CARICOM member countries know they must place great reliance on focused, organized and coordinated diplomacy

Pictured are Bahamian diplomats and officials at Diplomatic Week 2023. At centre is Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis; and beside him -- CARICOM's Secretary General Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett, and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Fred Mitchell. (BIS Photo/Anthon Thompson)

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett said ingrained in the foundation of CARICOM is a commitment to diplomacy; a diplomacy that is focused on deepening the Community’s internal bonds, and on strengthening ties with its international partners.

“Article 6 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas requires us to enhance our coordination of foreign policies as an objective of the Community,” the CARICOM Secretary-General said at the Opening Ceremony of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Diplomatic Week 2023 held at the Baha Mar Resort, Monday, October 23, 2023. The theme for the week of activities was “Celebrating 50 Years of Foreign Relations and Beyond in an Independent Bahamas”.

She explained that the Revised Treaty also defines CARICOM’s collective responsibility to promote the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among Member States.

“These tenets have been, and continue to be, at the core of the Community’s claim as the longest-surviving integration movement globally. Even as we celebrate this significant milestone, we are cognizant of the significant global challenges that now require even stronger bonds between Member States, more robust international partnerships, and increasingly innovative approaches to achieve our Community and global objectives.”

Her Excellency said CARICOM’s commitment to coordinating foreign policy is based on its understanding that its collective strength and united advocacy are indispensable to advancing its priorities and work with the international community, to align interests.

She said, “CARICOM’s strengthened regional profile takes on heightened significance against the backdrop of an evolving global landscape. We are in an era where major international actors are increasingly inclined toward unilateralism, and the multilateral architecture is under increased strain.

“Geopolitical competition in our multipolar world has intensified and this challenging environment presents concerns for our countries, and necessitates a considered and proactive response.”

Her Excellency noted that as Small States, CARICOM member countries know they must place great reliance on focused, organized and coordinated diplomacy.

“We also know that we must constantly seek to strengthen our relationships with like-minded states and continue to champion the cause of multilateralism, as this remains central to our interests and security. It is by enhancing our collective diplomatic efforts that we can navigate this complex global landscape, and advance our shared interests and values.”

She said in the 50 years since its inception, CARICOM has repeatedly demonstrated its sensitivity to geopolitical tensions, ensuring that the priorities of the Region are reflected on the global stage to promote decisive action.