|Opening of CARICOM summit|
Forty (40) years ago on this day, the founding fathers of the region executed what is perhaps, the most significant accord that would govern the relationship of the nation-states which comprise the Caribbean Community.
There can be no doubt that the historic signing of July 4th 1973, was preceded by long and meticulous study, debate and articulation towards the final product; the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
There is no doubt that the framers of that celebrated Treaty would have toiled to ensure that it reflected the composite views of the many men, women, children and governments who helped mould and crystallise its formulation.
And whilst, there is never an Agreement that can represent the aims, ambitions and aspirations of a people with exactitude, we can safely say that forty years ago our political forefathers were on the right track.
In the very Preamble to that momentous declaration, the signatories pledged, inter alia, to be “Determined to consolidate and strengthen the bonds which have historically existed amongst their peoples”....and to be “Conscious that these objectives can most rapidly be attained by the optimum utilisation of available human and natural resources of the Region”.
That sense of determination and consciousness continues to drive our Caricom Community today, which is characterised by forty years of dialogue and unity.
However, after forty years we find ourselves at an important juncture in the evolution of our Caribbean Region.
We must commit to either go forward together or to succumb to the negativity and unconstructiveness of the naysayers who declare CARICOM to be irrelevant.
I say we cannot, must not let perish the vision and hopes of our great leaders who stood right here 40 years ago, firm in the belief that it was only through collective effort that the ambitions of the peoples of the Caribbean could be materialised.
This morning through sound and movement; art and drama, we showcase our “Caribbean-ness”, testimony to our creativity and innovation and our unbridled ability to rise above any challenge we may have to face.
Let this re-enactment today be not just a physical dramatization of our past, but a tangible rededication to the future.
Let today be a day for positive reflection.
Let it be the reincarnation of the spirit and intendment of the Charter of July 4th 1973.
Let today become our moment for new resolve.
Let it be the moment for rejuvenated determination and consciousness; watchwords so passionately inscribed in the Preamble to the Caribbean’s most famous document.
The task before us is clear.
Our challenge is not to be indecisive, not to hesitate, not to reverse, not to turn around.
Our challenge is not to delay and loiter over hardship, adversity or difficulty, but to persist and to rally on our course towards the realisation of the destiny that our forefathers have set for us.
I thank you.