Prime Minister Mia Mottley wants the people of the Caribbean to fully embrace regional integration.
Her comments came as she delivered opening remarks at a town hall meeting, under the theme, ‘The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) – What is in It for Me?’ at the Walcott-Warner Theatre, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
“I want to suggest to you that what is in it for you is everything, because your ability to be able to fight off the worst impacts of [the] climate crisis depends on us coming together as one and raising our voice, and even then there is no guarantee,” said Mottley, who has lead responsibility for the CSME in CARICOM’s quasi Cabinet.
“Your ability to have a larger market will be critical if you’re going to drive down your prices to enhance your competitiveness to allow for greater profitability. The ability for us to be able to have the levels of functional cooperation that have been quietly working for us without any big set of noise as we have seen with CXC, as we have seen in other areas of public health and in the testing of our labs. These things are working for us, but for some reason we don’t believe that if we are stronger together there, that we can be stronger together in the context of the Single Market and Single Economy.”
Mottley noted that the prospect of having eight general elections within the Caribbean over the course of the next 15 months was cause for concern, as it would affect the pace and progress of the implementation of the Single Market and Single Economy.
“Now, the sustainability of the integration movement ought not to depend on whether a domestic election is being held or not. And it is one of those issues that we will have to come to grips with in terms of reforming our integration movement,” she added.
The Prime Minister also expressed concern that CARICOM leaders do not meet enough.
She contended that the Heads of Government of the European Union had deliberations “almost every two or three weeks”, but yet, CARICOM Heads of Government, although they were faced with pressing issues, only meet twice yearly.
Mottley said this had to change if the CARICOM movement was to be brought fully into the third decade of the 21st century.