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Sunday, November 15, 2009

'CSME not answer for region'

Denyse Renne

Former Barbadian prime minister Owen Arthur says the rise of trade liberalisation and globalisation was making a massive impact in the world, and less developed countries within the Caribbean are forced to face more challenges.

Arthur was one of many speakers who addressed the final session of the inaugural symposium on ’Current Developments in Caribbean Community Law’ at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Port of Spain, on Wednesday.

Arthur said the cost of restructuring an economy as a result of the information age can have its challenges, especially in terms of security.

Stating no Caribbean country is in a position to look at Caricom or the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) for immediate solutions for several matters, Arthur said the CSME does not offer governments ample opportunities to deal with fiscal issues.

He advised that issues such as the Caribbean Single Economy should be forgotten for the time being, and the issue of sovereignty should be dealt with through a single market, and emphasis should be placed on getting rid of restrictions.

’The CSME has always been conceived with the intention of a well-integrated system for global economy. We must go forward in the Caribbean. We must see the CSME for what it is, it will not yield over solutions. There must be political commitments to allow it to yield the course,’ Arthur said.

Noting the power of advocacy can bring about change in the Caribbean, Arthur said the concept of the CSME needs reviewing and, also, countries need to ask themselves where they stand. ’Are we seen as Caribbean people or are we seen as individuals?’

St Lucian Opposition Leader Dr Kenny Anthony also addressed the function, saying the collapse of Clico and the revamping of British American Insurance Company saw governments scrambling and relying on other resources.

’I think we are in very dangerous times. There is an economic crisis facing nations...,’ he said

He said there needs to be clarity among countries and their purposes known, as well as a display of political courage and as far as he is concerned, ’I am yet to see any evidence of this.’

Declaring that the leadership of the region needs to resolve issues of movement of nationals across countries, Anthony said the fear of Haiti becoming involved in Caricom integration is a sore point for countries since there is the fear of the Haitian invasion of nationals.

November 13th 2009