Prime Minister views establishment of new hemispheric group with interest

POSTED: 12/21/11 9:51 AM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has welcomed the establishment of the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States (CELAC) – a new hemispheric group of 33 Caribbean and Latin American countries. The body was established during a summit of heads of state and government in Caracas, Venezuela in early December. Two of the world’s largest economies and hemispheric powers – the United States and Canada – were not invited and are not members.

“The new body has been established to first and foremost improve the quality of life of the peoples of CELAC. It is seen as a new framework that includes 33 countries that would work together to create greater unity. This new framework is very much welcomed by Sint Maarten, as efforts of strengthening regional ties and cooperation has clearly borne fruit and is necessary to buoy this region against outside shocks and occurrences,” the prime minister stated in a release on Tuesday.

Later she’d add, “These platforms offer the leaders of this region the opportunity to incessantly explore ways to promote further development of the region’s people. St. Maarten continues to examine ways and means to participate in regional bodies, to the benefit of its people and those of the wider region.”

Leaders at the summit pledged to work together to fend off the effects of the world financial crisis, reshaping the financial system and safeguarding CELAC’s growing economies. The creation of the CELAC was raised by the heads of state in February 2010, during the Rio Group Summit in Cancun, when Mexico proposed the union of all the countries in the region belonging to the Rio Group and CALC.

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