Some persons have recently raised concerns over the motives of the CARICOM chairman in the meeting, reasoning that the forum was ALBA motivated.
Skerrit however said that the discussions were not his initiative, though he was involved, rather it was a program which was entirely based on addressing issues involving the Caribbean community and Latin America.
“And all this talk that people are saying that is because Skerrit is the chairman of CARICOM and he is a member of ALBA that’s why he is pushing this alliance and so forth, this discussion did not start when I became chairman of CARICOM. That discussion was held way back in the Rio Group which some CARICOM member states and some members discussed, and I would not want to take credit that I did not initiate at all. So I want to thank those who have ascribed that initiative to me but certainly it was not my initiative at all,” he said.
He also stated, “Some people may say why didn’t he invite the United States and why he didn’t invite Canada, which are part of the OAS which these countries are also members, but it is the Latin America and Caribbean region that were meeting to discuss issues confronting Latin America and the Caribbean and how do we work together towards addressing those challenges and issues … and the issue of crime and security and climate change and even working with Haiti,” the CARICOM chairman explained.
Prime Minister Skerrit said that much has been accomplished from the discussions, which include the raising of over $30 million for Haiti. He said commitments between countries even went as far as contracting a major loan and handing over the resources to Haiti.
Skerrit said that such discussions allow member states to benefit from each others’ resources.
“So here it is that in those forums that we could have had those kind of discussions where member states themselves could benefit directly and the Latin America is a major market for the Caribbean. This is a major market for the Caribbean region,” he noted.
“It’s always unfortunate when we try to bring all sorts of confusion in very constructive engagement. It’s unfortunate that we never had this discussion before this year,” he added.
The prime minister also noted that one of the more important decisions which came about from the summit was the decision to create a new forum termed the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States where head of the involved governments will be meet every two years to discuss issues which confront the regions and find solutions for those challenges.