Still Hope For CSME

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Acting Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, (second from left) at a Press?? Conference to discuss the 31st Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Also pictured are CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding,(right) CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, (second from right) Prime Minister of St.Kitts and Nevis,Dr.Denzil Douglas, (third from right) and CARICOM Public Affairs Advisor, Leonard Robertson.

 

Barbados is in a much better position to discharge its role as the leader of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Acting Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, made this observation today at the close of the 31st Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government, held at the Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Mr. Stuart said: "This conference has engendered much hope that we will eventually achieve a full Caribbean Single Market and Economy. But, the more positive outcome is that we now realise that we cannot proceed without taking the requirement limitations of the states that have to make all of this work."

He added: "What was refreshing …on the CSME, was the fact that all of the states that got involved in the discussions, recommitted themselves to the pursuit of a full Single Market and Economy.

??"Before the end of September, we will have convened a meeting of the Prime Ministerial sub-committee on the CSME, so that we can, in the light of all that we heard at this conference, try to set realistic targets and impose realistic deadlines, [so] that we can move more smoothly towards the implementation of the CSME," the acting Prime Minister declared.

Admitting that, unfortunately, not much had come out of the implementation of the CSME to date, he, however, explained that "it had to do with the fact that, in many respects, a lot of the targets set were ambitious and took no account of the resource limitations both of the [CARICOM] Secretariat, and of individual states.

"…it had to be conceded, that we had to revisit the arrangements made for implementation of the CSME, having regard to the fact that the differences between states and the very short timelines would make realisation of the CSME ideal a little more difficult than at first imagined, " Mr. Stuart said.

The acting Prime Minister lamented the fact that the region erroneously tended to compare itself with Europe and to equate what was happening in the Caribbean Community with what happened there.

"???But, I think on any objective evaluation of what has happened in Europe, it is clear that it took Europe some considerable time to get where they have got now, and…they have still been experiencing some challenges from which they are trying to extricate themselves," he noted.

In light of this, Mr. Stuart opined: "I think we have to be a little more patient, in terms of what we expect to get out of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. We are trying to bring a region together economically, and in terms of a Common Market and Economy which has been balkanized for upwards of 300 years, and you cannot, in the short time span of 20 or 25 years, hope to reverse the effect of what it took over 300 years to put in place."

The curtain came down on the summit, after three days of intense deliberations from representatives of the 14 sovereign states that comprise the regional grouping. clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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