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As the forces of globalization continue to affect the region, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, has said that the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) provided a vehicle through which the region could successfully counter its effects.
She asserted that the region “must now stand even more firmly as an economic bloc and devise and implement strategies based on each island’s strengthens and competitive advantages”.
Mrs. Simpson Miller was addressing a ceremony for the dedication of the new parliament building in Antigua and Barbuda on Monday (Oct. 30).
The Prime Minister said that “for the Single Economy to succeed, we must pool our collective energies at both the national and regional levels, we must build lasting partnerships, embracing the public sector, private sector and civil society.”
She added that “it is only in togetherness that we can promote the highest levels of efficiency in the production of goods and services. It is only in togetherness that we can speak with a strong and powerful voice around global bargaining tables.”
The Prime Minister further intimated that political differences should not be allowed to hamper the regional integration process and welcomed the introduction of dialogue between CARICOM heads and opposition leaders on issues of regional significance.
In the meantime, as part of the solution to poverty in the region, Mrs. Simpson Miller reiterated the call for more equity in gender and development. She said that CARICOM heads must reduce inequality in the region by promoting the social agenda for the advancement of women.
“We need to have more women at the top levels of leadership in every field, including our parliaments,” she advocated, adding that, it was “vital to our development that there are full and equal opportunities for women. Specific areas such as education and training, income earning opportunities and access to credit must be addressed”.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, in his remarks, credited Mrs. Simpson Miller for her vision “to uplift the life of the poor, women, children, young entrepreneurs.in Jamaica, a pledge that the United Progressive Party administration also holds dear”.
The opening of the new parliament building comes a few days before the Eastern Caribbean island celebrates it 25th independence anniversary under the theme: ‘One Family: Embracing the future together’. Independence activities will unfold on Wednesday, November 1.