Prime Minister Gaston Browne has thrown CARICOM leaders; both past and present, under the bus, saying that they only stand on the integration and unity platforms when it relates to their “espoused” values.
He also accused them of applying a national treatment to regional issues like LIAT and BAICO.
“Many CARICOM heads, past and present, stand firmly on the platform of integration when it comes to their espoused values,” he said, “But when you look at the commitment in practice, whenever we are faced with any significant challenges, almost invariably they resort to national treatment, which is not in keeping with the spirit of the Treaty of Chaguaramas”,
Browne said there could be serious challenges in the future if leaders and countries continue to apply national treatment when faced with regional challenges
“A case in point is the CLICO/BAICO situation…They have invested in various countries within the Caribbean, in Trinidad and Tobago, for example, to build out their methanol plants and so on, contributing to the economic growth and development. When the company failed, Trinidad, first, Barbados first and OECS last. Up to this day, you still have a significant amount of OECS nationals who are languishing with hundreds of millions of dollars unpaid. They made their citizens a priority while citizens in other CARICOM countries have not been restored in full. There is something vulgar about that kind of behavior,” Browne said
He said while he understands that even though countries are part of an integration movement, they may seek to prioritize however they should never seek to violate the treaty provisions.
“I do understand that all politics is local, but I believe that there could be greater collaboration and cooperation among countries and heads within the region to resolve these issues amicably, rather than always resorting to a national solution which may not necessarily be the most effective, the most efficient. It may help initially in the short run, but in the long run, it’s never the most efficient solution,” Browne said
CARICOM which stands for Caribbean Community was officially launched in 1973, by the smaller, largely English-speaking countries of the Eastern Caribbean launched.
The integration plan intended to coordinate and enhance the collective economic and social development of 15 countries.
The grouping prides itself in coordinating “economic policies and development planning; devising and instituting special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction; operating as a regional single market for many of its members Caricom Single Market; and handling regional trade disputes”.
A agree with PM Browne too much selfishness going on
This is one time I will agree with the PM. He needs to understand that these Caribbean’s islands never care for Antigua. They always see us as little pigs sucking on them, and yet their people flocking our shores. We don’t have anything to offers them but our passports. We have no natural resources like them, so they don’t care.
I agree with PM Browne. Caricom shows that it is really all of self and none of thee. From Haiti, to LIAT, to the whole question of free movement, Caricom is really a joke – a talk shop! In all its years of operation, very little progress has been made in this so call integration movement.