Region Must Continue With CARICOM And CSME

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Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Edwin Carrington, addressing??the opening of the Convocation on the CSME at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.??

Even though the integration movement might be at the "crossroads", the region must continue on the path with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

That was the clear message delivered today by Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Edwin Carrington, as he spoke at the opening of the Convocation on the CSME at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Noting that the word "crossroads" had been used at various times to define stages of the integration movement, he said that in today’s context it was not misplaced, since it was almost four years that the operations of the Single Market had commenced.

"The crossroad that we are at today, therefore, requires, indeed demands, free and frank discussion over the next two days.?? Having representatives of the major stakeholders among us, those whom the operations of the Single Market affect on a daily basis, must be a beneficial aspect of our integration process…

"The hard work of identifying the areas of progress, the shortcomings and the shortfalls of this multi-faceted enterprise has now been documented… The truth is that we have certainly gone too far to turn back now," Dr. Carrington said.??

He noted that there were many questions which must be asked. Among them were "What will be the cost of non-CARICOM or of non-CSME? Are we ready, willing and able individually to face a Europe, a United States, a Canada, a China, a Brazil, an India as trading partners?"

Dr. Carrington contended: "The reality is that an efficient Single Market and Economy is this Community’s best hope in relating to the international community, and for its own growth and prosperity and for an improvement in the standard of living of our peoples.?? Let’s stop equivocating and get on with the building of a Community from which our children and their children will benefit and be proud."

emcclean@barbados.gov.bb

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