Regional integration needs renewed leadership
The Caribbean Movement for Civil Empowerment sends a letter and petition to the region’s prime ministers and presidents, asking them to re-invigorate and re-energize the integration process by renewing leadership.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday July 1, 2011 – The Caribbean Movement for Civil Empowerment (CMCE) has made several recommendations to regional leaders to renew leadership of the integration process, including putting a Secretary General in place and giving him power to overhaul the CARICOM Secretariat.
The group sent correspondence outlining the recommendations to the Heads of Government, who’re meeting for the 32nd regular summit in St. Kitts and Nevis, following a public forum held yesterday on ‘The Future of Caribbean Regional Integration’.
The CMCE has also sent a petition, bearing 150 signatures, urging the government to act on the reform of regional governance, expediting the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), reforming the CARICOM Secretariat, and involving civil society in regional decision-making.
“We call on leaders to respond to these demands which we believe are supported by the majority of our people,” it said.
The CMCE noted that while the people of the Caribbean view integration as crucial for the region’s survival and development, there is a strong sense that the process of integration is in decline and is in need of renewed leadership.
“We are taking this opportunity to call on the leaders of CARICOM to re-invigorate and re-energize the integration process by taking account of the deeply felt desire for a renewed leadership,” the group said.
The CMCE has recommended that leaders resolve the question of the CARICOM Secretary General. Since Sir Edwin Carrington resigned at the end of last year, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite has been acting in the post but no appointment has yet been made.
The organisation said the leaders need to offer the position to someone “with gravitas and vision, and who commands the respect of both the Heads of Government and the wider region”.
“Empower that person to lead a complete overhaul of both the governance structures and the orientation of the CARICOM Secretariat, giving it the legal space to become an implementation institution,” it said.
The CMCE also wants to see the leaders take decisive action on the question of regional transportation, and especially maritime transportation.
“Travel within the region is fragmented, inefficient and prohibitively expensive. Effective action on this issue could stimulate a range of regional benefits, from cultural co-operation, to much more effective intra-regional tourism,” the group’s message read.
Additionally, the Heads have been encouraged to make a new effort at upgrading communications, “since the people of the Caribbean deserve to have a public broadcasting entity which produces content from the region, for the region across radio, TV and the web, informing everyone about their regional brothers and sisters”.
The other appeal is for leaders to give genuine effect to the 2002 Liliendaal Statement of Principles and implement the CARICOM Charter of Civil Society as a matter of urgency.
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