NORTH EAST St Catherine Member of Parliament Gregory Mair has stopped short of suggesting that Jamaica cease from being a member of CARICOM.
"Probably we should start putting Jamaica first... put Jamaica first," said Mair, while pointing to statistics furnished by Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton, which shows Jamaica with a massive trade deficit when compared to Trinidad and Tobago.
The data shows that in 2010, Jamaica's trade deficit with Trinidad and Tobago stood at US$702 million. The trade deficit widened from US$616 million in 2009.
Of CARICOM countries, Jamaica had a trade surplus in 2010 with Antigua and Barbuda (US$4.9 million), Grenada (US$1.8 million), Monsterrat (US$500,000), St Kitts (US$3.2 million) and St Vincent (US$2.4 million).
"Taking into consideration that policy is set to ensure that we do what is in the best interest of our people, taking into consideration that of the approximately five million members of CARICOM we, Jamaica, are three million. What has this arrangement with CARICOM, what has been the advantage, the benefit for the people of Jamaica?" Mair asked.
"What is the benefit for our people for this arrangement," added Mair, who is also the spokesman on industry, commerce and energy.
In responding to the suggestion, Hylton said Jamaica has a trade deficit with almost every country in the world and firms must put themselves in competitive position so that they can take advantage of markets.
He also said that it is critical that Jamaica's energy cost be lowered in order to enhance competitiveness.
Jamaica has a trade deficit with almost every country in the world and firms must put themselves in competitive position so that they can take advantage of markets.