Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations Within CARICOM

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Finance, The Hon. Audley Shaw, CD, MP

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  • As the Minister with responsibility for agriculture, the manufacturing sector, fisheries, the distributive trade and investment promotion; that is, practically the entire goods producing sector of the economy, I rise to support the resolution now being debated.
  • Mr. Speaker, it is necessary to revisit the rationale and objective of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), to establish the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

As the Minister with responsibility for agriculture, the manufacturing sector, fisheries, the distributive trade and investment promotion; that is, practically the entire goods producing sector of the economy, I rise to support the resolution now being debated.

Mr. Speaker, it is necessary to revisit the rationale and objective of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), to establish the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Among the objectives of the Revised Treaty are:

1. Improved standard of living and work in member countries,
2. Accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and
3. Organization for increased production and productivity.

It is clear therefore, that the overarching objective of the CSME is to increase our collective wealth and well-being through sustained economic growth derived from continuous increase in production and productivity. This goal has somewhat eluded us due to half-heartedness, and sometimes, a lack of commitment and an unevenness in the extent to which Members States embrace the provisions of the Revised Treaty to increase our common wealth. I remain convinced that the existing provisions of the Revised Treaty, if applied fairly and rigorously can increase economic development in the Region, through increased trade among ourselves, supported by continuous production and productivity gains. Therefore, we need to commit ourselves first and foremost to applying the existing rules and strengthen, where necessary to achieve the goal of a single market.

The goal of a single economy is noble, but more challenging and will require tremendous political will to be achieved. It is instructive that even Europe that has been at this for a much longer period is challenged to achieve and maintain a Single Economy, as manifested in BREXIT and the current political tensions surrounding the issue of migration.

Mr. Speaker, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas is a comprehensive document, addressing a range of issues that will be addressed by various speakers in this debate today. Based on my portfolio responsibilities, I will restrict myself to the issues related to trade in agriculture and manufactured goods.

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