St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community believes that the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) remains the best vehicle for providing sustainable economic development for the people of the region.
Speaking at the 38th Caricom Heads of Government meeting which wrapped in Grenada on Thursday, the regional body’s Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque, said that the leaders would have discussed ways to improve the CSME and accelerate its implementation, as well as the measures still outstanding.
“Having created the single market, the task now is to ensure that the private sector utilize fully its provisions. We must move to strengthen the enabling environment to support the efforts. Trade facilitation and the ease of doing business at a regional level at least as equally important as fiscal incentives. We must come to a conclusion on issues such as government procurement, harmonization of customs rules and regulations and transparent and harmonized sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures. An Inter-American Bank study indicated that if we were to address such issues including transportation, intra-regional trade could be doubled. All of these measures would have a knock on effect on competitiveness and external trade as well as our ability to attract investment. We are very much aware that transportation is a significant cost factor in trading and the movement of our people including intra-regional tourism.”
As this is being done, he said that the thrust in the areas of technology, education and security will serve as critical enabling factors to drive the process of economic growth and development and boost competitiveness. Ambassador LaRocque assured that action was being taken in all of those areas.
“I am pleased to advise that the agreement for the establishment of the Caribbean Community Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency which will be headquartered in Barbados will be open for signature at this meeting. Information and communication technology must be a transformative role in building the future of our region. The creation of a single ITC space is at the heart of this transformation. The commission on Human Resource Development will present the HRD 2030 strategy to address the development of skills for the 21st century economy and society. The important factor in education and training is providing employable skills, opening the mind to identify opportunities and encouraging the process of life-long learning. The plan is to have by 2030 a globally competitive, innovative and seamlessly integrated education system.”