Advanced regional development efforts, partnerships to take centre stage

-Incoming Chair of CARICOM, President Ali

As President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali prepares to assume the position of Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), he has said that the new year brings renewed possibilities for continued regional development efforts.

In his New Year’s statement issued by the CARICOM Secretariat on Friday, President Ali recognised the outstanding leadership of the former Chairman, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, and vowed that developmental efforts in 2024 will build on the achievements of 2023.

Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana

With steady progress being made in achieving the regional aim of reducing the food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, President Ali said that 2024 will see advancements in improving regional transportation, as well as seeking reliable, affordable and sustainable energy services to pilot further innovation in the agricultural sector.

The Guyanese leader added that the community will continue to advocate for early and fair operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, which was agreed upon at COP28, as well as insist on the fulfilment of the commitments made by major emitters to take action to reduce emissions that lead to climate change.

“We all know that SIDS do not contribute in any meaningful way to climate change, but we carry the heaviest burden of the impact: from more and stronger tropical cyclones to increasingly scarce and saline ground water, to disappearing coastal lands, to degrading marine eco-systems, to stress on agriculture and other sectors. This is why our call for fair access to affordable financing to address the impact of climate change must and will continue,” he said.

As the community works towards building its CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the president said that in 2024, enhanced effort will be made in ensuring greater participation of all sectors, including the private sector, labour organisations and civil society.

He also recognised the crucial role that CARICOM continues to play in maintaining regional peace and security.

“We live in a world where peace is challenged from one corner of the universe to the next. We ended 2023, however, with CARICOM’s robust role in assuring the rule of international peace and security in our corner on the world and ensuring that Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole remained a Zone of Peace,” he said.

This respect for international law will be upheld in 2024, the president stated and reminded of the collective commitment to peace and legal resolution of border controversies.

For the period January 1 to June 30, 2024, Guyana is set to Chair the Conference of Heads of Government. In February of next year, CARICOM heads of state and government will converge in Guyana for the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference.

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