Legislators weigh in on CARICOM Report
Following a lengthy debate on Tuesday, the House of Representatives adopted the report of the Bruce Golding-led Commission To Review Jamaica's Relations Within The CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks. Here are excerpts of the contributions by some members of parliament.
Anthony Hylton, opposition spokesman on national physical planning
"... The report gives short shrift to the fundamental role of the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice) in aiding in the implementation process, and, thereby, overemphasises the role for the inter-governmental task force in renegotiating parts of the RTC (Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas) without first having the Court's interpretation of the member states' balance of rights and obligations, as well as benefits and burdens under the existing RTC."
Marlene Malahoo Forte, attorney general
"The commission rightly noted that the provisions in the revised treaty for dispute settlement are fragmented, and in many instances, the processes are inconclusive. For example, some organs of CARICOM do not have the power to issue directives or apply sanctions to member states found to be in breach of the treaty."
Lisa Hanna, opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs
"It is my view that Jamaica should never leave CARICOM ... . The time to stay together is more urgent today than ever before. This is our family. We're bonded together by a common history, similar cultures. Most of our economies are largely dependent on tourism. We're all susceptible to the ravages of climate change."
Audley Shaw, minister of industry and commerce
"...The overarching objective of the CSME (CARICOM Single Market and Economy) is to increase our collective wealth and well-being through sustained economic growth derived from continuous increase in production and productivity. This goal has somewhat eluded us due to half-heartedness and sometimes a lack of commitment and an unevenness in the extent to which Member States embrace the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to increase our common wealth."
Peter Bunting, Opposition Spokesman on Industry, Investment and Competitiveness:
"The value of a common market and economy is certainly much greater for the small players shipping goods to a relatively large market like Jamaica. But, in services and especially when we talk about the free movement of persons, a lot of that could reverse and the advantages shift to the larger countries. So these things can balance out, but unfortunately we seem to want to cherry pick the parts that suit us... ."
Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism:
"So, it is fair to say ... that the common thread in economic terms that runs through the Caribbean is tourism and, therefore, it forms the basis on which we can congeal around a series of policies and action to homogenise and to harmonise and to create areas of collaboration. We can work together to build a common space that can be attractive to the world and bring more than the 30 million visitors who came last year and spent 29 billion (United States) dollars."
Dr Chris Tufton, minister of health:
"The challenge of health begs collaboration in the region. In a sense, we are confronted by very similar challenges and the solution becomes that much more difficult if we attempt to confront these challenges as individual member states as opposed to a collaborative effort by the group."
Dr Morais Guy, opposition spokesman on housing:
"Many member states have and are practising 'eat-a-food diplomacy' and, unfortunately, this has resulted in the approach CARICOM has taken in recent times in relation to its fragmented foreign engagement. What all of this demonstrates...is that as a united force, whilst we might not be invincible, we can wield some amount of power. Our respective governments will have to come to the table to be more prepared to decide that expediency will not pay in the long run."