August 9, 2010

Carrington's departure to renew CARICOM

Edwin Carrington's announcement that he will, at the end of the year, leave as secretary general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), after nearly two decades at the helm, is of itself not an unwelcome development.

After all, 18 years is a long time for a single individual to be at the head of any institution, especially one like CARICOM - and its secretariat - that, as is widely acknowledged, is under pressure to convince its constituents of its relevance and is in need of new energy and focus. And Edwin Carrington is 72.

It would, however, be a grave disservice to Mr Carrington, and a display of ignorance about the administration of the regional project on the part of those who would do so, to lay all the blame for CARICOM's weaknesses and failings at the door of the secretary general. It would be equally bad to attempt to belittle the institutional advances of CARICOM during Mr Carrington's watch.Edwin Carrington, a former secretary general of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries, arrived at the CARICOM secretariat in the immediate aftermath of the decision of the regional leaders to transform the free trade and functional cooperation group to a single market and economy, which was followed closely by the recommendations of Sir Shridath Ramphal's committee on how to improve decision making and policy implementation in CARICOM.

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