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GEORGETOWN, GUyana – Staff of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat came in for high praise from Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government, President Desiré Bouterse, who visited the Georgetown-based Secretariat on Tuesday.
President Bouterse who together with Foreign Minister Winston Lackin and a Government delegation was on board the inaugural SLM Guyana-Miami fight, when he visited the secretariat. Bouterse, who chairs the Community from January to June, held discussions with Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, and later interacted with staff members of the Secretariat, Caricom wrote in a press release. “I know that many of you work long and hard and it is much appreciated. It may look as if your contribution is overlooked. But let me assure you that it is much appreciated,” he told staffers.
As he acknowledged that the Region had to change if it wanted to survive, the President made reference to the recently-publicised Landell Mills Report on restructuring the Secretariat and pointed out that staff of the Secretariat were the most important part of the wheels of change and reform. He said the document will be used as a basis for going forward, not necessarily following every recommendation, but by utilising those that would make the Region and the Secretariat more relevant.
Earlier, in welcoming President Bouterse, Secretary-General LaRocque, also referred to the Report and said the Chairman’s visit was a heartening sign of the support to be expected from the Heads of Government as the change process unfolded.
“Mr. President, your role as Chairman over the next three months and as a Member of the Bureau over the next nine months, puts you at the centre of this process at the time when it requires the strongest support and impetus from our leadership,” Amassador LaRocque said.
President Bouterse was accompanied by a team that included Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Suriname to CARICOM; Ambassador Rose-Anne A. Franklin, Director of Protocol and Ceremonies in the Cabinet of the President; and Ms. Yldiz Pollack-Beighle, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The visit was President Bouterse’s second to the Secretariat, having previously visited in September 2010 soon after his inauguration.
Source: Caricom press release