The following statement is issued by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of CARICOM.
The University of the West Indies salutes the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on its 50th anniversary. On July 4, 1973 at Chaguaramas, the spirit of Dickenson Bay lived on as Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley and Eric Williams signed the Caribbean Community into being. On July 4, 2023, fifty years hence, the “big four” and those that followed expanding the four into fifteen, whether from the hereafter or still with us, certainly look on with pride at this child which they birthed. CARICOM has grown to maturity, with many laudable achievements along the way, and the promise of great tomorrows for the youth of today.
I commend CARICOM on the accomplishments of its first fifty years – climate change advocacy, coordination of external trade negotiations, disaster management, education, health cooperation, marine biodiversity advocacy, private sector collaboration – only begin the list of key advancements. The theme, Fifty Years Strong: A Solid Foundation to Build On is most appropriate. Much has been accomplished and our regional university pays tribute to those who have worked long and hard to see our beloved region attain this significant milestone – Secretaries-General past and our incumbent, Heads of Government and other government officials, heads and staff of all regional institutions, and all the people we serve collectively.
As we look to the centenary, there is much more to be done. The University of the West Indies stands ready to support our fellow regional institution in achieving its strategic objectives and goals and ultimately, our shared vision of propelling Caribbean development.