Wed | Dec 19, 2018

Cultural hangover stymieing regional growth, says Allen

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

The continued underperformance of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is yet to realise anywhere near its true potential as an economic bloc, is due in large measure to a cultural hangover, according to Gary Allen, chief executive officer of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

"It has underperformed because we have not believed in it as much as those persons who conceived it believed in it. We have not seen some of what they saw and, therefore, we have not realised as much as they thought we would have realised," the media manager told Thursday's press launch of the Caribbean MSME (Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) Conference 2017 to be held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St James, from July 19-21.


Afraid of collaboration


Some people are afraid of engaging in the regional collaboration out of fear that their individual national identities, or even sovereignty, could be lost in the process.

"There are some who are afraid of this because they think we would have one government, or we wouldn't be in charge of our own tax policy, or we wouldn't be in charge of certain aspects of our own [destiny]," Allen said, fears, he thinks, are unfounded.

"Every time there is an opportunity to take another look and take another step, it is an opportunity to rekindle that dream that we can together be stronger and better than we are apart," the RJRGLEANER Group CEO told his audience at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

He offered this advice to the operators of MSMEs:

"Take your products and your messages to the people. Let them know about it. If you have a message and you have a product and you don't advertise it, then it is like going to a party, meeting a beautiful lady and winking at her in the dark. She will never see it. So you have to get the message out on credible platforms - all of them - traditional and the new ones."