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Proposed CARICOM sanctions would cause controversy - Golding

Published:Friday | February 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who chaired the commission to review Jamaica's relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM frameworks, believes that some of the proposed sanctions for member states will stir up controversy.

The recommended penalties listed in the commission's 144-page report would be imposed for "wilful non-compliance or flagrant breaches".

"One of them, for example, is lack of access to policy-based loans from the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank). We believe that that would concentrate the minds of countries wonderfully," noted Golding.

He was speaking yesterday at the University of the West Indies' Vice Chancellor's Forum on the report, held at the institution's regional headquarters.

Other suggested measures include the loss of entitlement to benefits from CARICOM bodies, except in cases of disaster response, security, and public-health matters, and the expansion of provisions for member states to take retaliatory action against another State for "injurious" breaches of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

Ambassador Byron Blake, former assistant secretary general of CARICOM, argued that sanctions already existed but that they are rarely enforced due to the self-interest of CARICOM leaders.

Blake contended: "The fact is, nobody wants to do it because it is to be imposed by the same set of people who, next week, it might be you."

He concurred with the focus on penalties, adding that the Caribbean Court of Justice should play a role. "We now have a court that is responsible for rarely overseeing the treaty. That element should go with the court rather than necessarily another new body," added Blake.

The House is expected to debate the report before Prime Minister Andrew Holness assumes chairmanship of CARICOM later this year.