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Letter of the Day: Golding missed lesson on CARICOM integration

Published:Tuesday | June 9, 2015 | 6:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am writing in response to parts one and two of Bruce Golding's Sunday Gleaner columns ('The problem with CARICOM') on June 7, 2015 and Sunday, May 24, 2015.

While I found Mr Golding's reasoning to be better in his second column than his first, his analysis still, disappointingly, falls short of the kind of insight and logic that he has been known for and which he flirted with in these columns.

In both columns, Mr Golding touches on a problem the Jamaica Labour Party and, indeed, many Jamaicans have in the Independence era - that of seeing the phantoms of federation in the shadows of integration. This leads Mr Golding to discuss the desires and intentions of Messrs Ralph Gonsalves and Patrick Manning as doing nothing to allay the fears of those who see integration as a path to political federation.

Golding says that he sees a clear demarcation, but then in his second column he focuses on the proposals for closer political integration in the Eurozone (as opposed to the European Union (EU) as a whole) as being essential requirements for an effective single economic space.

However, he seems to miss the fact that these proposals have only been thrown up because of the behaviour of delinquent countries in the Eurozone. Had these countries not failed to abide by the Stability and Growth Pact rules (as he noted they did), there would have been no financial crisis and no calls for greater control by the fiscally responsible countries for oversight of the finances of the fiscally irresponsible countries.

Rather than take from that the lesson that a single market and economy can work if the countries involved are responsible (as Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland and Austria have been), he takes the lesson that a single market and economy require political union. This is clearly wrong since Sweden, for instance, participates quite successfully in the EU's internal market without participating in the euro, and EU fiscal oversight is not being considered for Swedish finances.

His earlier example of Singapore is also instructive for the lesson he missed - if First-World Singapore, a country we often cite as an example to aspire to, is planning to participate in ASEAN's planned common market with Third-World Indonesia, why is it that the Singaporeans, for all their prosperity and wisdom, do not seem to think that it is impossible for a common market/single market to be forged without full political union?

RICHARD FRANCIS

r.francis52@hotmail.com