Caricom Heads return to Chaguaramas to salute the vision of the four founding fathers – 4th Jul 2013
The cultures of the Caribbean blended beautifully today at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre where leaders of the Caribbean Community gathered to salute the vision of the four founding fathers of the Community – there should have been a re-enactment of 40 years ago, when leaders of Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana signed the treaty establishing CARICOM. President Donald Ramotar did what Forbes Burnham did back in 1973 for Guyana, but while he saluted the courage and foresight of the original founding fathers, he stayed away from mentioning Burnham’s name, something that the other Prime Ministers did not shy away from. In fact, at the opening ceremony Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart quoted Burnham on the need for the integration of the countries of the region.
While, President Ramotar did not call Burnham’s name, he referred to Burnham’s political rival, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the founder of the ruling PPP, and what Jagan saw as important to the region.
Today, President Ramotar said that 40 years ago the region was just emerging from colonialism and the then leaders recognised that to survive and prosper they needed to integrate.
He said that even though much has changed and there has been some progress, the need for integration is greater now.
While President Ramotar said the 40th anniversary is a cause for celebration, it was also one for reflection, for leaders to consider if they have been effective enough, whether the peoples of the region have benefited fully from the process.
The National School of Dance, Nrityageet, and the Korowwa Singers showcased a slice of Guyanese culture in song and dance, as President Ramotar reaffirmed Guyana’s commitment to CARICOM.
The Prime Minister of Barbabos said that the four founding leaders of CARICOM had one simple mission, and that was to bring the Region and its people more closely together.
He said he needed no persuasion that 40 years after the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the Region is more closely united than any other time in the history of the Caribbean.
On Friday, Caribbean leaders get into the real discussions, and one of the main agenda items is reforming CARICOM to make sure it stays relevant.