JIS News

Former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, has said that the time is right for a revision of the aims and objectives of CARICOM and for new approaches to be sought in the advancement of the 15-member grouping.
Addressing the opening banquet of the conference on investments and capital markets on Tuesday evening (Jan. 29) at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club, Mr. Seaga said that the 35-year old organization, which was established by the treaty of Chaguaramas, has still not gained sufficient traction within the region.
“We are now in a new era of CARICOM development. Several leaders, who have spent decades of their public life in trying to get CARICOM to work as an effective tool of economic development, are now no longer in positions of leadership,” he pointed out.
“New and younger replacements have taken their place. This is an excellent time, therefore, for CARICOM to be revisited by new minds,” he stated.
Pointing to some “inherent problems” within the regional body, Mr. Seaga said: “it is top heavy in bureaucracy and bottom-light in benefits, and this is at the heart of the problem.”
He further questioned the decision to launch the Caribbean Single Market instead of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), and the omission of an integrated economy within the CSME which, he claimed, stemmed from a decision not to proceed with the establishment of a Caribbean Monetary Union (CMU). The CMU, he opined, is key to the integrated economy.
Even with shortcomings, the former Prime Minister cited the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as good examples of the integration process at work.
He further pointed to the fraternal goodwill, which has always been present between countries of the region, adding that this goodwill needs to be properly harnessed.
The four-day conference, which ends tomorrow, is being organized by the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) under the theme: ‘Partnering for change, Embracing Competition for Regional Advancement in a Global Environment’.

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