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Regional private sector urged to take advantage of Cuba's 'normalisation'

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 11:30 AM
In this April 4 photo, salesman Victor Rodriguez helps a customer at his stall in the Almacenes San Jose in Havana, Cuba.

A university lecturer is urging private sectors across the region to get out of what she calls their inertia so they can benefit from the emergence of Cuba into the full global economic environment.

Cuba and the United States have been pursuing a normalisation process after decades of being enemies.

Analysts say the Cuba/US normalisation process will increase competition among other Caribbean countries and those outside the region in areas such as tourism.

University of the West Indies lecturer Dr Jacqueline LaGuardia told participants at a public lecture last night that while challenges can be expected, there are opportunities which can be exploited.

But she says it is critical that the private sectors of the region begin an aggressive process to benefit from the normalisation process.

Dr LaGuardia argued at the Mona Campus last night that the inertia of Caribbean private sector groups has resulted in those economic players not developing economic and trade relations.

She admitted that it will be difficult to do business given the difference in governance systems between Cuba and most of the other countries in the Caribbean.

However, Dr LaGuardia said it is not impossible and regional countries should improve their efforts to understand the normalisation process and Cuba's governance system.

Regarding tourism and the regional fears, the UWI lecturer says it is important that there be tourism diversification as well as cooperation.

She has also recommended a reevaluation of existing mechanisms between CARICOM and Cuba.