Welcome remarks by Dr. R. van Ravenswaay, Government of Suriname

Launch of Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute (CRITI)

Welcome remarks by Dr. R. van Ravenswaay,
Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation, Suriname
Suriname, Paramaribo, January 17, 2008

In attendance:

  • President of the Republic of Suriname;
  • Vice President of the Republic of Suriname;
  • Secretary General of Cariforum;
  • Head of the delegation of the European Commission;
  • Representatives from the different CARICOM Countries;
  • Members of the Corps Diplomatic;
  • Distinguished guests;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen;

Goede morgen, Good morning, Buenos dias, Bon jour;

As the Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation it is my privilege to extend a hearty welcome to all of you attending this inauguration today.

A special welcome is expressed to our friends from the Caribbean who made time and effort to join us here today for this important celebration.

In welcoming all of you to Suriname I’m particularly welcoming you to the city of Paramaribo. As you came here on a mission; do also take the time to discover the beauties of our capital. We do wish you a very pleasant stay and hope that you will feel at home in our multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual Suriname.

Today is a very important day in the history of Suriname, the Cariforum and its people. It also marks an important milestone in the relationship between the Cariforum and the European Union.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Going back in history we see that the desire to unify has always been present in the Caribbean. Regional economic integration already started in the 1968’s with the establishment of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) involving 12 commonwealth countries. The creation of the Caribbean community (CARICOM) further, deepened the integration process and in 1989 a great push towards integration was given with the establishment of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CMSE). The recent establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice will even further facilitate the integration process among the different Caribbean states.

Although in the beginning this process of integration merely included the English-speaking Caribbean, later on, other countries joined the process and most recently we even see the French DOM’s showing cautious signs of becoming more involved, hereby increasing the diversity but at the same time introducing an extra degree of difficulty in communication since these new joining member states have different native languages.

Overcoming these language barriers; in 2005 the Cariforum Council of Ministers agreed to create the Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute in Suriname with the overall objective to deepen regional integration through the provision of timely and efficient information and translation services in the English, French, Spanish and Dutch languages. Through these translation services, official, semiofficial and other information will be available throughout the Cariforurm, no matter the language in which the information originated. CRITI will offer translation and information services to professional bodies, regional organizations and the general public on a cost recovery basis.

With the implementation of CRITI today, a step is set forward in eliminating the barriers of language which in it self is experienced as an obstacle for further integration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would not have been here today, had we not received the support and assistance of the European Union. A lot of lobbying, whether oral or written had to be done. People within and outside the region had to be convinced of the crucial importance of this institution. This was also the case how we bridged the gap that existed between 2002 when the Cariforum Ministers approved the proposal; and 2006 when the Ministerial decision was reinforced and instructions were given to be implemented.

This is a proof that when we are willing to cooperate and work together, we can achieve our goals. With this inauguration we have again achieved another goal. We thank you for all your support and congratulate Cariforum and the EU.