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Caricom 17th Inter-sessional – PM Manning: We are our own best hope

PORT OF SPAIN – The Chairman of Caricom, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, raised the issues of Caribbean integration in his address to the opening ceremony of the17th Inter-sessional meeting of CARICOM on Thursday, February 9.

He also spoke about the Caribbean Single Market (CSM), crime, natural disasters and the departure from politics of Jamaican Prime Minister, PJ Patterson.

As Chairman, Mr. Manning said it was his responsibility to point out “both our possibilities and its challenges” and noted the inter-sessional started with renewed confidence and optimism in the integration movement and some leaders in the southern Caribbean had held discussions on the possibility of a deeper union on an incremental basis.

He said throughout the course of human history, economic integration had always led to the social and cultural fusion of peoples and nations, which had produced the possibility of a more complete union. As in Europe, the Caribbean was now moving from a Common Market to an economic union.

Prime Minister Manning said CARICOM was now revitalized with the establishment of the Single Market and will be further energized when an additional six members join in four months time. He said this would create enthusiasm and expedition to meet the deadline of 2008 for the creation of the Single Economy.

With the Single Market and the coming one economy, the Caribbean was set to fully develop its potential and build on its strengths, Prime Minister Manning said. The economies would be more resilient and attractive for the inflow of new capital and CARICOM would now bring greater value and be in a stronger position to negotiate partnerships for development in this world because its voice was now strengthened.

The Caribbean Community had embarked on the process of self transformation, he said, and was giving substance to the belief that “we are our own best hope” moving towards the Caribbean civilization that has been a dream.

Mr. Manning said Caribbean society had talent and growing opportunity. There was security, prosperity and fulfillment for all people, “where the future and youth are brimming with promise and possibility and where there was an entrenched and irreversible culture of integrity, transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs.”

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