARICOM identity and spirit of community; strengthening community governance along with coordinated foreign policy, research and development and innovation.
Browne said that the top areas of focus identified by the CARICOM secretary general, Irwin LaRocque, were approved by heads. These were selected from the integrated strategic priorities outlined in the strategic plan and include the development of a single ICT space, reformation of the CARICOM Secretariat, its organs, bodies, institutions and governance arrangements, climate adaptation and mitigation and disaster mitigations and management.
Other areas are the introduction of measures for macro-economic stabilization, advancement of health and wellness, human capital development as well as the enhancement of citizen security and justice, public education, public information and advocacy, deepening foreign policy coordination, building competitiveness and unleashing key economic drivers to transition to growth and generate employment.
Browne used the opportunity to thank the change facilitation team who spearheaded the research and consultations that went into formulating the document.
“I also commend highly the change drivers appointed by the heads of government in the member states who worked closely with the team in both the consultations and the finalisation of the document,” he stated.
He added that the change drivers would play a key role in the implementation of the plan which required commitment and focus from the member states, the organs and bodies, the Secretariat and Community institutions.
The decision to develop a strategic plan for the Caribbean Community was taken by the CARICOM heads of government at their inter-sessional meeting in Suriname in 2012. The leaders agreed that it was necessary to re-examine the future direction of the Community and the arrangements for carrying it forward.