This CARICOM Day we are facing unprecedented events in our history. We celebrate in an environment casted by the continuing health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been 47 years since the leaders of then 4 independent CARICOM states, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago signed the treaty of Chaguaramas on the 4th of July, 1973 establishing the Caribbean Community as a regional integration movement. Since then successive CARICOM states have joined the Community bringing membership to 15 Member States and 5 Associate States. Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda have joined CARICOM in 1974.
Today, CARICOM is the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world. Its achievements along the way are many. Great strides have been made, particularly through functional cooperation in education, in health, in culture and in security. The organization is a respected voice in international affairs because of coordinated foreign policy.
Being the head of the only full resident diplomatic mission of CARICOM in the Russian Federation, I would like to reflect on the Russia-Caribbean Community relations. In 2010, Russia and CARICOM have executed a Memorandum of Understanding and created a mechanism of political dialogue and cooperation. This legal framework of cooperation is expanding, including through the signing of fundamental agreements and agreements on conditions of visa waivers with CARICOM countries.
Russia-CARICOM cooperation presents new opportunities for the Caribbean Community. This cooperation, presents opportunities in promotion of sustainable development, tourism, cultural-humanitarian exchange, education and professional training, assistance in overcoming natural disasters and other areas that are important to the regional development.
As we celebrate our anniversary, let us reflect on what each of us can do to keep our Community safe and to contribute to the revival of our economies.
Happy CARICOM Day!
H.E. Oleg Firer
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary