Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie
Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie

In his New Year message, Perry Christie, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, who's also the new Chairman of CARICOM, said the community will in 2015 embark on a new journey as it looks at the implementation of CARICOM's first-ever Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

"This Plan is a bold step that demonstrates our determination to provide the best options for the growth and development of our people," Christie said. "This Plan is an important part of the Reform Process in our Community and we stand to be judged both by its success and the actions we take in its implementation. In repositioning our Community, as this Plan seeks to do,we will be aiming at making it more resilient to the internal and external factors which hinder our efforts at attaining sustainable development in a rapidly changing world".

Christie added: "There can be no more vivid demonstration of the dynamic nature of the global environment that we face than the recent rapprochement between Cuba and the United States. Those of us who have consistently called for an end to the isolation of our sister Caribbean country and,in particular, the cessation of the economic, trade and financial embargo are heartened by the initiatives announced by President Obama and President Castro. In my view this rapprochement underscores the urgency of a summit between the American President and the Heads of the Community".

Christie recently began occupying the CARICOM chairman's position for the next six months; he replaces Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne.

The new chairman believes his major challenge for the next six months will be "to work with my colleague Heads and the Secretary-General to lay the foundations for the implementation of our Strategic Plan. Of particular importance will be the high priority areas identified for focused implementation over the next five years. These will be critical as it is imperative we find the means to reverse the dire economic situation with which so many of us are faced".

CARICOM heads of government meet in Nassau on 26th and 27th of February for the Inter-sessional Meeting.