Decisions taken not being implemented by CARICOM
- 30th CARICOM Heads of Govt. meet
“…no matter what devise or mechanism is developed and there is the lack of political will then there would not be any progress,” Sir Shridath Ramphal
By Gary Eleazar
The 30th Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government is currently taking place over three days of plenary sessions where the heads hash out initiatives to respond to regional and global issues. They are reportedly making some headway in coming to agreements.
Speaking with local and regional media operatives yesterday, former Commonwealth Secretary General, Sir Shridath Ramphal, said that the problem did not lie in the coming to agreements but to the substantive implementation which has been lagging over the years.
He said that any agency or body that acquires the confidence of the Heads to assist in the implementation process such as addressing the bottle necks and impediments would be a welcomed idea.
According to Sir Shridath, he was pleased to see the proposal by The Most Honorable Patrick J Patterson (OCC, OE) who said, “People like me are willing to help.”
Sir Shridath posited that the heads should utilise the opportunity to tap into the resources that is the stalwarts, such as Patterson among others.
When asked about whether he believed that the various splinter groups evolving would dismantle CARICOM, Sir Shridath said that the grouping of countries has been in existence for some 36 years and he did not believe that it would completely collapse, “but it is in trouble.”
He noted that over the past 36 years the integration process has been advanced greatly but was currently in a state of stumble and “it looks as if we can’t take the further step.”
Sir Shridath suggested to reporters that CARICOM has stumbled despite making the right decisions about the integration process. “We have not implemented them, so they are decisions on paper.”
He said that CARICOM is moving one step in terms of language but in no other sense.
He was referring to the host of decisions to create the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that has been agreed to over the years but yet to be implemented by the various CARICOM heads since Grand Anse in 1989.
Sir Shridath said that in order for CARICOM to move forward and make positive gains, there is the need for political will.
“If the political leaders want it to work, mechanisms are not difficult to devise to make it work.”
He said that no matter what devise or mechanism is developed, once there is the lack of political will then there would not be any progress.
The former Commonwealth Secretary General posited that CARICOM was recognised by the heads as a necessary integration but must be saved.
When asked what could fuel the saving of the CARICOM body given that the Leaders over the years have always been saying that they are committed to the success of the body, Sir Shridath said, “I am not sure that in the years pass we have been staring disaster in the face in the way we have now.”
Sir Shridath was drawing reference to the very many grave phenomena adversely affecting the world.
As it relates to the scenario that politicians may not be too keen on deepen integration given that the various constituencies may not be of the same view, he said that he was under the impression that CARICOM nationals were in favour of the deepened integration.