Published On: Mon, Apr 29th, 2013

Secretary-General enlists India as advocate for CARICOM

larocque(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)    Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has enlisted India as another of the Community’s advocates to highlight the deleterious effects of the `graduation’ of small, highly-indebted Member States away from access to badly needed international development assistance on a concessional basis.

The Secretary-General made the pitch for India’s support as he accepted the credentials of the new Plenipotentiary Representative of India to CARICOM, His Excellency Puran Mal Meena, at a ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat.

Ambassador LaRocque pointed out that the Community had made tremendous strides in promoting the economic and social development, but the impact of the recent global and financial crises had stymied that thrust.

“We are confident that with India’s status and standing in the world it would be able to support the CARICOM Region in its developmental efforts generally, and on this issue in particular by advocating on our behalf so that the international community could take the unique vulnerabilities of CARICOM States into account,” Secretary-General LaRocque told the Indian Ambassador to CARICOM.

Underlining the strong historical, social, cultural and economic ties between the Region and India, the Secretary-General said that the accreditation ceremony heralded a welcomed development in advancing and giving new impetus to CARICOM-India relations. He said that he looked forward to a strengthened CARICOM India partnership in all its dimensions.

The CARICOM Secretary-General specifically alluded to the cooperation initiatives at the regional level through the CARICOM-India Joint Commission- established in 2003 - in areas that include:

  • trade
  • economic development
  • health and the environment,
  • scientific and technical development, and
  • co-operation at the international level.

He underscored that climate change was also of importance to the Community and should be integral to future cooperation discussions.

“It is evident that there is much work to be done, Excellency. It therefore is desirable that every effort be made to convene the CARICOM-India Joint Commission as early as possible so that we could map out the areas for co-operation in the short, medium and long term. The potential benefits of such co-operation and collaboration should not be delayed any further”, the Secretary-General said.

Ambassador LaRocque also made reference to the heightened interest Indian investors had shown in the “vast potential of the Region as a bloc”, and the Region’s steadily increasing trade with India. According to the Secretary-General, CARICOM’s merchandise exports to India had grown in the last decade with CARICOM exporters expanding their sales by an average of 59 per cent making this one of the Region’s dynamic export markets in that period.

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