This was the charge President of Guyana, His Excellency David Granger, issued to Heads of Government and delegates at the opening of the Twenty-Eighth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Georgetown Guyana on Thursday morning.
“Economic cooperation is a fundamental pillar of our Community. The Caribbean, if it is to escape the hazard of economic emasculation in today’s global environment, must expedite the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). We face threats that include dampened demand for our goods and services and distortions in our financial sectors caused by de-risking by international banks.
The CSME, a regional flagship programme, is one of the main agenda items of the two-day Intersessional Meeting. The CSME is considered the best vehicle to promote economic development and integration, and last July, CARICOM Heads of Government had requested a review of the programme. That review will be considered by the Heads during the Intersessional.
Significant progress had been made in the CARICOM Single Market, especially its legal and administrative framework, but more needed to be done with respect to the Single Economy.
“The CSME has the potential to enhance private sector growth and competitiveness by providing access to a larger pool of resources, facilitating the movement of human capital, catalysing the establishment of regional businesses and encouraging the free movement of goods. The CSME must not be allowed to become a victim of equivocation and procrastination,” President Granger warned.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in his address to the opening ceremony, also focused on the CSME, pointing out that it was timely for the Meeting to consider a comprehensive review of the programme.
“Ideally, a review of the CSME must not only be about what has been done, or not done, and what might have been the constraining factors; it should also be about the impact and how it has measured up to intent and expectations, and therefore how the shortcomings might be addressed,” the Secretary-General said.