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Golding-led team to assess CARICOM's value to Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2016 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Bruce Golding

A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Review Commission to be led by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding has been assigned to assess the value of CARICOM to Jamaica.

Asserting that Jamaica's foreign policy must support its economic and development policy, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the House of Representatives yesterday that Golding's team would fully evaluate the benefits, opportunities and challenges of CARICOM.

Holness said that while the decision to examine CARICOM's value was influenced by uneasy exchanges with Trinidad and Tobago, it had become necessary to examine the full effects of the country's contribution to the region vis-‡-vis what it has achieved.

"We must assert ourselves in such a way that Jamaica gets the full benefits that membership in CARICOM promises," said Holness during his contribution to the 2016-2017 Budget Debate.

To this extent, Holness said that the Government is to appoint a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Review Commission, aimed at positioning the country to take full advantage of benefits under the organisation.

Holness said that the review body will evaluate the effects that Jamaica's participation in CARICOM has had on the country's economic growth and development, with particular reference to trade, investment, international competitiveness and employment creation.

He said, as well, that the body will analyse CARICOM's performance against the goals and objectives enunciated in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and identify the causes of any shortcomings.

Other objectives include:

- Reviewing the CARICOM arrangement in light of the wider Caribbean, inclusive of the Dominican Republic and Cuba, as well as the impact of globalisation;

-  Assessing the value of Jamaica's membership in CARICOM and its influence in critical international fora;

- Assessing the benefits that Jamaica has derived through functional cooperation within the CARICOM framework;

- Making recommendations for Jamaica's regional alignments with regard to, but not limited to, CARICOM.

Holness told Parliament that given the changes in regional dynamics, Jamaica's focus should not be confined to the 15-member CARICOM.

He said that attention must be given to Cuba, Haiti and the Dominica Republic, which are experiencing significant economic growth.