GEORGETOWN, Guyana: Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite has been appointed the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) interim Secretary General, beginning in January 2011.
CARICOM Heads of Government have agreed that Applewhaite, who is currently the CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General, will assume her new duties pending the selection and appointment of a new Secretary-General to succeed Sir Edwin Carrington, who retires at year-end.
Applewhaite, a Barbadian national with vast experience in the diplomatic service, is a former Director of the Centre for International Studies at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. She has served as Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM since 2003.
A search committee chaired by Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, which was established to identify suitable candidates to fill the post of Secretary-General, submitted a progress report to the Bureau of Heads of Government on November 17.
CARICOM leaders have approved the recommendation of the Bureau for the Search Committee to continue its search, review applications and conduct interviews with a goal of submitting its recommendations to the Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, scheduled to be held in Grenada in late February/early March 2011.
Meanwhile, Sir Edwin was lauded at an Evening of Appreciation held in his honour last Friday in Guyana.
In a recorded message aired at the function, Jamaica Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman Bruce Golding hailed Sir Edwin’s service to the region and pointed out that he had focused his energies on bringing the benefits of integration to the people of the region.
Guyana Prime Minister Sam Hinds said Sir Edwin had done a remarkable job in promoting Caribbean interests for almost four decades in the various offices he held. Hinds also noted the disappointments that Carrington referred to, including the lack of implementation of some of the decisions taken at the community level.
“I would hope, as he also does, that our search for more successful forms of governance will lead to new arrangements and structures which will overcome the present difficulties and provide better service to member states,” said Hinds.
In her tribute to Carrington, Applewhaite said that during his time at the Secretariat, he was the “embodiment of selfless commitment and dedication to the cause of building a Caribbean Community in which our citizens, their children and their children’s children can aspire to a better quality of life”.
In response to the tributes, Carrington said that whatever he had done or said in his time as the region’s top civil servant was with one objective in mind – to improve the quality of life of the people of the region.
He also thanked his wife, Lady Patricia Carrington, his children and staff of the CARICOM Secretariat.