Caricom leaders to decide on new Secretary GeneralMonday, May 10, 2021
PORT Of Spain, Trinidad (CMC) — Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders will meet on Tuesday to “advance the process for the selection” of a new secretary general to replace the Dominican-born diplomat, Irwin LaRocque, who has been in the post since August 2011.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said that the virtual 21st Special Meeting of the regional leaders will be chaired by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, the chairman of the 15-member grouping.
The statement said the purpose of the meeting “is to advance the process for selection of a new Secretary-General,” but gave no further details. Last week, the Caricom Council of Ministers met to discuss the replacement for LaRocque and Trinidad and Tobago's Foreign Minister, Dr Amery Browne is expected to present the report of the Council.
However, informed sources told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the leaders will have to choose between Belizean Dr Carla Barnett, the first ever woman to have served as deputy secretary-general from 1997 to 2002 and the current deputy Secretary General, Dr Manorma Soeknandan
Barnett was educated at the University of the West Indies (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.
She has extensive experience at the executive level of the public service in Belize and in the Caricom region. Her work experience includes service as Financial Secretary and Deputy Governor/Acting Governor at the Central Bank of Belize. She has also served as a Vice President at the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank.
Her tenure as Caricom deputy secretary-general coincided with the re-organisation of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat, the Community's administrative body.
For her part, Soeknandan holds a law degree from Anton de Kom University as well as Masters and PhD degrees in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington International University. She is also a qualified teacher and has degrees in History from the Advanced Teachers Institute (IOL) in Suriname.
Before joining the Caricom Secretariat, where she holds the post of Deputy Secretary-General from February 2014, she served as the first female Resident Ambassador of the Republic of Suriname to Guyana from 2001 to January 2013.
In January 2002, she was accredited as Ambassador to Caricom, Cuba and Jamaica. She has extensive diplomatic experience in the international and regional arena and has worked for 27 years as a lawyer, legislative drafter, and judicial advisor in national and international affairs with the Suriname government.
She also served as a member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) high-level advisory panel on the Human Development Report for the Caribbean and Latin America.
LaRocque, the seventh Caricom Secretary-General is due to leave office in August.
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