Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Caricom set-up could change

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WHEN Caribbean leaders meet again next February they might approve a completely new governance structure.
Several prime ministers and foreign ministers, including Jamaica’s Bruce Golding, Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Grenada’s Tillman Thomas and St Lucia’s Stephenson King, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs  Senator Maxine McClean, met in New York last Friday.
They agreed in principle to create a new Permanent Council of Ambassadors – somewhat similar to the system used by the Organisation of American States – and its job will be to ensure that decisions of the prime ministers and presidents are implemented.
The leaders are also expected to choose a new Secretary General to succeed Edwin Carrington, who is stepping down in December.
A search committee, of which McClean is a key member, is expected to recommend a shortlist of candidates for the top position that becomes vacant for the first time in 18 years.
“The search committee has been identified and it is to be chaired by the Jamaican representative,” Persad-Bissessar told reporters in New York.
“Trinidad and Tobago, of course, is represented on the committee. Andy Johnson, a veteran journalist from Trinidad and Tobago, is one of the persons on the search committee.
“Barbados has their representative, the Foreign Minister. They are several persons on the search committee. The next step is a report in February.”
It is understood that several candidates have already applied for the job and one of them is Ambassador Edwin Laurent, a former diplomatic representative of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in Europe, according to King, St Lucia’s prime minister.
“The selection of a Secretary General is going to be a tough decision,” King told the Daily Nation in New York where he is attending a round of diplomatic meetings at the United Nations. “The OECS has not put up a candidate, but there is a St Lucian who is interested in the job that St Lucia supports in the person of Ambassador Edwin Laurent . . . . There are numerous Caribbean men and women who have excelled in their own fields of endeavour and we should really give the best person the job.”
King listed a commitment to “regionalism”, as well as stature, influence and the drive to get the job done as the key qualities the region’s leaders would be looking for in a new Secretary General.

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