BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 16, 2021– Today, Dr. Carla Barnett was officially installed as the new Secretary-General of CARICOM — a post she will hold for a five-year term.
In a virtual ceremony held this morning, Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, welcomed Secretary-General Dr. Barnett on behalf of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government.
Dr. Barnett, a Belizean-born economist, who is a long-time advocate for gender equality, has broken barriers throughout her career across the English-speaking Caribbean, starting here at home, where she became Belize’s female Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and the country’s first female Financial Secretary.
In 1997, she was the first woman and youngest person ever appointed as Deputy-Secretary of CARICOM, a position she held until 2002.
Dr. Barnett is the 8th Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community and takes over from Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, who served in that capacity for 10 years from 2011 to 2021.
“I take up this position today against the backdrop of a devastating earthquake in Haiti, the impact of which will be made worse by the rains associated with Tropical Depression Grace, which is already affecting the country,” Dr. Barnett stated at the onset of her remarks as she took to the podium.
Dr. Barnett added, “Chair, I begin my tenure with no misapprehensions about the severity of the challenges that our community faces economically, socially, environmentally, and financially. The thrust to build resilience against the existential threat of climate change in all its dimension and the urgency in constructing a recovery from the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic demand our continued focused energy.”
Dr. Barnett further emphasized that on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the CARICOM community, it is important for the community to set achievable goals that will make the celebration truly golden.
“Much has been achieved in the past 48 years; a lot of it is taken for granted today, to the extent to which some are not even associated with the integration movement. The stories of success must be continuously shared across our community to serve as a constant reminder of what we can achieve with a unity of purpose.” Dr. Barnett went on to say.
She added, “I see a Caribbean Community that the average citizen of the region will feel a part of and not apart from.”