JIS News

Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding says the future of Caricom states remains, and will always be challenged by our small size.
“In this chess game of international politics and diplomacy, we can no longer play the geo-political advantage. The world has changed. That is no longer a card that is of any value. It is primarily economics and politics that now define international relations,” he said.
He said the bilateralism on which so much of our international relations were founded in the early years of Independence, has given way to multilateralism. “Indeed it is now multilateralism arrangement that provides the framework within which bilateral interests are pursued. In this new paradigm, smallness of size is a distinct disadvantage,” Mr. Golding noted.
He said this is being found in our trade negotiations where the bigger and more developed countries don’t want to negotiate with individual countries that are considered to be small countries. “You are being told to get yourself in a group and come talk to us.”
Mr. Golding said the Japanese and the Chinese recently announced a level of funding that is available for buyers credit but they want to deal with CARICOM as a block. “Even in the global crisis so many of the efforts we have made have faced this reality that we are too small to attract attention.”
He said the world is reconfiguring itself into huge economic decision making blocks and Caribbean countries must make up their minds either that they are going to deal with this new configuration as isolated individuals or together as a united force.
“We have an agreement that Caricom is a community of sovereign states. That’s an agreement that has guided much of the development of Caricom but that position is being challenged because of certain developments taking place in the Eastern Caribbean. One of the problems that has bedeviled Caricom for so long is our tendency to be minimalist in our approach. We cling to the lowest common denominator of agreement and unanimity and we are trying to move ahead on that limited platform that embodies those issues on which we have been able to reach agreement,” Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister expressed concern that even among that limited range of issues on which we have secured agreement, there has been failure to fulfill them. He cited the free movement of Caribbean people as a case in point.
Mr. Golding raised his concerns on the Caricom issues while paying tribute to former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, at a reception to celebrate the conferment on him of the Order of the Caribbean Community at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday (July 27). The award is conferred on nationals of Member States of the Caribbean Community who have a record of outstanding service and contributions to the political, social and cultural development of the region.

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