THE EDITOR, Sir:
Reference is made to the matter of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade Minister Arnold J. Nicholson criticising the opposition Jamaica Labour Party and business leaders for "quarrelling with" regional partner Trinidad & Tobago for its seemingly unfair trade practices that have been putting Jamaican businesses at a serious disadvantage.
Trinidad is responsible for the preponderant part of our almost US$1-billion trade deficit with CARICOM, and failure to deal with this reality will continue to see Jamaica being so disadvantaged.
Certainly, we, as a country, have things to do domestically to improve our levels of production and productivity so that we can better compete and improve our trade imbalances with Trinidad and other trading partners. However, such a reality does not negate our attending to the vexing concerns regarding Trinidad.
As a member of the Jamaican Cabinet, one would assume that the responsible thing to have been done was for Minister Nicholson to have had consultations with the business interests so complaining and then seek to have dialogue with his Trinidadian counterpart in an effort to seek greater protection of the interests of his very own people.
It is Trinidad's responsibility to defend and protect Trinidad's interests. The people of Jamaica elect their government to represent the interests of the Jamaican people and not the interests of people in other countries, whether regionally or internationally.
Minister Nicholson's staunch defence of Trinidad and berating of his affected Jamaicans, though unfortunate, is understandable, as he is a long-standing member of the People's National Party, whose historical posture has been more pro-CARICOM than pro-Jamaica.
While I do not think Jamaica should leave CARICOM entirely, we may want to consider leaving the CARICOM Single Market and Economy if it can't be more beneficial.
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER