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We're not leaving CARICOM, says Portia

Published:Friday | June 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM

PRIME MINISTER Portia Simpson Miller says her administration has no intention of severing ties with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Addressing journalists during a post-Budget Debate press conference at Jamaica House yesterday, Simpson Miller said her Government had no plans to leave the regional bloc.

Former Minister of Industry and Commerce Karl Samuda recently lamented that Jamaica was not benefiting from its membership in CARICOM and suggested that the country leave the bloc of Caribbean member states.

In his contribution to the Budget Debate, Samuda charged that Jamaica should advise its CARICOM partner, Trinidad and Tobago, that the island was not its breadbasket.

However, Simpson Miller argued that to walk away from CARICOM would be tantamount to disrespecting the vision of Norman Washington Manley and the late Trinidad and Tobago prime minister, Eric Williams, who were instrumental in the formation of the regional group.

"I am not looking at leaving CARICOM. What I am looking at is how Jamaica can assist to reposition CARICOM and to strengthen the regional body because that is critical and important for us to keep the region strong."

Simpson Miller said her Government would be pushing for the strengthening of the regional bloc.