Prime Minister Hon. Philip J. Pierre delivered his inaugural address to The CARICOM at the 43rd Regular Meeting of Heads of Government in Paramaribo, Suriname on July 3, 2022.
Hon. Pierre reaffirmed Saint Lucia’s allegiance to the regional bloc and also advocated for solutions that will bring about meaningful and tangible improvements to the framework of The CARICOM.
“I want to assure you that I come to the Prime Ministership of Saint Lucia in the firm and abiding belief in CARICOM. Mr. Chairman, my regional philosophy has been shaped by the small population and territorial size of the country that I lead, but I stand here to affirm that Saint Lucia will always be less than it can be without CARICOM.
Whenever we are faced by external challenges, not of our own making, I am always guided by the words of the late Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur that “we should face it and fix it.” I am also always guided by the warning of our respected colleague, the distinguished Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, that we should avoid the reflexive learned helplessness which arguably stems from an inherited colonial consciousness. So, colleagues, I intend to use the responsibility that the people of Saint Lucia have placed on my shoulders to engage constructively with you and the CARICOM secretariat and to draw on your collective experience to advance the cause of CARICOM. In this regard, I pledge to engage energetically within CARICOM.”
In the face of external uncertainties affecting the Member States, the Prime Minister addressed the more pressing challenges impeding CARICOM’s long-envisioned pathway to holistic regional integration. Hon. Pierre espoused optimism for CARICOM’s potential and underscored the region’s collective intellectual wherewithal capable of devising and implementing workable strategies and models to make the regional bloc more agile, flexible, and responsive to the social and economic needs of its citizens.
In closing, Hon. Pierre implored his colleague Heads of Government to prioritise the well-being of the people who elected them to serve and to demonstrate the change CARICOM and its inhabitants need to forge a unified front.
“My dream is for a CARICOM that never forgets that the only reason why we have committed ourselves to public life, is to serve the people and so we must put the people first in all that we do…
My friends, let’s be honest and acknowledge that CARICOM’s image throughout our region needs to improve. That must change, and change now. Too much time has already been lost. We must begin that vital change by being the change the people have for a very long time been crying for.
We must not only talk unity. We must demonstrate to our people that we are together confronted by similar problems that can be resolved only by a United CARICOM.”