Drop the facade, Bruce Golding tells CARICOM
Former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding is warning that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states are not as committed to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) ideal as they should be, charging that the half-hearted approach characterises the present situation on the issue.
Though acknowledging that the CSME is a workable objective, Golding believes that member states are not as committed as they should be.
"Let's not pretend and stop tinkering around if it is that we say something is not working. I think it's workable, but it requires significant commitment on behalf of member countries, and until they are (committed), this is where it stops," he said.
Golding, who gave a keynote address at yesterday's luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of New Kingston, told The Gleaner that the time is right to take down the faÁade if member countries insist that the signature CARICOM agreement is not working.
Last week, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, stated that Golding was "unrealistically optimistic" about measures posited within the recently published Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica's Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks (Golding Report).
Gonsalves indicated that the report was "unworkable" in its current form.
In response, Golding said that Gonsalves' views are not those of the other members but noted that he believed that any position taken on the CSME as not achievable must be followed by tangible action.
"That's his view. We can only wait to see what the other CARICOM members have said. I just believe that if you take a position that the single market and economy is not achievable, then pull down the faÁade. Let's agree it is not workable, and let's revert to what we had before, which was a common market," Golding argued.
The CSME is an integrated development strategy envisioned at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which took place in July 1990 in Grand Anse, Grenada, and was designed to benefit the people of the region by providing more and better opportunities to produce and sell goods and services and to attract investment.
"I just think that we are at a stage where a decision has to be made, certainly so far as the single market and economy is concerned. Either we are going to move it forward, or we are going to roll it back," Golding said tersely.