The Democratic Labour Party issued the following statement as Barbados commemorated the 50th Anniversary of CARICOM with a special public holiday.
Due to the forces at work in technology, international trade, climate change, and the global economy, we must fight harder for meaningful change to transform the lives of our Caribbean people.
Now is a time to have laser focus on policies, agreements, and goals that can transform our Caribbean and its people. Now is the time push to forward and retool our economies for our Caribbean people.
New leadership, which is agile and can put Caribbean people first, is required to discover and create new opportunities across the region for our people, to lift them out of poverty and into prosperity. That must be the aim of CARICOM and regional integration, when between a third or near half, depending on individual Caribbean states, of people live in poverty.
In 1986, Barrow, thirteen years after the formation of CARICOM, reflected that,
“In every territory of our Caribbean region – and it has been my own experience in Barbados – I believe we have been failing to find a way of using the collective wisdom of our people. We have not been able to communicate the essence and the cultural infrastructure of the regional integration movement. We have not been able to get people’s minds to move beyond the constraints of trade.”
Barrow issued a challenge, which sadly is still good today – That all institutions, university, schools, media, church, every gathering that goes by the name Caribbean must know and communicate that Caribbean integration is more than trade. And that as Barrow said, the trade “may be favourablly influenced by the conviction among the mass of ordinary people whose collective wisdom is a fact and very much alive.”
The Democratic Labour Party lives by Barrow’s challenge and to this end, in the past year, we have invited and hosted, some of the next generation of Caribbean leadership and will continue to do so at our annual conference, as we build Caribbean relationships and family, and deepen the bonds of integration.
Let’s work hard and develop a movement that Barrow spoke about to take the Caribbean forward. Let us be reminded we are a people, a Caribbean people, a Caribbean civilization as worthy as any and our contribution to humanity is also worthy in the science, arts, music, sports, advocacy, humanities, literature and technology.
Happy Caricom Day to each Barbadian and Caribbean citizen.