For­mer Bar­ba­dian PM wants Ja­maica to res­cue CARICOM

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Ro­mario Scott Gleaner Writer ro­mario.scott@glean­erjm.com

AFORMER Bar­ba­dian prime min­is­ter is strongly sug­gest­ing that Ja­maica and other Caribbean coun­tries latch on to the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice (CCJ) to give the Caribbean Com­mu­nity (CARICOM) a boost of con­fi­dence.

Speak­ing last Wed­nes­day in the pres­ence of for­mer Jamaican Prime Min­is­ter Bruce Gold­ing at a sym­po­sium hosted by the Depart­ment of Eco­nom­ics at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Mona, Owen Arthur said that the treat­ment of the re­gional court to date has been tan­ta­mount to a vote of a no con­fi­dence in the lan­guish­ing in­te­gra­tion move­ment.

“CARICOM has come to ap­pear as such a dis­mal fail­ure that only a strong con­fi­dence­boost­ing mea­sure will suf­fice to res­cue it,” said the ar­dent ad­vo­cate for re­gional in­te­gra­tion.

He ar­gued that Bar­ba­dos, which has ac­cepted the full ju­ris­dic­tion of the court, is a bet­ter place for it even af­ter hav­ing felt its weight in the much-pub­li­cised Shanique Myrie case.

“Ja­maica and all oth­ers in the Caribbean have noth­ing to fear from our re­gional court,” he said as he sought to make the case for Ja­maica to re­main a mem­ber of CARICOM.

Arthur, in fur­ther mak­ing the case for Ja­maica’s con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship in CARICOM, said that the re­gion needed strong, fo­cused and in­no­va­tive Jamaican lead­er­ship to change the ex­ist­ing tra­jec­tory of the re­gion’s ex­ist­ing trade re­la­tions.

He, how­ever, ad­mit­ted that there was rea­son for Ja­maica to be con­cerned about the sta­tus quo as “there can be no doubt that the ap­pli­ca­tion of the ar­range­ments for re­gional in­te­gra­tion in the Caribbean has not al­ways con­formed to best prac­tice, and may ex­plain a part of Ja­maica’s ex­pe­ri­ence in the CARICOM mar­ket”.

SPE­CIFIC PRO­VI­SIONS

Of the view that the com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion of Ja­maica and its en­ter­prises would ap­pear to have been af­fected by the treat­ment of sub­si­dies, mo­nop­o­lies and state-owned en­ter­prises in other parts of the CARICOM mar­ket, Arthur con­tends that spe­cific pro­vi­sions in the Re­vised Treaty of Ch­aguara­mas now af­ford Ja­maica and its en­ter­prises rem­edy and re­lief from any un­fair prac­tices by other CARICOM states.

“To se­cure such re­lief, the full ex­tent of such un­fair prac­tices need to be fully doc­u­mented and pre­sented to the ap­pro­pri­ate agen­cies of CARICOM, in­clud­ing the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice,” he said.

In re­sponse to con­cerns raised by the Pri­vate Sec­tor Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Ja­maica, the Ja­maica Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and other en­ti­ties with trade in­ter­ests, he fur­ther ar­gued that there is no com­pelling case in sup­port of any de­ci­sion by Ja­maica to end its par­tic­i­pa­tion in CARICOM on the grounds that the coun­try and its eco­nomic agen­cies are the vic­tims of and sub­ject to wide­spread dis­crim­i­na­tory or un­fair prac­tices on the part of other coun­tries in the re­gion, for which it has nei­ther rem­edy nor re­lief.

“Rather, there is a very strong and com­pelling case for Ja­maica to help to strengthen the Caribbean Sin­gle Mar­ket and Econ­omy in its ca­pac­ity as the best pref­er­en­tial mar­ket for the re­spec­tive CARICOM states, and to give strong and de­ci­sive lead­er­ship to the spe­cific role that has been as­signed to Ja­maica in re­spect of CARICOM’s trade diplo­macy,” the for­mer prime min­is­ter said.

Ja­maica’s plans, as out­lined by Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness, to seek part­ner­ship with coun­tries in the north, such as the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and Cuba, came up for dis­cus­sion, with Arthur warn­ing Kingston not to over­reach in this re­gard.

RE­LA­TION­SHIP BUILD­ING

He urged the Govern­ment to seek to strengthen ex­ist­ing CARICOM re­la­tions with the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and Cuba for the broader ben­e­fit of the en­tire re­gion in­stead of pur­su­ing the am­bi­tion which, ac­cord­ing to him, would only re­sult in ben­e­fit for Ja­maica, leav­ing the rest of the Caribbean be­hind.

Arthur, who has so far served the long­est as prime min­is­ter of Bar­ba­dos, de­clared that dis­as­ter looms for the Caribbean if the re­gion does not seek to strike far-reach­ing agree­ments with the emerg­ing mega eco­nomic blocs of the world.

He sug­gested the best and most ap­pro­pri­ate way was through CARICOM.

ARTHUR

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