Jamaica Gleaner / Regional private-sector leaders from across the Caribbean were urged by chairman of Jamaica based conglomerate Musson Group of Companies, P.B. Scott, to discard “nationalistic emotional positions” and move now in a “rational and process orientated way” at uniting forces into one single block in order to effectively address a wide range of serious trade and economic issues across CARICOM.
Scott was speaking at a Regional Private Sector Engagement Meeting, attended by business association leaders, private-sector leaders and several government and diplomatic officials from across the region arranged by the Caribbean Export Development Agency at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last Friday.
“There are some fundamental issues to all private-sector players in all of CARICOM and these are issues that our governments signed with the Chaguaramas Treaty and we all agreed to all implement, and some of these issues are more beneficial to some countries than other countries,” Scott pointed out.
“But to all members of the private sector in this region, they are very important, and as a private sector we have (in many respects) disregarded them. When we look at things like free movement of labour, that is an incredibly important process in order to develop a regional trade bloc.”
He continued, “There are a lot of common issues that exist and we are not holding CARICOM, we are not holding our governments accountable.”
FOCUS POINT OF ENTRY The focus of the meeting is to discuss efforts to solidify for the development of a regional business grouping to be called the Caribbean Business Council, which will, among other things, provide a focused point of entry at the interface between the regional public and private sectors. It will also provide direct private-sector inputs into the discussions and deliberations of all regional public-sector decision-makers at all levels and provide a conduit to allow regional private-sector groups, both national and sectoral, to be heard.
Meanwhile, executive director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke Hamilton, noted that “over the years, one thing remains clear, that is, despite designing and implementing programmes to strengthen firms, build their capacity or to facilitate access to markets, the region is still not fully capitalising on the private sector’s strengths and insights as long as they are not seated at the table when policies and trade-related matters are being discussed”.