The Chairman was speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government which was held at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown, Guyana. Plenary sessions for the meeting began on Tuesday at the Pegasus Hotel and continue until Wednesday July 6, 2016.
The Chairman noted that the Region had a long and deep relationship with the United Kingdom and stated that Britain remained one of CARICOM’s most important trade partners.
He reminded those present, particularly those skeptical about CARICOM, that the circumstances of the EU were completely different from those in CARICOM. He explained that the United kingdom had a historical fear of losing their sovereignty. He said from the British point of view, nearly every country in Europe had tried to conquer them. He further outlined that EU citizenship not only brought with it free movement but also automatic access to welfare and other benefits.
Prime Minister Skerrit explained that the difference with CARICOM was that it was the fulfillment of a longstanding aspiration of its peoples.
CARICOM is primarily a Community. It has been built with the powerful emotions of empathy and caring for each other,” he said.
He encouraged the Region not to resolve to blindly imitate what had happened in Britain, but instead work together to strengthen cooperation and collaboration to create a stronger more vibrant Community.