Opposition Spokesperson on Industry, Commerce and Energy Mr. Gregory Mair today in note of the opening address by Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller at the 33rd CARICOM Heads of Government summit in Castries, St Lucia expressed hope that the Prime Minister will articulate with fortitude Jamaica’s concerns on the current trade practices of several Caribbean nations.
Mr. Mair said that while he acknowledges that CARICOM does matter, as the Prime Minister asserted in her address, many Jamaicans do not feel that the Community has benefited them and many Jamaican businesses are of the opinion that the trading bloc is tilted toward certain countries due to unfair subsidies given to their producers and a new way has to be found to deal with the issue.
Mr. Mair also pointed out that CARICOM had been for too long a “talk shop” and stated that what was needed was action from the Jamaican Government. He reiterated that Manufacturers in Trinidad and Tobago have a tremendous advantage by having access to cheap subsidized electricity.
The opposition Spokesman went on to state that if CARICOM is to survive the man on the street must be able to recognize benefits accruing from the alliance Further, the Treaty of Chaguaramas is useless unless all countries within the region recognize that while Jamaica is an open market for their goods and services this market will close unless they too provide easy access to allow Jamaican producers to service their consumers.
Mr. Mair maintained that the current cynicism being expressed by many Jamaicans towards CARICOM can only be allayed if some tangible result accrues from the summit in Castries: “for if like past summits it is only a talk shop, the cynicism of many Jamaicans will only grow into outright rejection”.
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