Thursday, June 24, 2021

Belizean Dr Carla Barnett Appointed First Female Secretary-General of CARICOM

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By Roy Lie Atjam

Port-of-Spain, 11 May 2021. Statement from the chairman of the Caribbean Community(CARICOM), Dr the Right Hon. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the selection of the new CARICOM Secretary-General. It has been 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 15 August 2021.

Heads of Government, Ministers, regional and international organisations and citizens of the Community have used social media to offer their congratulations to Dr Barnett. 

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 Economics degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica.

Dr Barnett has extensive experience at the executive level of the public service in Belize and the CARICOM Region. Her work experience includes service as Financial Secretary and Deputy Governor/Acting Governor at the Central Bank of Belize.  She has also served as a Vice President at the Caribbean Development Bank and is now a Senator in Belize’s Upper House. Moreover, Dr Barnett, who served as the first female Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM from 1997 to 2002, has now taken her distinction to the highest level as the first female to become Secretary-General.

In a congratulatory message, Prime Minister of Barbados and former Chair of CARICOM, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, described Dr Barnett as “perfect for the job in the Region at this time when economies have collapsed and what we need is a sound economist to lead us on a path to growth.”

Prime Minister Mottley said, “Her vast experience in regional organisations such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the Central Bank of Belize and elsewhere, has sharpened her for the position she is about to assume — not because she is a woman, but because of her competencies.”

 “However, her being the first woman means that young girls across the Region can be inspired by Dr Barnett’s accomplishments and begin their moon journey,” she said.

CARICOM’s Head Quarters is located in Georgetown Guyana. CARICOM(1973) is the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world. It is a grouping of twenty countries: fifteen Member States  and five  Associate Members. It is home to  approximately sixteen million citizens, 60% of whom are under the age of 30.The Community is multi-lingual; with English as the major language complemented by French and Dutch  and  variations of these, as well as African and Asian expressions.

CARICOM Secretariat’s mandate is to contribute, in support of Member States, to the improvement of the quality of life of the People of the Community and the development of an innovative and productive society in partnership with institutions and groups working towards attaining a people-centred, sustainable and internationally competitive Community.

Together the community is responsible for the strategic management and direction of the Organization and for working closely with the Councils and their Chairpersons to promote the implementation of decisions. The Work is guided by the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

The latest news: Azerbaijan, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque received the Letter of Credence of H.E. Elkhan Polukhov on 12 May 2021, accrediting him as the first Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the CARICOM.

Picture is a courtesy of Guyana Chronicle Newspaper

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