St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has appointed a new ambassador to the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Allan Alexander, a former permanent secretary and former deputy director of Invest SVG was on Friday accredited as the Plenipotentiary Representative of SVG to the 15-member bloc.
Allen’s accreditation came at the same time as that of Veronica Griffith, who was accredited as Barbados’ ambassador to CARICOM.
The accreditation came ahead of a Meeting of the Community Council of Ministers on Monday.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque told the newly accredited ambassadors that as members of the committee, they can support the future direction of integration, and play a significant role as the community advances its climate resilience agenda.
He added that members of the committee have a central role in providing the necessary link between the regional and the national agendas, and to engage and interact with the citizens of their countries to highlight and promote the objectives, work and benefits of the Community.
“This is an essential contribution to strengthening the CARICOM Identity and Spirit of Community,” he told the newly accredited ambassadors.
Within the framework of the CARICOM Strategic Plan, he noted their role in ensuring that the regional integration movement “has a greater impact on the lives of our people.”
LaRocque said that developing the world’s first climate resilient countries is a key focus for CARICOM for 2018 which promises to be a year of “rebuilding and growth”.
He told Alexander that St Vincent and the Grenadines has been a strong and dedicated advocate of integration at all levels, noting that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been a leading advocate for recognition of a distinct Caribbean civilisation.
“CARICOM has benefitted significantly from St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ contribution. Your country’s persistence in seeking to improve air and maritime transportation in the Community demonstrates the commitment of Prime Minister Gonsalves as the Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Transport in the Quasi-Cabinet. That area is a critical element in the Community’s pursuit of regional integration,” LaRocque said.
He also noted Gonsalves’ leadership of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket, “another important rallying point for our unity”.
The secretary-general lauded the significant role Barbados continues to play in CARICOM with its prime minister having responsibility for the regional flagship initiative, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Barbados also holds the Chair of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy, actively considering the matter of economic growth of the region, as well as the chair of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Reparations.
The latter, the Secretary-General noted, assumed even greater importance “when one recognises that Haiti is the only country which has had to pay reparations”.