CARICOM leaders meet; voice concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

CARICOM’s incoming chairman and his predecessor have stressed the need for regional unity as they voiced concern about Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Belize’s Prime Minister John Briceno, the regional grouping’s new chairman, and outgoing chairman Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne voiced their concerns today as the Thirty-Third Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads opened in San Pedro, Belize.

Addressing an audience, including Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Browne said in his online video address that “our unity and solidarity in CARICOM will be a vital and necessary element in the strength and stability of our organisation as we face a world in flux”.

“All around us the very dangerous and volatile changes threaten to overwhelm the international order as we have come to know it. As I speak, the guns of war are once again roaring in Europe in a military confrontation that could bring two nuclear world powers into open conflict,” he said.

“The implications of this development for world peace and security are almost too frightening to contemplate. The trend towards danger and volatility across many spheres in international affairs has characterised the past six months of my chairmanship and I fully expect it to continue.”

Briceno, who spoke before an in-person audience, said the current international climate, which was “riddled with crises, conflicts and suffering” was now facing “what appears to be a new Cold War”.

“As we meet, Russia has invaded Ukraine. This is a flagrant violation of international law. We condemn in the strongest terms this unjustified invasion. There must be an immediate cessation of hostilities, an immediate and unilateral withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine. We call for all to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law,” he said.

Briceno said these uncertainties illustrated the importance of multilaterial cooperation in “effectively countering the immense challenges we face”.

“At the same time, at national and regional levels, we bear the responsibility of meeting the aspirations of our people for development, for improved standards of living and for opportunities,” he added. (SC)

The Thirty-Third Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads opened in San Pedro, Belize, March 1, 2022. (Picture courtesy PMO, Barbados)

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