Prime Minister Harris officially handed over the chairmanship of the regional bloc to the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Allen Chastanet at the 40th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held in St. Lucia from July 3-5, 2019.
Ambassador LaRocque, in a letter addressed to the St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister, stated, “During the time of your tenure, the Community focused on strengthening the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) while, at the same time, some of our States faced persistent hostile threats of blacklisting.”
“It was also a period when you guided the Community on the ongoing political situation in Venezuela, which required urgent and concerted response, and to which you spared no effort in reaffirming the principle of non-interference and non-intervention,” Ambassador LaRocque added.
Prime Minister Harris was the leading figure in CARICOM’s diplomacy missions on the situation in Venezuela, from chairing an Emergency Meeting of the Conference in late January to leading a high-level CARICOM delegation to the United Nations for talks with UN Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. António Guterres.
Ambassador LaRocque stated that these timely interventions were “testimony to what is possible through a coordinated foreign policy and the maintenance of the principles of the Community’s relations with Third States.”
The CARICOM Secretary-General thanked Prime Minister Harris for his efforts, and noted that “It was pleasure collaborating with you on these and other important issues of relevance to the Community.”
While addressing the opening ceremony of the 40th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, Prime Minister Harris in his capacity as Outgoing Chairman, offered words of appreciation to the CARICOM Secretariat and specifically the Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, for the sterling support given to him as Chairman and to the region generally.
Prime Minister Harris said, “Working closely with Ambassador LaRocque and his team over the last six months, I can attest to their industry, ingenuity, reliability and professionalism. We are blessed to have such an excellent cadre of regional public servants working to effect our integration arrangements.”