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Jan 7, 2002

Musa takes over chair of CARICOM

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Arriving in Belize today was CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington. He is here to brief Prime Minister Said Musa, who as of the new year took on the chairmanship of the Caribbean Community for the next six months. At a joint press conference late this afternoon in Belmopan, Carrington explained why in the era of globalisation, it is more critical than ever for CARICOM to speak with one voice.

Edwin Carrington, Secretary Gen. CARICOM

“Could you imagine individual CARICOM countries going into these negotiations as individuals countries? In fact, as you enter these negotiations, you realise you need more to be together than the other way around, because as individual countries, you don’t even have a seat at table. You now need to forge linkages and groupings to ensure that you have a voice. If you look at European Union, German, France, these countries, they are strengthening their integration process; they’ve just moved to a single currency. They’re not saying, well we are big enough, therefore we don’t really need integration, they’re strengthening it.”

When asked what would be his most important focus during the next six months, the Prime Minister was clear…

Prime Minister Said Musa

“I think it’s important for Belize to play its rightful place in the growth and development of Caribbean peoples. I think for too long there has been a cry out there on the part of the people in the Caribbean that they don’t feel sufficiently involved in this process of integration. And I would hope that Belize with its civil society and with people’s organisations and indeed with the upcoming meeting that will take place in Barbados at the end of April this year, it will give us and opportunity and I will see this as the signal achievement if we can involve the peoples of Caribbean in this whole integration process. That to me alone would be sufficient to warrant my chairmanship in CARICOM.”

Belize City will host the CARICOM Intercessional Summit from February third through sixth. On February fifth, the CARICOM heads of government will be joined by the presidents of Central America for an unprecedented joint meeting.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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