GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) meeting virtually in Special Session on Tuesday, May 11, and unanimously agreed to appoint Dr Carla Natalie Barnett as the 8th CARICOM secretary-general.
Dr Barnett, a national of Belize, is the first woman and the first Belizean to be selected for the post. She will replace ambassador Irwin LaRocque who is completing his second term. She will assume office on August 15, 2021.
Heads of government in congratulating Dr Barnett on her selection, recognised the historic moment for the Community.
A former deputy secretary-general of CARICOM, Dr Barnett was formerly vice president of the Belize Senate and has served in various ministerial capacities in her country’s government. She has also served as financial secretary of Belize and deputy governor of the Central Bank of Belize, as well as vice-president (operations) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Dr Barnett attained her Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona Campus in Jamaica. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the UWI.
Juan Antonio Briceño, prime minister of Belize, who led the Belize delegation at the meeting, thanked his CARICOM colleagues for the confidence entrusted to Dr Barnett.
He noted that Dr Barnett will take up the post of secretary-general at the most critical time for the region. The prime minister also highlighted that in addition to her unimpeachable qualifications, Dr Barnett’s professional career has precisely equipped her with the skills, experience and network to lead the CARICOM Secretariat.
“It is not lost on us that Belize is geographically on the western rim of our shared Caribbean space. However, CARICOM’s centrality to Belize’s identity, culture, aspirations and development has never been in doubt. Belize’s commitment to our integration, Community and Secretariat is unshakable. And is now well exemplified by our provision of the next secretary-general,” said prime minster Briceño.