Belize’s Dr Carla Barnett made history in Georgetown, Guyana, on Monday.
She is now the highest-ranking Belizean in the region after ascending to the post of Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – and also the first woman to hold the role.
The economist originally from Sarteneja, Corozal District was welcomed by nominal boss, Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne.
Browne promised to be at her disposal as much as possible and formally invited her and her team to St. John’s for a first meeting.
He acknowledged that she will have to “hit the ground running” to address current crises – the ongoing situation in Haiti which has been hit by an earthquake, a political crisis and now Tropical Depression Grace which has battered the same area hit by the temblor; the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the issue of vaccine hesitancy; financial crises brought on by the loss of jobs to the pandemic, and other issues.
He also paid tribute to predecessor Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, who provided a firm and steady hand especially during the pandemic.
He reminded in closing that the goal of regional integration may be hard, but the rewards are worth it for our people and that we are always better off working together and advancing integration.