CARICOM: Belizean Dr. Carla Barnett appointed first female Secretary-General

May 12, 2021 – Kaieteur News – Belizean, Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, has been selected as the new Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the first woman to hold this post. During a Heads of Government meeting held virtually in a special session on May 11, 2021.

Dr. Carla Barnett

Dr. Barnett was unanimously appointed as the 8th CARICOM Secretary-General. She will replace Ambassador, Irwin La Rocque, who is completing his second term. The post of Secretary General is limited to two terms.

Dr. Barnett is also the first Belizean to be selected for the post. She will assume office on August 15, 2021. Heads of Government in congratulating Dr. Barnett on her selection, recognised the historic moment for the Community.   

Meanwhile, Dr. Barnett, a former Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM, held several important portfolios, including the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and Financial Secretary in Belize during the country’s first successful debt restructuring in 2007. Dr. Barnett had also previously served as Vice President of the Senate and as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. She has also served as Vice President (Operations) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Dr. Barnett attained her Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in Jamaica. She also holds a Master of Science Degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario in Canada and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the UWI.

During last month, Dr. Barnett spoke to the Caribbean Camera, about her vision for CARICOM. She said that she sees “a CARICOM that the ordinary woman and man will defend because they feel the impact in their daily lives through economic and social advancement that comes from community action.”

She said CARICOM should never be afraid to re-strategise, as it is now doing, when the needs are great and the resources scarce.
“The pandemic is forcing us to recalibrate and set new priorities for regional development. ‘do more with less’ has new meaning for all of us. This does not mean less effective work. Indeed, increased incorporation of information and communication technology into our work provides opportunities for greater productivity and for CARICOM citizens to be much more involved in the strengthening of Regional integration well into the future, beyond COVID,” Dr. Barnett said.

In a congratulatory message, Prime Minister of Barbados and former Chair of CARICOM, Mia Amor Mottley, described Dr. Barnett as “perfect for the job in the Region at this time, when economies have collapsed and what we need is a sound economist to lead us on a path to growth.”

Prime Minister Mottley said, “Her vast experience in regional organisations such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the Central Bank of Belize and elsewhere, has sharpened her for the position she is about to assume — not because she is a woman, but because of her competencies.”

“However, her being the first woman means that young girls across the Region can be inspired by Dr. Barnett’s accomplishments and begin their own moon journey,” she said.

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