Colleague Ministers and other Heads of Delegations;
Representatives of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me, as Chairman of the Community Council of Ministers, the second highest organ in the Community, to commence in the customary manner by extending a warm welcome to all, those of you here in Guyana and those joining the meeting via video-conference, my best wishes for a successful 2017.
Secretary General, Colleague Ministers, delegates, I wish to state from the outset that it is my expectation that our deliberations, over the next two days or possibly shorter, will indeed be fruitful. My optimism that we will be able to move with some alacrity is however tempered by the fact that we have an agenda that is rather comprehensive, covering a plethora of issues that require deep thought and analysis. I hope, Ministers and delegates, that we will be able to move with some dispatch. I therefore solicit your assistance in this regard.
Of particular importance to us is the need to emerge from this meeting of the Council with an agenda worthy of the consideration of our Heads of Government when they meet during the 28th Meeting of the Inter- sessional scheduled for February 16 and 17, 2017 in Guyana. That agenda, in my opinion, should be focused and concise, aimed at engendering strategic evaluation and analysis of the many challenges that confront our region.
As you are aware, Guyana has the distinct honour to act as host of the Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference under the Chairmanship of His Excellency President David Granger and, in this regard, I wish to assure you that the necessary arrangements are being made to ensure the successful staging of this Conference.
Even further, as we examine the various items on our agenda, the challenge is for us to move beyond the realm of rhetoric to the formulation of an approach that would lead to greater coordination and implementation of regional decisions.
Before I conclude, I would like to extend condolences to the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and to the wife and family of Ambassador Lincoln Cumberbatch on their bereavement. Ambassador Cumberbatch had served as Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to Brussels with distinction.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate my call for us to work expeditiously to ensure that the discussions are, as usual, meaningful and results oriented.
I thank you.