Dominica economist becomes Caricom’s new leader

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday July 22, 2011 – Seven months after Trinidadian Sir Edwin Carrington stepped down as the region’s top civil servant, Dominican Irwin LaRocque has been chosen to fill his shoes, becoming the seventh Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

irwin_larocqueAmbassador LaRocque, 56, is the current Assistant Secretary-General for Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat, having served in that post since September 2005.

In announcing LaRocque’s appointment to the top post yesterday, CARICOM Chairman Dr Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, said that he and his colleague Heads of Government believe that Ambassador LaRocque “possesses the requisite skills of visionary leadership, courage and commitment required to guide the Community at this time of change and uncertainty.”

The Secretary-General-designate has expressed his deep appreciation for the confidence reposed in him by the Heads of Government.

“I am humbled and privileged for this opportunity to continue my service to the Governments and people of the Caribbean Community,” LaRocque said. “As we strive towards the goal of a Community For All, the confidence of the Heads of Government, the support of the people of the Community and the committed staff of the CARICOM Secretariat are vital in achieving that objective.”

Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary-General, LaRocque served as Permanent Secretary in various Ministries in Dominica for more than fourteen years, including in the Ministries of Trade, Industry, Enterprise Development, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs, where he headed the diplomatic service. He also served as the principal advisor to the Government of Dominica on all matters pertaining to economic integration and regional and international trade.

He has a wealth of experience in management, public administration, economic development, trade, foreign affairs and diplomacy.

LaRocque was Dominica’s senior policy adviser on the revision of the original Treaty of Chaguaramas and served on the CARICOM Inter-Governmental Task Force which drafted the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

During the period when Dominica underwent a structural adjustment programme, he was a member of the Cabinet-appointed Public Sector Reform Task Force, which included the private sector, trade unions and non-governmental organisations, with responsibility for the overall management, planning and performance review of the public sector reform process. He also served as the Chairman of the Consultative Working Group, a public/private sector consultative and advisory committee appointed by the Dominica Cabinet, with focus on the enabling environment for private sector development and growth.

He has also served on several Boards, including those of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Caribbean Export, the Dominica Agricultural, Industrial and Development Bank, and the Dominica National Development Corporation.

As Assistant Secretary-General, LaRocque has provided strategic leadership for the continuing implementation and further development of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), as well as the Sectoral Programmes of the Community including agriculture, services, industry and energy.

He has managed diplomatic negotiations with third countries and international development partners which required political acumen for successful completion. He has testified, on behalf of the Community, before the US International Trade Commission on trade relations between the Caribbean and the US with emphasis on extending and expanding the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).

He is currently the Co-Chair of the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council and is leading the negotiations with the United States Trade Representative Office for a new Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

Ambassador LaRocque has gained considerable experience with the European arrangements through his involvement in developing and negotiating with the Commission of the European Union, development assistance under the European Development Fund.

A statement from the CARICOM Secretariat said that LaRocque’s experience in national public sector reform will be critical in the reform and restructuring process of the CARICOM Secretariat, which is in progress

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