Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has called for greater cooperation and collaboration if Caribbean nations are to attract investment opportunities and be economically stable.
Her comments came today as she delivered remarks at the opening of the Caribbean Community’s Sixth Special Meeting of the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
She told those gathered: “There is no doubt that the common differences that we face with the threat [of] blacklisting and the negative listing with respect to critical aspects of our economy in terms of our financial services, continue to bedevil our economic stability.
“All of us are having access problems with respect to capital. Too many of our citizens in the productive sectors, [and] too many of our companies are complaining about their ability to access capital in ways that make sense.”
Noting that Caribbean nations had to find ways “to build a common community investment policy”, she added that for almost a decade, the region had been in the “wilderness” of not being able to settle some critical initiatives, and called for a financial services architecture to be implemented by way of treaty arrangements to rectify these financial challenges.
Noting that the COFAP meeting would seek to address fundamental issues about the competitiveness of the Single Market, in relation to how regional economies functioned, she added: “If we are to carry the Single Market to the next level, then these issues have to have some advancement made in terms of the capital markets of our region.”
Prime Minister Mottley pointed out that it was absolutely critical that regional leaders enhanced the ability of citizens to be able to access credit and to bring true expression to improving their wellbeing “by putting a framework in place that protects the individual citizen, as well as the financial institution”.
Ms. Mottley’s delegation to the meeting included Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle; Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott; Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands; Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs, Senator Lucille Moe; Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington; special advisers in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Ambassador Dr. Clyde Mascoll and Avinash Persaud; Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong; and Governor of the Central Bank, Cleviston Haynes.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda chaired the meeting and other regional leaders in attendance included Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Timothy Harris; and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
They discussed several pressing financial issues as a follow-up to last July’s Heads of Government summit, including macro-economic support measures to complement the functioning of the market infrastructure for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, and ways of spearheading growth and sustainable development.
The Sixth Special Meeting of COFAP will be followed tomorrow by the Ninth Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.