Welcome and may the discussions bear bountiful fruit
GUYANA is from today hosting the 23rd Summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
July 3, 2002

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We join in the Guyanese traditional hospitality in welcoming the Heads of State and their respective delegations to this beautiful country and wish that the deliberations will bear bountiful fruit, serving to further strengthen the integration process and enhance the socio-economic developmental process in the region.

In addition, we extend a warm welcome to the media personnel and others here for the summit. We are sure they will find Guyana to be among the most beautiful of countries, with vast varieties of flora and fauna, historical sites and buildings and unique natural beauty not seen elsewhere.

And, of course, Guyanese are among the most hospitable and friendly of peoples and can be expected to demonstrate that traditional Guyanese hospitality in full measure to the visiting delegations and others.

This summit could go down as one of the most crucial and significant in the integration process in the region, because it is being held at a time when tremendous challenges face the economies of member states against the backdrop of globalisation and liberalisation of trade, where the ability to compete on the international market is replacing protected and preferential markets.

The disturbing growing drug related and other violent crimes and the continued migration of skilled personnel are some of the more serious problems to be addressed by the leaders, apart from the gearing of the economies of the region to become competitive on the international market.

In this regard agreement on the way forward for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is crucial and it is to be hoped that the conference will arrive at a definitive position on this issue.

A notable and most welcome feature preceding the summit is the head-on meeting with representatives from the private sector, labour, governments, non-governmental organisations and other non-state sectors and the leaders to discuss the way forward for the community.

Guyanese also salute the distinguished academician from Trinidad, Professor Rhoda Reddock on becoming the seventh recipient of the prestigious Triennial Award for Women which recognises the contribution of women to the region.

The people of the region are looking forward to a successful, definitive and fruitful conference.

Analysts believe this summit could determine the future of the community.

President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. Compton Bourne, during a visit to Guyana earlier this year, correctly pointed out that Caribbean politicians, technocrats and the business community have their work cut out. And as the time for the end to preferential markets is rapidly approaching, they cannot afford to be lethargic.

There is need for decisive measures to be expeditiously implemented on a range of vital issues and we hope the leaders meeting here this week could help to firmly chart the course forward for the community