Tue | Nov 20, 2018

'CARICOM Must Deliver' - We owe it to the people, Holness tells Heads

Published:Thursday | July 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaking at the opening ceremony of the 39th regular meeting of heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James yesterday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who assumed the chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on July 1, 2018, yesterday urged his colleague regional Heads of Government to make clear and definitive commitments to establishing the single market.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 39th Regular Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Holness said that the regional leaders should set measurable and verifiable programmes of action to fulfil the outstanding obligations within a five-year period.

At a time when CARICOM is observing its 45th anniversary, the new CARICOM chairman said that the survival of any institution depended on introspection and renewal. "We owe it to the people to deliver on commitments made," Holness said.

"The CSME (CARICOM Single Market and Economy) is undoubtedly the single most significant initiative that has occupied the attention of member states since its inception. Progress has not been commensurate with the region's aspirations."

Holness reaffirmed Jamaica's commitment to the principle objectives of CARICOM, including the expansion of trade and investment opportunities for its members.

He said that in the coming months, the regional body would place special emphasis on those initiatives that have the most potential for streamlining at the national and regional levels.

The new CARICOM chair noted that the regional body has been severely criticised by "our youth" for failing to secure deeper integration within the framework of the single market and economy.

"Young people are calling for Caribbean leaders and young people to be more accountable."

Holness called on CARICOM leaders to overcome what he described as the implementation deficit.