“As a region, we must stop swimming against the tide, and aim for an achievable objective of becoming the ones who influence the tide“, were the thoughtful words of advice to the leaders gathers for Day 2 of the Regional Forum on the Future of the Caribbean, themed ‘New Thinking for New Times’ at the Hyatt Regency. Delivering Remarks to the august body on behalf of the Honourable Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was Senator Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy.
The Minister’s Address focused on collaboration in Energy, Broadband and Knowledge. Minister Bharath noted that “the benefits to be gained from breaking the mold of the natural evolution of things and replacing it with disruptive new ideas for a new kind of engagement are clear. And nothing moves without political will. The very basis of innovation, entrepreneurship and change comes alive by deciding that we will adapt vulnerability to influence … and risk to opportunity.”
Themed ‘Disruptive Thinking; bold action; practical outcomes‘ this Forum on the future of the Caribbean represents the “shared kinship and mission of sustainable progress” by Caribbean leaders, noted Minister Bharath. Further stating that “our history of good relations is strong, and we have all benefitted at different moments over time from each other’s support, shared resources and collaboration. Our populations combine to create a global resource of tremendous potential in the context of knowledge sharing and competitiveness.“
The Minister opined that, as a Region, becoming the ones who influence the tide starts with acknowledging that “finding common ground for collaboration begins with partnership; partnership empowers political will; political will motivates action; and confidence enlivens political will“.
Engaging in a provocative high level round table discussion were the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines; Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister; the Honourable Frederick Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Bahamas; the Honourable Winston Dookeran, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; and His Excellency Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Keynote addresses were delivered by H.E. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the theme ‘International Economic and Trade Issues’; and Professor Amitav Acharya, Professor, School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC, on the theme ‘Reinventing Caribbean Regionalism in an Emerging Multiplex World’.
Distinguished guests in the audience included His Excellency Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Professor Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies; and members of the Diplomatic Corps.