The pandemic recovery and climate change were among the topics on the agenda as Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley represented the territory at the 43rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community this week in Para- maribo, Suriname.

The meeting, which was held Sunday through Tuesday, also included discussions on advancing regional food and nutrition security, actions to support the Caricom Single Market and Economy, and climate financing, according to Government Information Services.

The first day featured a speech from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, who stressed the importance of climate action even while the region is struggling in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges.

To support his point, Mr. Guterres alluded to his visit to Suriname’s coast the previous day.

“Rich in diversity, uniting land and sea, and protecting fragile coastal ecosystems, mangroves are a fitting symbol of Caribbean nations — facing challenges, seizing opportunities, preserving natural gifts,” he said.

Mr. Guterres noted that the small island states of
the Caribbean are especially vulnerable to climate change, which he called “the biggest challenge facing our world today.”

“The Caribbean is ground zero for the global climate emergency,” he said.

However, he added that the region is also facing
many other challenges.

“This year’s Caricom summit comes at a moment of
maximum peril for people and planet alike,” he said. The pandemic, he noted, has affected health systems, tourism, economic growth and foreign investment. Its effects in these areas, he added, have now been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.


Caricom is made up of 15 full member states and five associate members, including the Virgin Islands.

While Dr. Wheatley was at the meeting, Deputy Premier Kye Rymer was appointed to act as premier and finance minister through yesterday. Dr. Wheatley is scheduled to return today.