In delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of the two-day 14th Meeting of the COFCOR, Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Condor underscored the role of the Council as important to the continued advancement of the Community.
“Colleague Ministers, our role as Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Caribbean Community in these challenging times, remains critical. We have the extremely important responsibility, to ensure that the interests of CARICOM are enduring; whatever the developments that may occur in the International Community.”
Chairman Condor explained that the Community, in the past faced a number of challenges which it has managed to overcome and he expressed his confidence that with the appropriate strategy, the Community will continue to overcome challenges.
“I expect that as a testimony to this fact, we will hear of developments regarding the Permanent Memorial on Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, during our deliberations. I reiterate that we have this background to use as a reminder of our ability to triumph over adversity; and as a symbol of how far we have come. The people of CARICOM were not able only, to overcome the scourge of slavery, but we were able to unite under a common history and culture and to chart a course that can only undergird us, as we go forward.
“As the Council, vested with the responsibility of determining Inter-State Relations within our own Region, with Third States, as well as with International Organizations, we must constantly be devising mechanisms that will assist us in using the opportunities that are presented; and to transcend the challenges that often beset us, to promote, expand, improve and accelerate our Developmental Agenda.”
With a view to outlining the appropriate strategies, Condor indicated that extensive discussions on pressing issues were to have been discussed, including that of regional security concerns.
“We will be having extensive discussions on a number of pressing matters; not least among them, are those issues that affect us here in our own region. The International Security concerns are Regional Security concerns; and we do have the opportunity to adopt, adapt and to strategize on best practices suited for every Member State. What we do know is that none of our individual concerns operate in a vacuum, that they affect us all; and that a coordinated approach is the only way we will defeat the Security challenges that we face.
“I believe with all my heart that we must dare to impose paradigm shifts, on both the methodology and the outcome sought, if we are to ensure that future generations do not decry this current generation for myopia. In this regard, a request was put forward by St. Kitts – Nevis at the June 2010 UN Meeting, that a High Level Conference on Inter-Personal Violence and Citizen Security be held prior to the next OAS General Assembly. You would recall that immediately following, during a press conference in Barbados, Her Excellency Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State to The United States, highly endorsed that idea.”
The COFCOR incoming Chairman underscored the development of relationships between CARICOM and other countries as important noting that, “We must then improve upon, or devise, where applicable, strategies to engage those Nations of goodwill, who may be far apart in terms of geography, but very close in terms of productive bilateral exchanges that could redound to our mutual benefit.”
The structure and organisation of the Caribbean Community “and the pursuit of strategies to strengthen them” were also areas which Minister Condor outlined for discussion.