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May 11, 2021

Dr. Carla Barnett is the New Secretary General in CARICOM

Carla Barnett

In a first for Belize, Doctor Carla Barnett has been appointed as the Secretary General of CARICOM.  She was unanimously selected at a Heads of CARICOM Meeting today.  Barnett has served as the Deputy Secretary General of CARICOM, as well as Vice-President of Operations of the Caribbean Development Bank.  Locally, Barnett served as vice president of the Belize Senate, deputy Governor of the Central Bank and in various ministerial capacities; most recently as a Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. Today, she spoke with the media via zoom.  Reporter Andrea Polanco was on the call.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Doctor Carla Barnett is the new Secretary General of CARICOM. She is the first woman and first Belizean to lead the regional organization.


Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary General CARICOM

“For me, it is really an honor. It is very exciting and there is a lot of work to do and we are looking forward to doing it.   I lived in Guyana before – I lived there for six years as Deputy Sec General but there are old friendships that I will certainly rekindle but the most exciting part of it at this time is getting the opportunity to make that impact at the regional level because for me it is really important at this time for the region to be well organized to deal with the many crises we are faced with – the two most important being COVID and the economy.”


Doctor Barnett says that while she is happy with the work the organization has been doing to tackle COVID-19 and the economic downturn across the region, she believes CARICOM will continue to build on these efforts – with a strong focus on financing for the region to bounce back.


Dr. Carla Barnett

“It is necessary for us to continue to do that work because all of us are in the situation where we had to borrow more than we normally would have wanted to and that is happening across the country and we also need to access even more borrowing because liquidity- money in the bank is important to be able to buy vaccines and so some of our countries are really hard pressed coming up with the resources to do some of the basic things that need to be done and so there is a lot of work going on there  and that work needs to continue as smoothly as possible so that there is no issues that may arise.”


Barnett will take up the post of CARICOM’s Secretary General in Guyana in August.  She says that one of the first things on her agenda is to extend CARICOM’s outreach and implementation across member states:


Dr. Carla Barnett

“One of the things I would like to see us do is to share more of that information and bring more people on board in terms of communicating the message and the actions and offering ideas about what CARICOM can do and how they feel the impact of CARICOM and so for me there is going to be a lot more outreach even as we deal with the issues of implementation because that is one of the things that we hear a lot of the time too that we are not very good at implementing the decisions that we take and so for me it is the outreach and the focus of implementation as well.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Doctor Barnett holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of the West Indies, as well as a post grad and undergrad degrees in Economics. Barnett replaces Ambassador Irwin LaRocque who is completing his second term.

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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