CARICOM question of the day
What's CARICOM's major weakness?
Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister
of St Vincent and the Grenadines:
"It's in its design. We don't have a supranational political decision-making entity. It has to be a decision, basically, by consensus carried out through a secretariat which does not have executive authority.
"Of course, if you ask for that in Jamaica, they will tell you 'you going for federation through the back door'. It's what the political market can bear. So, we just go along with the weakness."
Gaston Browne, prime minister
of Antigua and Barbuda:
"I don't necessary focus on any specific weakness of CARICOM.
"CARICOM is functional (and) we have made many strides in different areas and clearly we are strong as a result of the level of cooperation. Perhaps, there ought to be greater commitment among us to ensure that we capitalise on the additional opportunities and to ensure that the treaty (Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas) requirements are fully implemented and respected and also to ensure that we capitalise on all the promises and opportunities of CARICOM."
Freundel Stuart, prime
minister of Barbados:
"I don't know that it can be as reductionist as that. I think that there is a miscellany of challenges which CARICOM has faced over the years. CARICOM operates in a global environment, as was pointed out (Monday night). CARICOM is not a unitary state or a confederation or federation. It's an association of sovereign independent states, all of which have their respective vulnerabilities, their strengths, their weaknesses, and we try, in the context of that reality, to make decisions that take full advantage of our strengths but at the same time recognise our weaknesses. I don't know that there is any one problem of CARICOM that once we get that solved, everything else will be solved. There's no supranational authority in CARICOM that basically makes decisions for CARICOM.
"My own view is that there is too great a tendency to accentuate in CARICOM what has not yet happened and too little emphasis is placed on what has happened. This region is more integrated today than it ever was in its entire history. There are more regional organisations working efficiently and bringing people together in this region today than at any other time in its history. We just have to make sure that we do not allow our ambitions to outdistance our capacities."