CARICOM Repeatedly Demonstrates Sensitivity to Geopolitical Tensions

Officials at Diplomatic Week 2023: CARICOM's Secretary General HE Dr. Carla Barnett is at centre left, next to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis. (BIS Photo/Anthon Thompson)

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett 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.

“As a collective of Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS), we understand that it is vital for our development partners to reflect an understanding of our concerns on the international stage,” 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: “Celebrating 50 Years of Foreign Relations and Beyond in an Independent Bahamas”.

“We also acknowledge that our unified voices allow us to overcome the limitations of the small size of our individual nations, as we seek to effect change for the benefit of our People.” 

She also commended The Bahamas for its commitment to climate change advocacy.

“We highlight your engagement in the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP), where you continue to advocate for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), emphasizing the urgent need for global action, agreements on ambitious climate action, and support for adaptation and mitigation efforts.”

Her Excellency explained that the Region’s vulnerability to the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events and ocean acidification, drives CARICOM determination to protect its environment and well-being.

She also stressed that the Community is at a critical juncture as its economic security faces immense challenges from reverberations initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing wars, and climate change.

Her Excellency said the development of CARICOM’s Member State, Haiti, remains hampered by a multifaceted crisis.

“CARICOM has a key role in assisting Haiti in finding its solutions. Our focus is to support political dialogue among Haitian stakeholders, towards establishing a stable and representative arrangement that can effectively govern towards free and fair elections.” 

She said CARICOM is doing this with significant support from The Bahamas Government, through the inclusion of former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, as a Member of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), and through administrative and programmatic support to the dialogue process.

Her Excellency explained that a historic moment unfolded on 12 October 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland, at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“With the full support of CARICOM, a groundbreaking Resolution was adopted to establish a regional office of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for CARICOM Member States. This office, I am proud to acknowledge, is to be hosted in The Bahamas, and will provide dedicated technical assistance and capacity-building in human rights within CARICOM.”