The Caribbean Community, known as CARICOM, is undergoing a rebranding process, part of which includes a four-year strategic plan addressing the vision, priorities for action, implementation and evaluation. Secretary General of CARICOM, Dominica’s Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has been visiting the 15 member states to talk up the effort, and on Tuesday he met with Belizean media. He spoke of what is on offer.
“The issues that we discussed here this morning was the media as a stakeholder and important partner like any other group that we are interacting with…and I think the comments or advice that we got on how we communicate, our communication to Belize in the Belizean circumstances. I think this is a message I’m taking back with me. It’s obvious that it cannot be a one foot size with all…both of communications, it might be a bit of a challenge, but this is a measure that I carry back with me. The question that arose as to the role of the state because Belize is a member state of the Caribbean Community, what is the role of the state machinery. It‘s also putting forward what is going on because there are some things that I mentioned before that we are doing now of which Belize is benefitting, but a partnership between the secretariat, between the Government machinery and the media as our stakeholders”.
Secretary General LaRocque says the rebranding intends to take the Caribbean Community in a different and more relevant direction.
Dr. Irwin LaRocque: “The rebranding has to be one that sees the community as being more relevant, as being more responsive in a timely manner to the needs of the people of the street. I think, the people have a feeling of sufficiency. And although we are doing it, as we speak here today, the Princess Hotel and Toll is a CARICOM facilitator here looking through the schools and NGOs and churches looking on the issue of building capacity of gang violence, but now we are doing this to the benefit of the Belizean community, and while we are doing thesis, I said to you, if we are no talking about making the persons be aware and feel it, then it’s almost as we are not doing it. And so, part of our branding has to be not only relevant, but to be seen to be relevant; to be felt on the ground and not to be shy to communicate our successes; and not to be shy to be reminding of our successes while we take on the challenges that we have”.
And despite many strides, Mr LaRocque says he has been told by the key stakeholders in many of the states he has visited to forge even stronger ties and get the work done on the ground.
Dr. Irwin LaRocque: “It’s an encouraging message. At the end of the day when we would have left a particular country and we assessed the richness of the discussions, the wealth of suggestions that we are getting, you leave with a sense of with a deeply rooted commitment among certain key individuals spread across the various organizational groupings or secular groupings. I was very heartened again, just to point one that I have seen movement in the private sector for example, when I was here two years ago to now, in a very positive way. We have to build on that positive energy that is there; harness it; partner with it to move forward. And it is what I think…the discussions…there have been criticisms and in some cases some measure of cynicism, but our term is to say there is no other way, You have to get it right; you have to get it done, go ahead and get it done”.