Belize Prime Minister, Dean Barrow has said that consolidation of the operations of the Caricom single market is urgently needed as the region faces a global economic crisis, but cautioned that special treatment for the most vulnerable members must be secured in establishing the single economy. The need for a recommitment to the integration movement does not discount the progress already made, Barrow said. He assumed chairmanship of Caricom for the next six months on Thursday, and underscored the issue of consolidating the single market.
“Our minutely analytical public discourses, our often scathingly skeptical debates, are as they should be. But there does come a time when consensus must prevail, when talk must give way to action. That time, I want to suggest to all citizens of the Community, is now. We are called urgently, in the roiled conditions of the global convulsion, to first of all consolidate the operations of the single market. Thereafter we must proceed with all deliberate haste, always of course ensuring special treatment for the most vulnerable among us, to the establishment of the Single Economy”, Barrow declared.
In his address released by Caricom yesterday, Barrow also pointed to the need for the community to bring closure to what he said was the long running review of its governance structure, adding that this is a critical dimension of the regional approach.
“… I would like to see finalization of the new apparatuses that would streamline decision-making and accelerate implementation”, Barrow stated. Global circumstances aside, he said, there are particular imperatives for the community to enhance its competitiveness and strengthen its internal arrangements. Barrow said one such is the Economic Partnership Agreement signed last year between the Community and the European Union; and listed another as the impending negotiations with Canada for a Trade and Development Agreement.
He charged that the region has to be ready to confront the challenges and exploit the opportunities that these developments bring, in addition to utilizing them as platforms to maximize advantage and minimize disadvantage noting that this will especially require the involvement of the private sector and labour. Further, he stated that this is a complex enterprise on which the region has embarked; a fraught departure requiring unity of purpose and safeness of hands.
Barrow said he expects the upcoming Summit of the Americas, and the Commonwealth Heads gathering to be held in Trinidad and Tobago later this year, to produce breakthrough decisions.
Antiguan Prime Minister, Baldwin Spencer previously held the chairmanship of Caricom.