GEORGETOWN, Guyana: President Bharrat Jagdeo says the regional integration movement remains on course despite the challenges it is facing and he has called on Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states to recommit to the integration.
Jagdeo said CARICOM was grappling with “unprecedented challenges” due to the global economic crisis. However, he said the institutional mechanisms set up to guide CARICOM through this period must be allowed to work.
Although differences of opinion are inevitable wherever diversity exists, they should not be perceived as indicators of disunity, Jagdeo said.
“Those differences of opinion on various issues are elevated to the level of the disintegration of the movement and that is a contention I cannot agree with,” he said. “We have made significant progress that individual member states could not have made by themselves.”
Jagdeo said regional advocacy on climate change, the reform of the global financial systems and strides made in education were among the examples that confirmed the relevance of the integration movement.
The President added that CARICOM Heads of Government have a “deep desire” to work together towards achieving the integration movement’s objectives of developing a better Community for all.
Jagdeo’s comments were supported by CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington.
“Integration has bumps and it has smooth freeways,” Carrington said. “It is unfortunate when the slightest difficulty is interpreted as the final end for the integration process.”