GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana has praised the work of the outgoing secretary general of the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom), Irvin LaRocque, saying that the region is stronger due to his stewardship and strength of character.
President Dr Irfaan Ali presented LaRocque with a wooden sculpture from the renowned Guyanese sculptor Winslow Craig as a gift of appreciation on behalf of the people of Guyana for his decade-long leadership of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat.
He will be replaced next week by Belizean Dr Carla Natalie Barnett, the first-ever female Caricom Secretary-General, who was unanimously selected by Caricom leaders in May.
The Dominican-born LaRocque, who has served two five-year terms, paid a farewell courtesy visit to President Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday evening.
In presenting the assorted wooden sculpture of Silverballi and Saman, which represents Guyana and the other 14-member states in the regional body, and specifically crafted for the outgoing secretary-general., President Ali said that it is entitled ‘Strength and Wisdom’.
“It is my pleasure on behalf of the people of Guyana to hand over this piece to you. This is recognition, first of all, for your regional commitment, your leadership, strength of character, your wisdom and the prolific way you led …. Indeed, the region is stronger and better because of your service.”
Ali said that Guyana is honoured to have benefitted from the outgoing secretary-general’s “stewardship” and expressed the confidence that many persons, as well as communities with whom he interacted, would have also benefited from his wisdom, love, and his commitment to humanity.
“I am sure you and your family will have fond memories of Guyana. But we want you to know that the people of Guyana welcome you and see you as a Guyanese; after all, we are one Caricom people.”
LaRocque, the seventh Caricom secretary general, thanked the president for his kind words and the gesture extended to him.