Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke has described as “less than satisfactory” the work done by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) towards the development of the region.
Burke was speaking on a popular radio programme Tuesday as CARICOM leaders assembled in Grenada for the 38th annual Heads of Government meeting at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort.
He said that most of the Caribbean leaders and intellectuals understand the need for development and the imperative but the initiative is not be taken by them to forge ahead.
“We understand the problems and challenges of small states and how we might be able to leverage our possibilities and take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves should we decide to come together and integrate our economies in different ways”, he said.
“The Treaty of Chaguaramas, I think it was born out of that relation. The fact that we have spoken and addressed in the agreement issues such as the free movement of labour, issues such as the right to establishment of the businesses in different countries of course, are indications of this,” he added.
Burke spoke of the challenge of tapping into the attributes of each country as a means of promoting development.
“Part of the challenge, I believe is that in terms of resource mobilisation, in terms of integrating industries and taking advantage of the special attributes of individual countries, we have failed there.
Perhaps, the biggest challenge today is that we do not sense in the leaders a sense of urgency about attacking this problem.
“I suppose every leader has his or own idiosyncrasy, their own preoccupations, their own priorities as it concerns the development of their own individual nations but it’s not translating into a collective good. I think we’ve seen that things have moved much slower than we would hope, much slower than we would’ve expected.
“…I think in contrast, we’ve seen a lot more dynamism if I may call it that, among the OECS countries. We are heartened by that and I hope that this particular meeting will mark a turn around that we can see the beginning of a new path, a new light.
Burke recognized that CARICOM has a development plan, giving an insight as to where the region can go but it takes more than that to push the integration process forward.
“What is missing really perhaps is the collective will to harness the true potential of the region. It’s not just an implementation deficit in terms of management and so on”, he said.
“I think one does not feel the sense of will and determination to make it happen and I think this is what we would really like to see and I hope that this marks the watershed in the CARICOM arrangement and that we see better from here going forward…”, he added.
CARICOM member states showed their open division on issues at the recent session of the Organisation of American States (OAS) when they failed to vote as a united bloc on a resolution on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela