As CARICOM marked its 40th anniversary on Thursday and in the opening ceremony Trinidad and Tobago prime minister and Caricom Chairman Kamla Persad-Bissessar, recommended granting full membership to the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries.
“The ongoing reform process in the community must be one that will make CARICOM not only more efficient and effective, but more relevant as well,” said Persad-Bissessar, who assumed the Caricom chairmanship earlier this week. “In this regard, may I urge you to consider expanding our membership to welcome the Dominican Republic into the Caricom family.”
“It’s not yet clear whether Caricom heads will agree, but the move could prove critical as the Dominican Republic increasingly allies itself both with Latin America and Central America. The Dominican Republic is currently an observer to Caricom. ” - Caribbean Journal
In her speech at the 40th anniversary of Caricom, Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller reminded the leaders of the groups origin and vision.
“Forty years ago our forefathers and mothers decided that it was prudent to embrace both that which we had in common and that which gave us our distinct flavors to move towards a common goal. It was the visionary leadership from Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and our very own late Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Right Honourable Michael Manley that insisted that we should pool our collective efforts for the benefit of all our peoples.
“In their wisdom, they established a structure built on partnership; they created an institution that embraced our common histories and cultures of community. They called it the Caribbean Community, Caricom.
“Forty years ago, in 1973,the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed in this Caricom member state of Trinidad and Tobago, formalizing the intent of our community of nations. Today, 4th July 2013, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of this bold and historic step.
“It is an honor for me to participate, this morning, in the symbolic signing ceremony to mark the 40th year since the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, signifying Jamaica’s recommitment to the letter and principles entrenched in the Revised Treaty governing this important family of nations.
“The theme we have chosen to mark this significant milestone, “Forty (40) years of Integration: Celebration and Renewal,” causes us to cast our eyes in retrospect even as we move steadily forward. It reminds us that the Caricom construct, as envisaged forty years ago, is rooted in our history, geography, culture and many other commonalities which remain fundamental to its existence and survival.”