Business View Caribbean, July/August 2018

20 21 OPENING LINES DEEPER COMMITMENT, GREATER STRENGTH, URGENT RENEWED CARICOM UNITY NEEDED, SAYS ANTIGUA-BARBUDA PM P rime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has called for urgent, re- newed unity among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.He was addressing the opening of the 39th meeting of the conference of heads of government of CARICOM, recently, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He said that no single CARICOM country had the capacity to face the present or future challenges alone, and noted that there was an unavoidable interdependence of CARICOM countries, as geo- graphical neighbors that compelled co-operation, collaboration, and integration to meet develop- ment needs. Browne also suggested that, after 53 years, since CARIFTAwas established, the region should have been further along the road to economic integra- tion than it was now. Using the example of the European Union, he said others started the process before CARICOM and were much more advanced. He noted that the people of the region were no longer as hopeful as they once were regarding re- gional integration and suggested that the leaders had a chance at the summit to restore trust and confidence that they could make–and implement –joint decisions. “As we convene as leaders of our Caribbean countries,we should not deceive ourselves that the people of our region have great hope for the outcome of our ritual meeting.After 53 years of crawling through the process of integration, disappointment has replaced hope and skepticism has overwhelmed belief,”he said. According to Browne the solution to the difficult economic circumstances resulting from challeng- es such as natural disasters and ineligibility for concessional financing,was the deepening and widening of the regional integration process.He said the realization of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was part of solution to the region’s challenging economic circumstances. “Each of our countries has to commit to, and