Vote of Thanks by Ms. Glenda Itiaba, Special Assistant to the Secretary-General, CARICOM, delivered at the Launch of the Publication 'CARICOM: Our Caribbean Community - An Introduction', written by the Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat and published by Ian Randle Publishers,  26 November 2004,  UWI, Mona, Jamaica


Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica
Secretary General Edwin Carrington
Other Members of the Head Table
Honourable Ministers and Ministers of State of the Government of Jamaica
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Faculty and Staff and Students of the UWI, Mona
Other Educators
Members of the Media
Other Distinguished
Ladies and Gentleman

Well, we are drawing to the close of what I am sure you will agree, has been a very informative and entertaining evening. Getting to this point in the programme and to this stage of the book project has involved the commitment, collaboration, co-operation and goodwill of numerous individuals - in the CARICOM Secretariat and in the wider community - including institutions and businesses throughout the Region.

Mine is the unenviable task of thanking these contributors and collaborators. Before conveying thanks however, it may be appropriate to convey apologies first - apologies to the many persons who, in the time available, I may fail to recognise. The fact that certain names may not be mentioned here tonight in no way diminishes our gratitude for their contributions.

Having said that, let me begin by conveying sincere thanks and appreciation to the distinguished Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, undoubtedly one of our integration movement's greatest champions. Prime Minister, we are indeed indebted to you for your support of this project, tangibly demonstrated by your contribution to the book as reflected in the section on perspectives of the future in chapter 10 of the book, and for your invaluable presence and contribution to this evening's proceedings.

Those of you who wish to see a somewhat more youthful P.J. Patterson may find the photograph on page 347 of interest. Look for a dapper gentleman with a great afro!

Our thanks go also to the many other persons who accepted the Secretary-General's invitation to be here -

  • Ministers and Ministers of State of the Government of Jamaica;
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps in Jamaica led by their Dean, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago who is represented tonight;
  • The representative of the President of the Caribbean Development Bank. The CDB has been very supportive of the project and made a significant contribution toward the publication;
  • Former Secretaries-General, Hon. Sir Alister McIntyre, OCC, and Mr. Roderick Rainford - thank you for your presence.

It was under Mr. Rainford's watch that the concept for writing the book emerged and also during his tenure that I began my career at the CARICOM Secretariat.

Thank you to -

  • Officials of the Government of Jamaica, in particular our colleagues in the Office of the Prime Minister as well as in the Ministry responsible for CARICOM Affairs - namely, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; and to the Acting Chief Education Officer;
  • Representatives of the Jamaica Library Service, the National Library, the UWI and UTech Libraries. We look forward to your support in promoting this book as a useful reference for all who wish to learn about the enterprise of Community Building and Regional Integration;

Thank you to the many other educators present, including from the Jamaica Teachers Association, the Jamaica Association of Principals and Vice Principals; as well as Principals and Teachers from several Secondary schools here in Jamaica. We hope that you and your students will find this text as handy and useful as we envisage it could be.

Sincere thanks to our hosts the UWI - in particular Principal Hall who is also the current Chair of the Caribbean Examinations Council, but who unfortunately is not able to be with us; to his staff; and of course to the Management and Staff of the Mona Visitors' Lodge and Convention Centre for providing us with these pleasant surroundings.

We are also pleased to have present tonight many faculty Members of the UWI and student representatives including the President of the Guild of Students, who brought greetings.

Heartfelt appreciation and thanks to Ian Randle and his publishing team. When approached about this project, Mr. Randle readily embraced it as did his very professional staff. I must say a particular word of thanks to Kim Hoo Fatt, Ian's Executive Assistant who co-mothered the project with me and to Arlene Hansen who, among other things, coordinated the arrangements for tonight's function along with my colleagues Huntley Medley and Roseann Collymore.

To the performers of the Ashé Ensemble and the UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra we say, thank you, for your lively and spirited contributions to tonight's proceedings. You will be hearing more from the Panoridim Steel Orchestra during the reception to follow.

We are very much indebted to several individuals who may not be here tonight but who have made significant contributions through the provision of research assistance, actual text and/or very useful comments, on different versions of the draft - and indeed there were many versions before we got to the final stage. Included among these persons are:

  • My colleagues across programme areas in the CARICOM Secretariat, who after a while, began avoiding me for fear that I might seek "just one more small clarification" which would often end up in very lengthy discussions and even rewrites of entire sections;
  • Individuals in other Community Institutions, in particular the OECS Secretariat and the CXC;
  • Government Officials in Member States, particularly High Commissioner Leonard Archer of The Bahamas, who we are pleased to have with us tonight;
  • Thanks also to Mr. Andrew Davies of Jamaica and Barbados for his very creative design which won the book cover design competition. Unfortunately Andrew is not able to be here this evening.

There are also several Private Sector Companies we must thank for their donations to different aspects of the project. These include most notably:

  • Goddard Enterprises of Barbados;
  • Air Jamaica here in Jamaica;
  • Banks DIH in Guyana;
  • The East Caribbean Group of Companies in St Vincent and the Grenadines; and
  • BWIA, RBTT, Unit Trust, Ansa McAl and Neal and Massy Holdings in Trinidad and Tobago

On a personal note I must say thank you to my husband Jo Bayah, for his support and patience, particularly during those periods of intense research and writing when he had to endure much neglect.

I am, as the saying goes, saving the best for last and that is to convey heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to our dear Secretary-General, His Excellency Edwin Carrington, for his determination to see vision, insight and encouragement throughout the process. S.G., I sincerely doubt that we could have completed this Opus without your guidance and direction. You continue to inspire us in the Secretariat with your tireless focus and commitment to the building of this our Caribbean Home. Many thanks to you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, once again thank you all for coming.

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