CARICOM has “done quite well” in responding to Covid-19, says outgoing CARICOM SG, Dominican Irwin LaRocque
The outgoing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said CARICOM has done “fairly well” in its comprehensive response to Covid-19.
Ambassador LaRocque spoke as a virtual guest on Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s Annou Pale Talk Show on Sunday.
“On the health side when we look at the figures and compare the per capita with other regions and other countries and given the fact that we were late, we did not have the means to do this. we wanted to do, I think we did very well, we coordinated very well. CARPHA as the advisers to the Member States in the region, ”he said.
According to the ambassador, citizens have a responsibility to do their part and observe the protocol, “and I fear that this is not always the case in some of our member states where the protocols are not fully respected, but in Apart from that, I think from the point of view of coordination and the work of the Member States, I think we have been quite successful.
He went on to say that it will be difficult for CARICOM states to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
“I think it will be quite a challenge,” he said. “First of all, the international financial institutions, the IMF in particular and others, have declared that our region is the most economically affected region in the world, given that we are so heavily dependent on tourism.”
Regarding the tourism industry, the CARICOM official said the industry was decimated during the period last year.
“There is a reopening underway now. We have seen revenues drop by up to 50% in member states as expenses increase, ”noted LaRocque. “Last year we saw the GDP impact of almost 20% in many of our Member States, the region average being 15%.
He said that the only country that has not suffered much is Guyana and it is because of the oil resources there.
Meanwhile, Ambassador LaRocque encourages locals to get vaccinated in order to gain herd immunity.
“Part of the analysis suggests that by 2024, if we are able to get the vaccine and administer it accordingly, we can get back to where we were before Covid, but of course a lot depends on l ‘getting herd immunity, “he said.” The hesitation about the vaccine we are experiencing in our area, I just hope people understand that the vaccine saves lives and it also saves jobs. “
Ambassador LaRocque will step down as Secretary General of CARICOM in August this year after serving a maximum of two terms.
He assumed the post of Secretary General of CARICOM in 2011 and prior to that he served in the CARICOM Secretariat as Deputy Secretary General for Trade and Economic Integration.
Prime Minister Skerrit, announcing Ambassador LaRocque’s departure from his Sunday talk show, said the outgoing CARICOM official, a Dominican national, has a very proud history in the Dominica public service where he has held several positions.
He was permanent secretary of various ministries for more than fourteen (14) years, in particular the ministries of Commerce, Industry, Business Development, Tourism and Foreign Affairs where he headed the diplomatic service.
He was previously Assistant Secretary General for Trade and Economic Integration in the CARICOM Secretariat, a post he held in September 2005 and also has some private sector experience.
Ambassador LaRocque is the seventh Secretary General of CARICOM.