CARICOM Secretary-General meets Antigua and Barbuda’s Opposition Leader

Ambassador LaRocque

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Antigua and Barbuda’s Opposition Leader, the Honourable Lester Bird congratulated Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on his appointment as Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and assured him of the full support of his Antigua Labour Party(ALP).

Secretary-General LaRocque called on Mr Bird on Monday at the Parliament Building in St John’s Antigua and Barbuda on the first day of his two-day visit to that Member State.

Mr. Bird was accompanied by the Chairman of the ALP, the Honourable Gaston Browne.

Mr Bird alluded to the challenges which Secretary-General LaRocque faced and identified freedom of movement as a particularly difficult one. He also spoke of the importance of transportation not only in respect of trade and the movement of people, but also as a key factor in encouraging commingling of the Region’s citizens.

Both Mr Bird and Mr Browne stressed the importance of bringing the Opposition parties into the regional arrangements to get bipartisan agreement on the Community agenda. Secretary-General LaRocque thanked Mr Bird for his expressions of support and congratulations and noted that the Opposition Leader was no stranger to the integration movement. He noted the concerns with respect to freedom of movement and indicated that there was an impact assessment underway to gauge the results of movement on Member States.

The Secretary-General agreed that bipartisan agreement on the regional agenda was an important step forward and emphasised the need to bring the regional agenda to the national agenda. Ambassador LaRocque assured the Leader of the Antigua and Opposition that the integration movement was moving ahead despite the severe challenges it faced. He noted that its progress should not only be determined in the context of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy but in the array of other areas which were integral to integration.

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