JIS News

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes, has called on the relevant regional institutions to immediately put systems in place to allow for the full exploitation of opportunities and benefits that will emanate from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
He was addressing the opening of the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s third annual regional conference on Investments and Capital Markets on(Jan. 29) at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay.
Dr. Hughes spoke against the background of the recently signed EPA between the European Union and CARIFORUM countries in terms of the changes to take place, and the options and prospects that will be presented.
He noted that while there have been criticisms of the agreement, “the challenge now is for all the stakeholders in the region to fully understand the implications of the EPA, the challenges and opportunities, and there are opportunities.”
Stating that the Caribbean has the potential to succeed under the new agreement, Dr. Hughes said that certain values and mindsets have to change, as these could make the transformation process difficult.
These values, he said, include a tendency towards insularity, an aversion to competition and risk taking, the historic dominance of politics over economics in decisions relating to growth, and inefficient resource allocation.
According to Dr. Hughes, “the region cannot simply sit and wait for development assistance and investment to flow automatically” and “we will have to work even harder on our own to attract investments and to drive our own development.”
The four-day conference is being held under the theme: ‘Partnering for Change, Embracing Competition for Regional Advancement in a Global Environment’.

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