THE EDITOR, Sir:
I have noted the contents of your editorials of Sunday, July 8 and Tuesday, July 10. I will remain respectful as I continue to engage in vigorous but courteous debate in the interest of Jamaica.
A main item of your Sunday editorial was "Mair privy to summit". This is not true; I was not privy nor was I part of any summit.
You concluded in Tuesday's editorial that Dr Christopher Tufton's comments on CARICOM were an undeclared attempt to extricate me from your assertion that I was attacking CARICOM. Wrong again.
Dr Tufton is the opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs, foreign trade and investment, of which CARICOM is part of his portfolio responsibilities. However, as industry, commerce and energy spokesman, I am determined to promote the interests of Jamaica's manufacturers and the thousands of Jamaicans employed by them, and the thousands more who could be employed by them had the playing field been level.
Dr Tufton's position is in line with mine and the Opposition on a whole.
Mr Editor, CARICOM does matter, but many Jamaicans rightfully feel that the Community has not benefited them, and many Jamaican businesses are of the opinion that the trading bloc is tilted towards certain countries, in particular Trinidad & Tobago, whose manufacturers have a tremendous advantage by having access to cheap, subsidised electricity.
Additionally, if CARICOM is to survive, the man on the street must be able to recognise benefits accruing from the alliance. Further, the Treaty of Chaguaramas is useless unless all countries within the region recognise that while Jamaica is an open market for their goods and services, this market will close unless they, too, provide easy access to allow Jamaican producers to service their consumers.
Finally, you have once again sought to label me as anti-CARICOM. I am merely pro-Jamaica. I will continue to fight for what I believe is in the best interest of our Jamaican manufacturers, and in the end, if the playing field is levelled, Jamaica and CARICOM will undoubtedly flourish together.
Opposition Spokesman on
Industry, Commerce and Energy