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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is more powerful when it speaks with one voice on regional and international matters, according to Samuel Berridge, Assistant Secretary in the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Just the functional co-operation element of it, by the states co-operating and collaborating, we were able to save a lot of resources,” said Berridge. “The very impetus for regional integration is to bring about the pooling of resources. Whenever we go to international conferences, there is a CARICOM caucus. So, we arrive at one position.”

“We are one, but when we are together, we are 15,” he said. “There is power in our numbers. There are unity and strength.”

“There is not always consensus, because all member states are sovereign states,” explained Berridge. “However, to the greatest extent possible, Member States are encouraged to harmonize their positions and increase their voice with respect to the regional and international agenda.

“In terms of functional co-operation, if there is a project at the UN, it makes sense for us to put our resources together and get a regional project so that everybody benefits,” he said. “There is an added benefit of the CARICOM Secretariat doing the overarching work.

“They have a holistic approach to it so if for example, we are lagging in one area, another Member State can actually step up,” concluded Berridge.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) is an integration movement of 20 developing countries in the Caribbean–15 Member States and five Associate Members. They came together to form an economic and political community. Its primary objectives are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.