St. Lucia’s Minister for trade calls for better transportation system among CARICOM countries

ST. LUCIA – Newly installed Minister for Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and investment for St. Lucia, Honourable Rufus Bousquet, has called on regional governments to plan carefully, to ensure that necessary investments are channeled in the areas with greatest potential.

Mr. Bousquet made the plea at the just ended 3rd, Annual Private Sector Meeting with Ministers of Trade and Finance in Saint Lucia. The meeting was hosted by the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce Incorporated.

Of particular interest to Mr. Bousquet, at last week’s meeting, was the issue of transportation in the region.

“Clearly, if the factors of production are to move freely within the community and for CARICOM to mould into a cohesive force, within the framework of the CSME, the current travel and transport system cannot be allowed to continue. The movement of goods and persons must become a priority for all member states, if trade and commerce is expected to expand,” said the minister.

He said the future of the region is clearly in the mobilization of its human resources. His comments come as oil prices on the world market continue to rise. This in turn has caused increases in production costs of goods as well as air travel operations. These factors have resulted in additional costs being passed on to the consumer.

Meanwhile, Public Service Minister Honourable Lenard Montoute thinks there is need for the private and public sectors to engage in deeper dialogue to deal with prevailing issues.

“Government and the private sector must dialogue and synchronize their efforts to improve the competitiveness of our regional producers and service providers, thereby repositioning and refining our position in the global marketplace,” said Minister Montoute.

Mr. Montoute assured the regional gathering that the government of Saint Lucia is continuing to demonstrate a strong commitment to the private sector. The 3rd Annual Private Sector Meeting focused primarily on a regional stock exchange, CARICOM services export and investing in the development of the regional agricultural sector.

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