Barbados PM welcomes appointment of Caricom's first female Secretary GeneralTuesday, May 11, 2021
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley Tuesday said the election of Dr Carla Barnett to be the eighth Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) augurs well for “young girls across the region” who can begin their “own moon journey”.
Barnett, a Belizean, who was the first woman to have served as deputy secretary-general, holding office from 1997 to 2002, will succeed the Dominican-born diplomat, Irwin LaRocque, the seventh holder of the position, who has been in the post since August 2011. Barnett will serve for a five-year period.
In a brief statement announcing her appointment, Caricom chairman and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the regional leaders had “unanimously agreed” to her selection during their special conference on Tuesday.
“Heads of Government in congratulating Dr Barnett on her selection, recognised the historic moment for the community,” he said.
In a statement, Mottley, the only woman head of government in the 15-member grouping, described Barnett, an economist as “perfect for the job in the region at this time, when economies have collapsed and what we need is a sound economist to lead us on a path to growth”.
“Her vast experience in regional organisations such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), at the Central Bank of Belize and elsewhere, have sharpened her for the position she is about to assume — not because she is a woman, but because of her competencies.
“However, her being the first woman means that young girls across the region can be inspired by Dr Barnett's accomplishments and begin their own moon journey,” Mottley added.
Barnett is a former vice-president of the Belize Senate and has served in various ministerial capacities in her country's government. She has also served as financial secretary of Belize and deputy governor of the Central Bank of Belize, as well as vice-president (operations) of the CDB.
Barnett was educated at the University of the West Indies (The UWI) where she read for a PhD in social sciences. She also holds a Master of Economics degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the UWI.
Her tenure as Caricom deputy secretary-general coincided with the re-organisation of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat, the community's administrative body.
Prime Minister Mottley also paid tribute to the outgoing secretary-general, noting that Barbados and the region “benefitted significantly from Ambassador LaRocque's vast knowledge and experience on trade matters at a time when the region needed it most”.
LaRocque had earlier extended congratulations to his successor.
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