First woman, a Belizean, becomes CARICOM Secretary General

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Dr. Carla Barnett

The news which came out of CARICOM on Tuesday of this week was met with great joy across the country, as it was announced that Dr. Carla Barnett had been appointed to become the next Secretary General of CARICOM. It is the first time that a Belizean, a woman at that, will head the international body. We spoke to Dr. Barnett who explained that she had been nominated by the Barrow administration to be the Sec. Gen. and that nomination was followed through by the Briceno administration. She told us that based on a unanimous decision she was selected to head the organization. There was one other candidate from Suriname who had their name in.
Speaking about her role as Secretary General, Barnett explained that her priority in heading the organization will be improving on the implementation of decisions made by the body. She explained that currently there is a deficit in implementation of decision. She added that she will also focus on improving on how decisions are made with a view to improve implementation.
Other critical areas that she says she will be keen on will be issues of Health and Economies in particular as the region faces the Covid pandemic. Climate change and food security are also high on her agenda. She explained that we are entering into the hurricane season and need to be more prepared for when these disasters strike. On food security, she added that it is important to address countries’ ability to feed themselves. The pandemic has highlighted that we have too much dependency on importation, and this needs to change as prices of commodities imported increased. Along with food security she noted that agriculture will also be an area of focus where production needs to be encouraged and going along with that is healthier eating.
For Belize, Barnett told us that she is hopeful that with her taking up the position, more Belizeans will become interested in CARICOM and would want to take up opportunities in the Caribbean market. She said she is hopeful that more Belizeans would become interested in working in CARICOM.
Dr. Barnett takes up the position on August 15th and will be leaving the country to take up her role in Guayana.