BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Monday December 31, 2018 – The Prime Minister who will take up the chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) wants 2019 to be the year the region make a difference in the fight chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
In his New Year’s message, St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris said that at the core of CARICOM’s thrust for growth and development is a well-educated and healthy workforce.
“Our Community’s commitment to battle against the ravages caused by chronic non-communicable diseases is unrelenting,” he said, pointing to CARICOM Ministers of Health agreeing on a Caribbean Moves programme which seeks to create a culture of regular physical activity and healthy eating through exciting, fun and supportive programmes where people live, work, study and play.
“It is a whole society approach that we must embrace to tackle this continuing threat to our greatest resource – our people.”
“Let us make 2019, the year that made the difference in combatting chronic non-communicable diseases in our Community,” added the incoming CARICOM chairman who takes over from his Jamaican counterpart, Andrew Holness.
Harris said CARICOM is entering 2019 with renewed vigour and determination to maintain the momentum on which it is ending 2018.
He pointed out that this is the final year of the first five-year Strategic Plan and preparations have already begun for the second plan which will build on the accomplishments of its predecessor.
Noting that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy is the linchpin of efforts at sustainable growth and development, Harris said that in the coming year, “we will be looking to further advance its implementation from what has been achieved in 2018”.
He added that when the 30th Thirtieth Inter-Sessional Meeting is held in his country in February, leaders will conduct a special session on air and maritime transportation to focus on that aspect of integration as a whole and the CSME in particular.
“An efficient and affordable transportation system would be a tremendous stimulus to trade and intra-regional tourism thereby strengthening two critical aspects of integration,” Harris said.
Additionally, he said, CARICOM will also be making strides in implementing the Human Resource Development Strategy 2030 as it moves to draft the new school curriculum with particular emphasis on Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
CARIFESTA XIV will also be held August 16-25 in Trinidad and Tobago.
“2019 therefore promises to be a year full of action for CARICOM,” Harris said.