(PRESS RELEASE) – CARICOM member states must seize the opportunity to help the countries that were devastated by the recent hurricanes to build back better and become the first climate-resilient nations in the world, said CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, during the opening of the 45th meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana.
The impact of the hurricanes wrought on some CARICOM member states and associate members have affected various sectors including agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, housing, infrastructure, energy, and communications.
“The impact has also caused ripple effects across the region, given the level of integration,” the Secretary-General pointed out. He added that “the devastating climatic events have put at risk, the region’s efforts to stimulate growth and development and that the economic impact is not limited to the affected countries alone but extend to the wider Caribbean.”
According to Ambassador LaRocque, it is critical for reconstruction and rebuilding to get underway so that economies could be revived and the social needs of people could be addressed. The Secretary-General praised the region’s response to the disasters, underlining the lead role of the CARICOM Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). He advised of the upcoming CARICOM-United Nations Pledging Conference on Nov. 21 in New York, USA.
Through that event, CARICOM will seek the co-operation of international development partners, the private sector and private foundations to help rebuild the countries ravaged by the hurricanes. Ambassador LaRocque said that a broader objective of the pledging conference was to assist the entire Caribbean community to improve its resilience to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Additional matters to be considered at the meeting include a presentation by Antigua and Barbuda on the impact of the hurricanes on Barbuda and Dominica.