Public servants address CARICOM’s reform process
December 6, 2013
Public servants address CARICOM’s reform process

Senior public servants in St Vincent and the Grenadines had the opportunity recently to air their views about the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and what is needed to help to develop the community.{{more}}

Members of the CARICOM Secretariat visited St Vincent and the Grenadines last Thursday to host a consultation that addressed CARICOM’s reform process.

The reform process seeks to bring about change within the community, with emphasis being placed on movement from the current state where the efficacy of regional integration in the community is being questioned, to a state where targeted results for the benefit of persons within the region can be planned, monitored and measured.

While addressing participants at the opening ceremony, Secretary General Irwin Laroque highlighted to participants the purpose of the visit.

“This exercise stemmed from the heads requiring that we do a review of the integration architecture…and not just the CARICOM secretariat, because there are several institutions in the community that have been created by our member states’ heads of government that are supposedly all working in the same direction of providing services to the people, our community, with the sole aim of integrating us closer and closer together.

“We are here…to consult, to hear from you. We want to ensure that we are all on board with this exercise that we are doing and that we are serving, that we are more efficient with how we deliver, that we are more relevant as a community and that the community is here to facilitate and to assist with the development of its people,” Laroque said.

The secretary general noted that the project is handled using a two-pronged approach, with the first one being to develop a strategic plan.

“The strategic plan will seek to identify the priorities which we will focus on in the next five years and this is very important, because one of the problems that we have faced is that we receive many, many, many mandates to do many things and the capacity to deliver on a timely basis is not always there and we need to structure ourselves in a way that prioritizes what needs to be done and then provide for the means for doing so,” he said. “It’s a ground up approach. Of course, guided from the heads of government overall…I just want to stress the extent that this change process has to be successful; it has to be driven from all levels”.

Laroque added that it is the intent of the secretariat to look at various governance arrangements.

Cabinet Secretary Kattian Barnwell expressed excitement at being able to take part in the consultation.

In her brief remarks, the cabinet secretary addressed the CARICOM secretariat and wished them success in their endeavours.

“It is something as public servants here, we can identify with readily, the whole idea of reform and leading and managing change, with the aim of improving services that we deliver and so we are excited to see that you have commenced something that we can identify with very readily. We wish you great success in your endeavours and we will…be looking at your journey to see all the lessons that we can gain and apply to our own situation here,” Barnwell said.

Barnwell also commended the secretariat for doing introspection before embarking on their task and pledged full support for the process.

“This, I think is very important because, as organizations, we have to ensure that we remain relevant, we remain responsive to the persons that we serve and in looking at the documents…we realize that the people of the region are at the centre of what you have undertaken,” she said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and Information Technology Nathaniel Williams also delivered brief remarks.

The two-day consultation, which began on November 28, was the final one in a series of other consultations carried out in the member states.

The process was supported by a contribution from the Government of the United Kingdom.(BK)