Ince: CSME makes senseJepter Ince (File Picture)
Wed, July 18, 2012 - 12:02 AM
REGIONAL LEADERS are being cautioned not to let their differences stop them from achieving the much talked about CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as they strive to improve their individual financial situations.
Senator Jepter Ince, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, made the plea while delivering opening remarks during the Second Meeting of the Contributors and Development Partners of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) last Friday at the Accra Beach Hotel.
Noting that issues relating to the CSME were discussed among regional heads during the recently concluded 33rd CARICOM summit in St Lucia, Senator Ince said that the regional economies remained vulnerable to rising energy and commodities prices as well as high interest rates.
“It is by no means any easy task for governments to balance budgets and seek out new areas of growth and development in an attempt to diversify their economies,” he said.
“[But] as a region, we cannot allow widening disparities in relation to both economic and social indicators to continue. Failure to bring the vision of a single community into reality may create subregions within CARICOM,” said Ince.
Over the years countries have expressed reservation and scepticism about the CSME.
But the former National Insurance Scheme (NIS) chairman urged leaders to “find ways to re-instil confidence in our systems of law and justice at the level of CARICOM”.
“We must seek to minimize disruptions in our financial industry while at the same time firmly embrace the geopolitical and historical unity that holds us together. In order for there to be cohesion, there must be acceptance,” he said.
Senator Ince lauded the CDF for its efforts to provide financial support for the region. As at December 2011, the CDF had approved and “committed” more than US$17.8 million to the region, according to Nigel John, acting chairman of the fund’s board of directors. (MM)
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