The Barbadian Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, outlined his country’s position when he addressed last Thursday’s Opening Ceremony of the 32nd Meeting of CARICOM, here in Basseterre, St. Kitts.
The Prime Minister said he was satisfied that despite insurmountable odds, we can be satisfied that we have also made significant headway on the most complex, painstaking and perhaps the most misunderstood part of the integration project, the Single Market and Economy (SME).
Though SME is still evolving said Mr. Stuart, the Caribbean cannot pretend that its efforts at macroeconomic convergence have reached the point that would allow the region to create and, more importantly, to sustain a Single Economy, even though recent events, have revealed the high degree of financial interdependence that already exists in the Caribbean.
“The current turmoil in the Eurozone and elsewhere has injected a dose of sober realism into our discussions. Ultimately we have come to accept that the existing timetable is not achievable. For Heads of Government to set yet another tenuous deadline in so volatile an environment would be highly irresponsible and an insult to the intelligence of our people,” added the Barbadian leader.
He praised the OECS for their efforts to create its own Economic Union, which he predicted would help significantly to the advancement of the wider CSME promoted by CARICOM.