In order to advance regional integration, a Change Driver in each member state has been appointed to coordinate and facilitate a new strategic plan which will run from 2014 to 2018.
Saint Lucia’s Change Driver is Dr. Alison Plummer, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister. She explained the rationale behind her new post.
“It was felt that what was lacking with the CARICOM movement that perhaps there has been largely a weakness in the feeling of the people on the ground. And by extension that filtered out in terms of difficulties, impediments with implementations of the decisions. So this decision was taken to implement a Change Driver in each member state. And the first task of the Change Driver would be to ensure that CARICOM’s new focus over the next four years which is targeted at looking at the institutional framework of CARICOM as well as identifying key priorities so that CARICOM can focus on defined deliverables.”
In order to get the ball rolling on the new strategic plan, there will be a number of national consultations. The first of which will be held on Wednesday September 12 and Saturday September 14 which will involve key governmental, social and economic sector representatives. Additionally, there will be an open public forum at the Castries Town Hall on Friday September 20th .
Ambassador Plenipotentiary to CARICOM and the OECS, Her Excellency Dr June Soomer, believes that through these consultations, the scepticism about integration and the role of CARICOM will be quelled.
“Small countries like ours cannot make it on our own. Regional integration is the way that the region is looking for growth and development. It is through regional integration. And so I would like them to come out and say where they would like to see our countries going. I want them to be conscious of the fact that everything that we do at the regional level will affect us nationally because of the mandates that we have at the regional level. They should always want their voices to be heard.”
Given the volume and scope of the work to be undertaken, Dr. Plummer will be assisted by a capable and diverse team of individuals from the public sector.