President of Suriname welcomes Secretary-General

President Desi Bourterse

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Incoming Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) His Excellency Desi Bouterse, President of Suriname welcomed CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on the first day of the Secretary-General’s two day official visit to Suriname on Monday.

President Bouterse becomes Chairman on 1 January 2012 and will hold the position for six months. He will succeed the Right Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis and current Chairman of CARICOM. The Secretary-General had earlier met Vice President of Suriname, His Excellency Robert Ameerali and the Foreign Minister the Honourable Winston Lakin. Among issues raised at both sessions was the start up of operations at the Caribbean Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) which has its headquarters in Suriname.

Secretary-General LaRocque also visited the CARICOM Competition Commission, at its Paramaribo headquarters, where he met with the Chairman, Dr Kusha Harracksingh and staff of the institution. Later in the afternoon, the Surinamese Business Forum (SBF) met with the Secretary-General and laid out their concerns with respect to the trading arrangements within the Community.

The Forum also put forward their views on the regional integration movement and discussed with the Secretary-General ideas to improve the integration process. Suriname is the fifth Member State visited by the Secretary-General following his assumption of office on 15 August.

He has already paid official visits to St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Dominica. On this visit the Secretary-General is accompanied by Ms Myrna Bernard, Officer in Charge of the Human and Social Development Directorate of the CARICOM Secretariat, which has responsibility for the areas of Gender, Youth, Culture and Sport among others.

The President has lead responsibility within the quasi-cabinet of CARICOM Heads of Government for Community Development and Cultural Co-operation which includes those four areas.

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