Regional integration hindered by bureaucracy, not CARICOM’s structure

Regional integration hindered by bureaucracy, not CARICOM’s structure

Guyana President, David Granger, wants an end to the bureaucracy and red tapes that are hindering the progress of true, holistic integration of Caribbean States. Speaking to members of the Guyanese media corps at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Jamaica, the Head of State explained that Guyana, with an abundance of natural resources, is more than half the size of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) states and the potential of these resources is being ignored.

“Guyana can provide much to the region as a whole in terms of food security, in terms of agriculture, in terms of the environment, in terms of tourism and in terms of marketing. I believe that the Caribbean has underexploited its resources.  The CSME needs to adopt a fresh approach to production, particularly agricultural production, distribution and marketing and if we take that approach some of the problems we complain about will be solved,” the President said.

This year, the Region is celebrating the 45th anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.  However, President Granger, who holds responsibility for agriculture, agricultural diversification and food security in CARICOM’s Quasi-Cabinet, said that he is disturbed at the fact that the Caribbean is still not producing more of the food that it consumes on a daily basis, but this, he said, is not as a result of any flaw in CARICOM’s structure.

“I am very hopeful for this conference, I think there have been some predictions of gloom but I believe that if we make the right decisions, the entire region can move ahead much more quickly. There is nothing wrong with the institutions that we have established, what we need to do is to ensure that there is better implementation of the decisions.  There is no fault in the rules.  There is a fault in the implementation,” he said.

Speaking of Guyana’s bilateral ties with sister-CARICOM States, the President said that he looks forward to building on the existing relationship between Guyana and Barbados under the leadership of the region’s newest leader, Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Similarly, ties with Trinidad and Tobago will also be strengthened, particularly as it relates to the development of the oil and gas sector. “This is the vision that I have for the Caribbean Community that all parts of the Caribbean must see this new resource [Guyana’s oil] as a part of the Community and they should be willing to share their expertise with us and be willing to invest in it.  I would like to affirm that the doors of investment, the doors of infrastructure, the doors of information technology and of innovation will be open to our colleagues in the Caribbean,” he said.

The 39th Meeting of the Heads of Government took place last week in Montego Bay, under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Andrew Holness, who takes over from Haiti’s President, His Excellency Jovenel Moïse.