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PRIME MINISTER Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines has blamed the region’s bureaucrats for stealing the “power” that belongs to the heads of government of the Caribbean Community.

He has called for an urgent decision to “stop the slide” into meetings of the community leaders being diminished into an “administrative bureaucratic enterprise” to avoid further “wasting of time”. {{more}}

The claims by Gonsalves, outlined in a lengthy letter to CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington, have provoked concerns among some community leaders, with one of them deeming the letter as reflecting “an unjustified attack on Carrington”.

Another prime minister, while sharing some of Gonsalves’ views, thinks it “regrettable” that the Vincentian leader should have chosen to make them known in the “tone he has done” and ahead of next month’s CARICOM Summit in Castries, St Lucia.

Particularly, he stressed, as there was already “agreement in principle” to discuss changes in the format of Heads of Government conferences . . .”

Perhaps anticipating differences at the coming 26th CARICOM Summit in Castries, slated for July 3 to 6, Gonsalves told Carrington in his letter -a copy of which was obtained by the SUNDAY SUN:

“I regret sincerely if I offend anyone with these views, or the robust language in which I have expressed them”.

But he said he was “pained that a great cause – Caribbean unity – was not likely to be served, as well as it ought to be, if we continue on our current path.”

Carrington, currently completing his third term as the longest serving secretary general of the now almost 32-year-old community, yesterday said he would “prefer not to offer any comment to the media on this matter”.

However, it was learnt that Gonsalves’ letter to Carrington, would be one of the “new issues” to be discussed in a caucus session of Heads of Government at the forthcoming Castries Summit, in the context of “structure” of meetings of the community’s leaders and “agenda preparation”.

The letter was copied by Gonsalves to all his fellow Heads of Government.

One leading regional technocrat, who did not wish to be identified, observed yesterday: “Whatever may be upsetting to Prime Minister Gonsalves, he would at least be aware that, ultimately, it is not regional bureacrats but the community leaders themselves who determine the shape of agendas and who have the right to prioritise, reject or include issues for consideration and decision, even after receiving recommendations from the Community Council of Ministers,” he said.