ST. GEORGE’S: Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Caroline Rodrigues-Birkett, says the Caribbean should take an active role at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) debate on the post 2015 Agenda.
Rodrigues-Birkett made the announcement as she addressed the opening ceremony in Grenada of the fourth meeting of foreign ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba last week.
Rodrigues-Birkett said when the UNGA debate opens later this month, countries will be called upon to engage in healthy dialogue on the future beyond the global development compact represented by the Millennium Development Goals.
“We are looking forward to this discussion and it is our hope that we all take an active role in the deliberations with a view to ensuring that our region’s interests are adequately and effectively addressed,” she said.
Rodrigues-Birkett said CARICOM was pleased to witness changes to Cuba’s agriculture, private sector, tax and economic policies. She said these changes are a testament to Cuba’s resilience, its ability to adapt and its commitment to pursuing a development path that benefitted not only the people of Cuba, but also the wider Caribbean.
“In this regard, we will continue to advocate for the removal of the U.S. embargo on Cuba,” she said. “It is wrong and unjust.”
CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque also alluded to the embargo in his remarks. He said the Community had stood steadfastly with Cuba in hemispheric and international arenas on matters of great concern to the region.
“Paramount among these is the Community’s continuing demand for the lifting of the U.S. embargo,” he said.
LaRocque said that CARICOM would continue to support Cuba’s full participation in hemispheric affairs and “looks forward to the day when Cuba will be invited to take part in the Summit of the Americas process”.
In recognizing Cuba’s role as president pro tempore of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean States (CELAC), LaRocque said the organization’s objectives of deepening dialogue and interaction between the sub-regional groupings and their member states and promoting greater opportunities for cooperation between these groupings, resonated with CARICOM’s belief that there was need for the hemisphere to become more cohesive.