The UWI marks the celebration with hybrid public forum and cultural dress day.
Thursday, September 7, 2023 will mark Africa-CARICOM Day. This is in keeping with a 2021 decision taken at the Inaugural Africa-CARICOM Summit for an annual acknowledgement to signal an ongoing commitment to strengthened relationships. The pace of initiatives to strengthen Africa-CARICOM’s cooperation has quickened, following the Summit, in areas of strategic importance to the both regions. Among the initiatives, an official day of observance, celebrating their formalised unity.
In celebration, on September 7, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) together with the University’s P.J. Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy, Office of Global Affairs and Centre for Reparation Research will host a public forum from 10:30 AM (Eastern Caribbean) / 9:30 AM (Jamaica). The hybrid event themed ‘Unity Across Continents and Oceans’, will be hosted at The UWI’s Regional Headquarters in Jamaica and broadcast online via UWItv Global. Keynote speakers include Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI and Chair, CARICOM Reparations Commission and the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, Former Prime Minister of Jamaica and Statesman-in-Residence, The UWI.
Encouraging the people of the Region to embrace the spirit of Africa-CARICOM Day as the Community seeks to deepen cooperation with Africa, The Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica and Chair, CARICOM remarked, “As CARICOM, we continue to prioritize efforts to build on our deep historic and cultural ties with our sister African nations. We are keen to identify new avenues for partnership and collaboration and advance existing initiatives to expand trade and commercial relations between our two regions.”
Noting the significance of the observance, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles stated, “We are honoured as a university community to have the privilege and opportunity to highlight the unity and strengthen collaboration between Africa and the Caribbean. We know that the Middle Passage has been described as that enormous chasm that separates Africa from its people, and we are now shrinking that enormous volume of water into a mere trickle because we are reunited.”
Echoing the purpose of the initiative, the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson said, “Since our independence, CARICOM and the AU nations have had many fora within which their representatives have discussed and made several agreements…The spheres for cooperation in education, tourism, technology and knowledge exchange, economic transformation, governance, and the creative industries are many, and prospects of rewards so great, that it is more than time that an entrenchment is made for this purpose.”
Members of the public are invited to be part of the live Africa-CARICOM Day forum in person at the Council Room at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica, or online, via www.uwitv.global, UWItv on Facebook or UWItv’s Flow Evo cable channels. Persons across the region are encouraged to engage even deeper in the celebration by wearing cultural dress.