CARICOM 30th Heads of Govt. meet…
By Gary Eleazar
Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding says that he, as well as several other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Leaders, are worried about the growing number of breakaway groups in the region that already belong to CARICOM.
Speaking to Journalists during a break at the just concluded 30th CARICOM Heads of Government meeting at the Conference Centre, Golding said that it was a matter of where priority is placed.
Among some of the groups that have been formed, are the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, the Union of South American Nations and Latin American Economic System among others.
In explaining his position, the Jamaican Prime Minister used the analogy of a family and the chores as delegated.
“If you have a family that is having difficulties seeking to create unity and oneness to make the family function because we have to function, there are family chores that have to be performed, then naturally if I am a member of that family I will be concerned,” said Golding.
He went on to explain that if the chores were being left undone and members of the family went to the neighbour and were getting busy, “I would say let us get our family working properly before we start creating other alliances.”
The Jamaican Prime Minister noted that inherent in an alliance was responsibility and obligations that may cut across the existing obligations, “at home” referring to existing relations with CARICOM.
He added also that, “if someone in the family is uncomfortable I would become worried for the sustainability of the family if I see them going next door and finding greater comfort there. The priority that they ought to give to get the family working is going to be diminished.”
Golding told media operatives that he views CARICOM as a work-in-progress which has been slow and tedious in the making, but, “it’s not something that we want to give up on.”
On the first day of the Conference, Professor Nigel Harris of the University of the West Indies, had told media operatives that successful regional integration was crucial to CARICOM’s success in that no one country could fully achieve its pinnacle by itself.
He emphasised that it was an issue to be dealt with more effectively by the political leaders but as an academic, his own view was that the region was a broad demographic that shares deep history and cultural links.
He noted that in the region, the countries were so small that in no instance a single country could be able to lift itself developmentally.
“Within that context, one would want to support broader participation and broader integration.”
He said that the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was already a working entity and with Trinidad’s addition, given its resources, would seem like a good opportunity. “(But) I think everybody is committed to a broader integration process across Caricom.”
Professor Harris said that the different groups within the region, such as the OECS and the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA) would not fracture CARICOM, given that a solid working relationship between the leadership of the Caribbean still remains.
He posited that despite the smaller circles in the long term there is the understanding of the need for strong ties.
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