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CARICOM to Focus on Climate Change

Of the many pressing global issues, climate change is one that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) hopes that more emphasis can be placed on, especially in countries where natural disasters occur as a result of change in atmosphere, CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque told reporters during his visit to the country on the weekend, adding that climate change affects all.


Mr. LaRocque, who toured Ragged Island with CARICOM Chair and Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Keith Mitchell said climate change is indeed here and the finances needed for restoration of natural disasters caused by climate change should not be based on per capita incomes.


“Bahamas was hit by Matthew [last year] and we went and saw the destruction on two of the islands, Andros and Grand Bahama,” Mr. LaRocque said.

“We saw total destruction again. It repeats itself and the previous year before that I think we had it.

“So, this sort of destruction compounds itself and well climate change is here. These are climatic events that no doubt in our minds that we are living through the climate change and climate change as you know doesn’t pick per capita income or who’s rich and who’s poor.”

Mr. LaRocque said based on their assessment of many of the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma, most of the poorer neighborhoods were impacted.

“When we drove through Provo [Providenciales Turks and Caicos] we saw in some of the poorest neighborhoods that were most impacted,” Mr. LaRocque said.

“We have consistently been seeing everywhere we go that the assistance that we get post hurricane and generally speaking under the climate change and green climate change fund must not be based on per capita income.”

Dr. Mitchell, as CARICOM chair, said with the recent natural disasters that occurred, the argument of climate change and the need for a better resolution has only strengthened their argument.

“Right now CARICOM holds the chair of small states forum and that is very significant because with a major aspect of small states forum with a $10 billion program that we are now chairing there is enough for enormous opportunities for us to place the issues of climate change and disasters as a key component, as far as aide is concerned,” Dr. Mitchell said.

“I think therefore all of us collectively in CARICOM, all our institutions the OACS secretariat, and all institutions must work together.

“In fact, with all of the disasters that have just occurred, it’s strengthened our hand and strengthened our case that the whole issue of climate change and special resources available for small states like The Bahamas and Grenada and other countries in the Caribbean must be given top priority.”

In July of this year, CARICOM and the United Nations (UN) held a meeting to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations discussing several issues including climate change.

A conference is scheduled for October in Washington.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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