JIS News

Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has expressed the hope that all 15 members of CARIFORUM will eventually sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), with the European Union (EU).
“We hope that all 15 members will sign. If there is any member who finds it impossible to sign, we want to leave the space and we want to leave the opportunity,” Mr. Golding said, while responding to questions posed by Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Anthony Hylton, in the House of Representatives yesterday (Oct.14).
Mr. Golding stated “I made sure in my last discussions with the European Commissioner, just before he demitted office a week ago, (that) I got an assurance that any country that finds it difficult to sign at this stage, the opportunity will be made available to (them to) sign at such point as they feel comfortable to sign.”
“As I said before, it is not a perfect agreement, it is an agreement that offers opportunities. We have to be gearing ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities,” the Prime Minister said.
He also announced that Jamaica is the only country from the CARIFORUM group, that has already established a technical working group. Mr. Golding said the group is currently conducting a best audit, to determine what the gaps are; the areas of deficiencies in terms of technical capacity; and to determine the legislative steps that might need to be taken.
“I have been in dialogue with the private sector, indicating to them that they are the ones who will have to jump on the front line, because they are the ones who will utilise the opportunities that are there,” Mr. Golding said.
Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, left the island yesterday (Oct.14) to attend the signing ceremony for the EPA in Bridgetown, Barbados.