As Guyana assumes chairmanship of the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) grouping, President David Granger has called for deeper regional integration, noting that the new year held great promise for the Caribbean countries to advance “our integration process which can only be possible through the involvement and participation of all”.New Caricom Chairman, President David Granger“Let us resolve to play our part in strengthening our Caribbean Community and to making regional unity a living, breathing experience,” Granger said in a message ahead of taking over from Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit from January 1.Granger, who will hold the position for the next six months, said that 2016 marked the mid-point of the Five-Year Strategic Plan, which he described as “a foundational element in the Community’s reform process”.“That process is geared towards ensuring that our people feel the impact of the integration movement in their daily lives. Integration is not merely about systems and institutions. It is mostly about people.“It is in the interest of developing our people that we are taking steps to ensure that they are fully equipped to address the requirements of the 21st Century economy and society. Our Commission on Human Resource Development is developing a Regional Education and Human Resource Strategy with special attention to ICT in Education and Human Resource Development.”Granger said that the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour, and services across the Region remained “the vehicle through which we can achieve the growth and development; timely assessments will serve to ensure that we maximise its benefits for our citizens”. He acknowledged that notwithstanding the substantial progress that has been made, regional leaders would review its operations and identify ways to improve its delivery.Granger said that the Caribbean was well endowed with the requirements for pursuing a green economy, including sources of renewable energy and forests that harbour a significant amount of carbon.He said as noted by the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, “the green economy can be seen as a lens for focusing on and seizing opportunities to advance economic and environmental goals simultaneously”.“The effects of climate change continue to bedevil our countries as exemplified by Hurricane Matthew. The need to conserve and protect our environment, therefore, becomes even more pressing.”Such actions, he said, will also give the Region the opportunity to leverage the abundant forests and wetlands as well as the marine resources with which the Region was blessed and utilise them creatively to launch new pathways to social and economic development. “This can be accomplished while ensuring that we help in the global commitment to limit the rise in global temperature to below 1.5 degrees.”Granger said that Caribbean people made a considerable contribution to the global community in the sphere of culture and later this year, the Region’s premier cultural exposition, the Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA), would be held in Barbados.The 13th edition of this festival, bringing together the peoples of Caricom as well as the wider Caribbean, will take place under the theme “Asserting our Culture: Celebrating Ourselves”, and President Granger added “we certainly look forward to widespread participation to make the event a tremendous success”.In his statement, the Guyanese leader said that the safety and security of the Region was of paramount importance, noting “as we move forward with implementing a regional crime and security strategy, we will be building on the platform already established by concluding legal agreements with respect to Arrest Warrants and Asset Forfeiture”.
EL SEGUNDO – Pavol Demitra has scored the big goals, Mathieu Garon has made the big saves and Mattias Norstrom has patrolled the blue line with tremendous success, but if a vote was to be taken to determine the Kings’ first-half MVP, Eric Belanger would get significant support. Belanger, who has long been one of the Kings’ best defensive forwards, has developed an offensive flair this season, which is why Belanger and the Kings are being cautious about his groin injury. “He’s on the puck more,” Murray said. “He’s quicker, he’s on the puck and there’s more battle in his game. The first thing Luc will tell you is, ‘Well, the coach is using me more,’ and the first thing the coach will tell you is that the reason I’m using him more is that he’s doing those things. The player always says, ‘Play me more and I’ll play better,’ and the coach always says, ‘Play better and I’ll play you more.”‘ Robitaille, who is one goal from tying Marcel Dionne’s franchise record of 550, has said he simply needed time to play his way into shape after missing nine games with a broken bone in his leg. “I don’t know what the reason is,” Murray said. “Put it this way: I stand behind my reason to take him out, and I think there’s reason to play him more now. That’s always how we’ve operated. You earn your ice time, and Luc has earned his ice time.” Rich Hammond, (818) 713-3611 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “From the perspective of setting a date (for his return), it’s hard now,” Belanger said, “but if it keeps progressing the way it is now, I’d probably say after the road trip. “Every day is better. It’s been a progression.” Injury report: Pavol Demitra (leg bruise) will miss a second consecutive game tonight. There is little change in the status of the Kings’ other nine players, although coach Andy Murray indicated that both Jeff Cowan (groin) and George Parros (ankle) were possibilities to play tonight. Murray said the Kings have had trouble determining when and how Demitra got hurt, because they can’t find any obvious incident on the game tape. X-rays revealed only a bruise. He’s back: Luc Robitaille, who was benched for three games last month by Murray because of his perceived substandard play, is enjoying a resurgence. Robitaille has played at least 16 minutes in each of the last three games. He scored two games and has had a handful of other quality scoring chances. Tonight’s game against the Mighty Ducks will mark the fifth consecutive game Belanger has missed with the second-degree strain, which is the second-most serious of the three categories. The Kings hoped Belanger might return for a two-game trip to Boston and Buffalo late this week, but that now seems unlikely. Belanger skated Sunday morning for the first time and said he felt good.