Governments in CARICOM are doing their best in these challenging economic times says this country???s Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
He expressed this view yesterday at the Inter American Press Association???s mid-year meeting at the Hilton Barbados while responding to a question about what the politicians in the Caribbean were doing to create economic growth and bring the region out of the recession.
Mr. Stuart told his audience that the Heads of Government had set up a Commission on the economy, chaired by Barbados, to look at possible ways to revive Caribbean economies.
He explained that the work was being done by a number of experts from across CARICOM and further disclosed that the Commission had reported to the Council of Financial and Economic Planning, an arm of CARICOM.?????It is not as though we have all fallen asleep and not been aware of what our obligations are. We are doing the best we can in the most difficult set of circumstances this region has ever faced and in the context of the most sustained economic downturn the world has seen in the last 100 years.
???So I wouldn???t advise you to become too much of a Jeremiah at this stage; there is still scope for optimism. Yes, it has been a very difficult period, but things are happening and I am confident that we will get all of this back together,??? he remarked.
Stating that he was not happy some CARICOM countries were registering unemployment rates of 26, 30 and 32 per cent, the Prime Minister continued: ???That is not for anybody???s comfort. But, all of this has to be contextualised within the framework of what is happening across the world and within that context, I dare say, that CARICOM has not done too badly.???
Mr. Stuart noted that the developed countries including Britain, the United States of America and France had also experienced difficult economic times. ???The British economy today is smaller than it was in 2007 and will not get back to 2007 levels on present projections until 2018. Growth in the United States of America has been tepid??? What has been happening in CARICOM has to be analysed and evaluated within that context ??? We are part of what is going on in the world,??? he stressed.
The Prime Minister said he did not believe CARICOM was a failure and opined that much had been achieved over the past 40 years of the organisation???s existence. He proffered the view that the Caribbean was more deeply integrated than at any other time of its history.