Red carpet welcome for Caricom Heads – Moment of silence for Manning
Georgetown, GINA, July 4, 2016
Guyana rolled out the red carpet today for the Heads of State and Government attending the 37th Regular meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Reflecting legendary Guyanese hospitality, the conference officially opened in Guyana at the National Cultural Centre (NCC) with the arrivals of Presidents and Prime Ministers of CARICOM countries, the CARICOM Secretary General, Ministers, Ambassadors, and other invited guests.
The arrival of the guests showed true integration, with the Secretary General, Heads of State from the Greater and the Lesser Antilles, the Windward and Leeward Islands, and the South, arriving together with the Ministers, Ambassadors and other invited guests.
Stately attired and flanked by their entourage, they were greeted on the steps of the NCC and ushered into the centre; beneath their feet, the plush red carpet, above their heads, a ceremonial lance arch, courtesy of more than a dozen members of the Tactical Service Unit of the Guyana Police Force. They walked into the theatre room, accompanied by the rich rhythm of steel pan music performed by the National Steel Orchestra of Guyana.
And as the clock struck 17:00 hours, the CARICOM Secretary General led the top representatives of the 13 CARICOM nations to the main stage of the NCC to sit in front of their nation’s flag.
A moment of silence to acknowledge the late Patrick Manning, a former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, who died two-days ago and ‘a true champion of regional integration was observed
Appreciations for Guyana and Dominica, the co-hosts of the 37th Conference and the official welcome and congratulations for the new and re-elected CARICOM Heads, was the first order of business for Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque who welcomed all to the three-day conference.
La Rocque, later gave way to short speeches from the President of Suriname Desi Bouterese and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley. They were followed by the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and the Dominica Republic; the central theme, a reaffirmation of their country’s commitment to face with a collective stance, new and emerging challenges that face the region, including climate change, regional security and any off-spin of ‘Brexit’ in addition to a call for making the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) stronger.