Latin America, (TeleSUR) – Fifteen countries belonging to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are holding their 43rd ordinary meeting in Paramaribo (Suriname), where they will discuss the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
“Let us continue to be aware of the importance of solidarity and the spirit of a community when we address the issues on our agenda,” Suriname’s president Chandrikapersad Santokhi opened the meeting on Sunday. “After all, we must be united in our purpose, to advance the sustainable development of the countries in our region, while ensuring that no one is left behind,” he added.
At the meeting’s opening ceremony, CARICOM secretary Carla Barnett highlighted that Caribbean countries face numerous global challenges that could affect their growth path.
“We meet at a time of severe global crisis in three vital areas, namely, food, energy, and finance. Addressing solutions for our Region requires collective intellect and will to act together. This task is not beyond us, as we have proven time and again. Let us, therefore, once more unto the breach and make a difference in the lives of our people,” she said.
On the first day of the CARICOM meeting, Belize’s prime minister John Briceno also highlighted the importance of regional cooperation and expressed his rejection of the US sanctions against the peoples of Venezuela and Cuba.
“Fuel prices have been too high for too long. We in the Caribbean call for the immediate lifting of the sanction imposed on Venezuela so the revolutionary PetroCaribe program can be reinstated, providing our economies with much-needed relief,” he said, as reported by Kawsachun News.
Currently, CARICOM has 15 members and five associate members. Its member states are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Within this regional integration scheme, the associate members are Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Turks & Caicos.