Barbados on Wednesday became the first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state to embark on a gesture intended to embody the region’s pursuit of collective and coordinated foreign policy across the world.
Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong on Tuesday announced that the official CARICOM flag would be flown at every embassy, high commission and diplomatic office of member states alongside the national flag of each member country.
Moments after hoisting the CARICOM flag over Government Headquarters on Bay Street, Comissiong revealed that the move was proposed by Barbadian officials at a meeting of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations and was intended to be officially implemented on CARICOM Day, on July 4.
According to the Ambassador, the change would project the region’s unified presence and image at 208 diplomatic missions across 55 countries.
“There are massive things that need to be done and we recognize that no single CARICOM state can accomplish those major things on its own. But we also recognize that when we bring together our collective strength, we are a force to be reckoned,” Comissiong declared.
“This is a major step forward and it says that we have all come to recognize that there are some major things that we need to accomplish in this international arena whether on issues of climate change, getting international organisations to remove their discriminatory policies against developing countries like ours, or the new moral international leadership that Prime Minister Mia Mottley has called for,” the CARICOM Ambassador added.
He explained that the move to raise the CARICOM flag at Government Headquarters served as a tribute to Prime Minister Mottley who completed her stint as Chairman of the regional grouping on Tuesday. Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has replaced Mottley.
Officials from the Cuban and Venzuelan embassies attended the ceremony along with the associations of Guyana, Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines in Barbados. Barbados’ CARICOM Youth Ambassador Chad Monerville and social activist David Denny were also present.
Ambassador Comissiong urged those in attendance to recognize that the region has something “very special” to add to global discussions on issues of human rights, dignity and the struggle for freedom.
“I still don’t think we recognize how unique a people we are . . . and what makes us so unique is our history and the fact that 90 per cent of our populations came from the depths of oppression. We know what it is to be deprived of human rights and dignity and we know what it is to have to struggle for freedom and dignity and to hold onto our intrinsic humanity against all kinds of systems that want to dehumanize us and we take that for granted,” Comissiong explained.
“This is about CARICOM resolving to fully make its mark on this world and to add something good, valuable and constructive to international affairs, but also to be as efficient as possible in pursuing our own vital interests by doing it collectively rather than as single nations,” he added.
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