Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris is among regional and international leaders who have come together in a Forum on the Future of the Caribbean being held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad from May 5 to 7.
The Forum on the Future of the Caribbean, the first of its kind, brings together political leaders, academia, private sector leaders, young shapers, civil society and policymakers to “engage in a vigorous debate and discussion” under the theme “Disruptive Thinking…Bold Action…Practical Outcomes”.
PM Harris, Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Kenny Anthony, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) His Excellency Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi are part of an impressive list of speakers from The University of the West Indies, the United Nations, the Commonwealth, CARICOM, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the OECS and a number of other organisations that have teamed up to host this very important event.
Organisers of the forum recognise that in order to chart a new course for the region, there is pressing need to increase knowledge, skills, attitudes and capabilities of the population, especially the youth, in order to “stimulate innovation, invention, ideas and entrepreneurship.” They are also well aware of the need for political leaders, “with proper vision and the political will to take hard decisions”, to play a critical role in shaping the development path. According to them, one objective of this historic, auspicious milestone is to “amplify the voices of dynamic young leaders willing to challenge the status quo and champion new solutions” through “disruptive thought and research to identify actions needed to build and transform a sustainable future for the Caribbean”. Another objective is to “get the reaction of political leaders on adopting disruptive and innovative ideas and ways to avoiding implementation deficit.”
PM Harris, one of CARICOM’s youngest leaders, was appointed Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis just over 2 months ago. Commenting on the significance of the forum PM Harris said, “the conference has been stimulating and instructive. Many ideas are emerging about how we can better shape policies to advance the region in good governance, trade, health care, education, entrepreneurship, inter alia. While some ideas have not been new, their implementation can certainly advance the cause for betterment of our Caribbean civilization. I thank the organizers for inviting me and the government of Trinidad and Tobago for its great hospitality”.
Whilst in Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Harris held discussions with a number of Japanese and Canadian diplomats, Vice-Chancellor of UWI Hilary Beckles, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr. C James Hospedales, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and other high-level dignitaries, business and leaders of academia.
The Hon. Shawn Richards has been acting in the absence of Prime Minister Harris.