…but regional entity forced to slash budget
Despite the global financial crisis that has had a severe impact on the economies of the region Guyana has met its annual contribution to the functioning of the Caribbean Community.
This was confirmed by Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon who was speaking to media operatives at the time. He said that not all of the CARICOM countries have been able to comply.
Head of State, Bharrat Jagdeo, is currently leading the Guyana delegation to the Intersessional CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Grenada.
That meeting, Dr Luncheon said comes at a critical time as economies are now seeking to make a recovery whilst feeling the consequences of the crisis.
High on the agenda of this meeting would be community governance and the direction of the community intensely dealing with integration
Food security is another matter that will be addressed given the escalating prices and its impact on the region.
They will also being reviewing budget and all indications are that they will be a reduced budget for 2011.
Dr Luncheon did saw that with a budget revised downwards it will mean a reduction in jobs namely persons employed by CARICOM.
Meanwhile Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, yesterday during the opening of the meeting emphasised the need for the grouping to address decisively the perception that CARICOM was not working out for its people.
The outgoing Chairman of CARICOM said the major issue that needed to be addressed in CARICOM was the implementation deficit which he said was a consequence of the governance challenge faced by the Community.
“We cannot escape addressing the issue of governance for it is a major cause of our implementation deficit – the Caribbean people’s benefit deficit,” he stated.
Prime Minister Golding pointed to the need for the community to scale up the governance mechanism to better meet the mandate of Grand Anse – the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
According to Prime Minister Golding, the peoples of the Caribbean continued to lament the lack of benefits accruing from the CSME and the community.
“A re-appraisal of the approach to the integration process was critical in the face of the unacceptable progress in implementation of the decisions.”
This is according to Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“I am of the view that this scenario begs for a fundamental reappraisal of our approach, our management and our commitment toward the integration process.
I submit that failure to engage in such an exercise will be detrimental and unresponsive to our people’s wishes and the gravity of the current environmental dictates,” Prime Minister Thomas said.
The Meeting is being held 22 years after an historic Declaration was signed in Grand Anse, Grenada , in 1989.
The Grand Anse Declaration and Work Programme for the Advancement of the Integration Movement put forward the advancement of the regional integration process through the creation of a Single Market and Economy, as the Community’s attempt to position itself to respond to the anticipated challenges and to take advantage of the trends in the global arena.
“Against the backdrop of new compelling economic, environmental and geopolitical developments; the ebullient expectations and the increasing skepticism of our restless Caribbean people, I am of the view that this meeting at Grand Anse will be pivotal and historic,” he said, Much hinged on the outcomes of the deliberations at the Intersessional, he added.
The Chairman referred to the vulnerabilities of the CARICOM Member States, in particular their susceptibility to natural disasters, and openness and intricate link to the economies of main trading partners and their economic fortunes.
He told the meeting that Member States now found themselves grappling with the impact and consequences of “crises we did not create.”
“And, as if that is not enough, we are now confronting rising fuel and food prices once again”.
In the face of all this, he said, the Caribbean populace was “restless and concerned” with many holding the view that the region appeared to be languishing in a state of “implementation impotence in our slow march towards the CSME.”
The Intersessional Meeting, he pointed out, should pay attention to “our people’s issue” that were ventilated in the media and elsewhere.
He added that the region must remain united in its conviction and commitment that the Regional integration movement remained a “primary construct” and vehicle in the process of transformation and modernisation.
The two-day Intersessional Meeting concludes today.
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