St. Kitts and Nevis Celebrates 40 Years of CARICOM Integration

Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 5, 2013 (SKNIS): A simple, but symbolic ceremony under the theme: “Celebration and Renewal” was held in St. Kitts and Nevis to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Caribbean Community on the establishment on the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

Present at the ceremony were the Governor General, Sir Edmund Lawrence; Minister of International Trade, Hon. Richard Skerritt and other Members of Parliament, Diplomatic Corps; St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to CARICOM, Wendell Lawrence, CARICOM Youth Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, Patrice Harris and other invited guests. The celebration was cheered by Kevington Pemberton, who is also a CARICOM Youth Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis.

In his remarks, Minister Skerritt touched on the commitment to regional integration in St. Kitts and Nevis, going all the way back to the first Premier, the Right Excellent Sir Robert L. Bradshaw.

“Forty years ago St. Kitts and Nevis was still an Associated State of Great Britain,” he said. “Although we did not sign the treaty at the very beginning, Premier Bradshaw and his cabinet colleagues at that time were already convinced that regional integration was an important step, if our people were to optimize our potential in the national development process going forward.”

He further stated that because of Bradshaw’s previous regional efforts and experience, he knew it would not be long before the Federation achieved full nationhood, and that being part of collective Caribbean machinery, would have been critical for such a small country of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Hon. Richard Skerritt boasted of the successes of many great leaders of the twin island Federation and expressed gratitude.

“I am happy to reflect that Premier Bradshaw’s pioneering sense of regionalism has been followed over the years by ongoing commitments to the spirit of Caribbean Unity by all of our country’s leaders who followed him in office,” he said. “History will show that successive leaders of our government: Bradshaw, Southwell, Moore, Simmonds and Douglas, have all served the cause of Caribbean Integration well.”

CARICOM Youth Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, Patrice Harris, advised the nation on this 40th Anniversary to lend support to the advocates for CARICOM, recognizing the principles that have been edged into the Treaty.

“As we reflect on the theme: “Celebration and Renewal”, we must consider our strengths and capitalize upon them,” she stated. “Clear a path so that those who come after us continue to blaze the legacy of success.”

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to CARICOM, Wendell Lawrence stressed the importance of CARICOM to Caribbean people.

“The life of CARICOM is an integral part of our existence and our being of Caribbean people,” he said. “Notwithstanding the achievements of CARICOM, we cannot sit on our laurels, because it is perhaps one of the most visionary initiatives that the region has experienced.”

Quoting the CARICOM Secretary General (Ambassador Irwin LaRocque) in the recently held Heads of CARICOM meeting in Trinidad, Ambassador Lawrence said that CARICOM is the first of the surviving economic alliance in the developing countries. Globally, it comes first after the European Union.

Patrice Harris said that as a region, we must remember it has become increasingly important for us to work together, not only to improve our collective bargaining power globally, however, to create a unified front that would become a force to reckon with.

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