CARICOM Leaders Must do More Than Talk: Says New Grenada Prime Minister

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Dickon Mitchell

PARAMARIBO, Suriname – The newly elected Prime Minister of Grenada, Dickon Mitchell, on Sunday warned the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) against being viewed as a “talk” shop and urged Caribbean leaders to do more to foster greater regional unity and socio-economic development.

Mitchell, who came to office after leading his National Democratic Congress (NDC) to victory in the June 23 general election, told the opening ceremony of the 43rd CARICOM Summit that for too long “this Caribbean Community that we all love has been seen and viewed as a place where we talk, and talk, and talk and then we talk some more, and to what end Mr Chairman?

“No Sir, this is a time colleagues, my friends and to all the young people across the Caribbean Community – this is indeed our moment, this is your moment, where it is a Time for Action and a Time of Choosing.

“Let us therefore look towards the future of our region with a renewed hope and commitment as we in the coming days review our performance and chart a new way towards a transformative agenda, and make a collective and conscious decision at this season, at this Time of Choosing-to move all our people, all our citizens, our friends, our loved ones, our sons and daughters, to move all CARICOM – forward,” he told the opening ceremony.

Mitchell told the ceremony that his vision for CARICOM, as it has been for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique is one “where we must be transformed into an eco-friendly, fair, equitable, dynamic, prosperous and stable democracy, capable of sustaining a high quality of life for all our people.

“Grenada is willing, ready and eager to do our part in transforming our beloved Caribbean Community. This region belongs to all of us. It is and as I can simply put it- home,” he said, noting that the past regional leaders had in 1973 envisioned a region with the ability to transform the lives of its people by working together.

“A community that can overcome its challenges if we, without reservation, dedicate ourselves, our time and talents to moving CARICOM forward,” he said, noting that the regional grouping marks its 49th anniversary on Monday, “I believe that this is an opportune time for us to pause and reflect on the many experiences we have had while in pursuit of regional integration.

“Over the last 49 years, we have had many moments of celebration coupled with moments that required solemn reflection, still all the while envisioning the future,” Mitchell said, adding that as “we look toward the commemoration of our 50th anniversary, we need to redouble our efforts to finding solutions to our challenges.

“Let us not restrict our engagements to the members of our community but let us with purpose, follow the path of the Caribbean Sea, like wise men seeking a brightened star and engage all countries touched by its warm waters from Mexico to Venezuela, from Paramaribo to Port au Prince.

“We must also my friends, bolster support for all our regional organizations including the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and where CARICOM must be at the center of enhanced cooperation for our region.”

Mitchell, 44, said with this in mind the Caribbean must understand all too well that as a region, it is not without it share of challenges, even as he committed his country to work to find real solutions to the problems. (CMC)