Caribbean Leaders, single economy will now “take longer than anticipated’

Teperu, Mazaruni – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have ended their two-day retreat in Guyana indicating that the process towards a single economy within the 15-member grouping that would have gone into effect by 2015, will now “take longer than anticipated.’

The leaders from 10 of the Caribbean countries – Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Suriname, St. Lucia and the Bahamas prime ministers were absent – said in a statement afterwards that they would now await a restructuring of the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat before establishing an over-arching decision-implementation arm to ensure regional policies are adhered to.

“As regards the Single Economy, they recognised that the process towards full implementation would take longer than anticipated and agreed it may be best to pause and consolidate the gains of the Single Market before taking any further action on certain specific elements of the Single Economy, such as the creation of a single currency,” the statement said.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is intended to benefit the region by providing more and better opportunities to produce and sell goods and services and to attract investment. It will create one large market among the participating member states.

“The main objectives of the CSME are: full use of labour (full employment) and full exploitation of the other factors of production (natural resources and capital); competitive production leading to greater variety and quantity of products and services to trade with other countries. It is expected that these objectives will in turn provide improved standards of living and work and sustained economic development,” according to the CARICOM Secretariat.

“In respect of Governance, they reaffirmed the decision taken at their Inter-Sessional Meeting in Grenada in February to await the completion of the current review of the CARICOM Secretariat, before taking any firm decisions towards the establishment of the Permanent Committee of CARICOM Ambassadors (PCCA),” the statement said after the retreat held at BK International’s quarry resort at Teperu, Mazaruni.

Regarding a replacement for Sir Edwin Carrington, who resigned as secretary general of the grouping at the start of the year, the leaders also “agreed that the persons short-listed for the position would be subjected to further processes, with a view to taking a final decision by July 2011” when they meet in St. Kitts and Nevis under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Douglas.

(left to right) Guyana’s President His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during a break in the Heads Retreat in Guyana.

The leaders also agreed that the review of the Secretariat should take into account the strengthening of the institution to enable it to play an enhanced role in the area of mobilizing substantial resources for concrete projects in the areas identified.

They said that the restructuring should also allow the Secretariat to assist and advise member states with implementation; offer greater technical advice and address its ability to provide practical deliverables in the immediate and long term.

The retreat was used by the leaders to continue discussions on “Prioritising the Focus and Direction of the Community” which they initiated at their Grenada meeting.

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