Decisions on regional secretariats Guest editorial
Guyana Chronicle
August 21, 2002

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HOW appropriately structured and equipped are the Secretariats of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to address today's challenges?

It is a question of direct relevance at this time when both the Georgetown-based Community Secretariat and the Castries-headquartered Secretariat are under active consideration for appointments within their top structures.

In the case of the CARICOM Secretariat, for which a mandated review of its structure and functioning now awaits consideration and approval by the Community's Heads of Government, the number two position, that of Deputy Secretary General, will become vacant in less than two months.

The vacancy will result from the return to her native Belize of Carla Barnett, the first woman to serve as Deputy Secretary General of the almost 30-year-old Community.

In filling this vacancy, for which there are expected to be applicants from within and outside of the Secretariat, the CARICOM leaders will most likely wish to take the opportunity to improve the managerial competence of a Secretariat constantly under pressure to meet increasing demands on its services.

Careful consideration, removed from any semblance of nepotism or favouritism would, therefore, be expected of the Community's political directorate.

Strengthening the Secretariat, as distinct from continuing a business-as-usual approach, would not only be in the best interest of the incumbent hard working Secretary General (Edwin Carrington) now in his third term.

It seems an imperative for efficiency and productivity with the coming on stream of the Caribbean Single Market (CSME), and as plans proceed in Guyana for a multi-million dollar Community Secretariat headquarter complex.

In the case of the OECS Secretariat, itself cash-strapped for some time now, even before the departure of Swinburne Lestrade back home to Dominica, there are some four OECS nationals, including the acting Director General, George Goodwyn, for the top post.

With these potential candidates being nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and St. Lucia, it is not nationality but managerial and technical competence relevant to the needs of the OECS sub-region that should preoccupy the thinking of the OECS leaders in making an appropriate choice to head the Secretariat.
(Reprinted from yesterday's `Daily Nation' of Barbados)