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Ex-PM: Let’s reduce costs

Mike King

Ex-PM: Let’s reduce costs

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STRESSING that every Caribbean country had found that the cost of governance is spiralling out of its reach, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur is calling for the region to find ways to provide common services to reduce rising costs.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in his office, the Opposition Leader said that the fiscal and financial problem in the Caribbean was in part about the costs of managing independent societies.
Arthur said that the costs of providing for all the institutions required to manage a country was a burden that most Caribbean islands can no longer carry adding that it was “no surprise that the countries in the world that have the highest ratio of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) are in the Caribbean.
“Every Caribbean country does not have to replicate the same domestic services, but you have regional institutions. That is the only way in which we are going to reduce the costs of doing governance in the Caribbean.
“There was a time when there was a regional police training centre in Barbados. Now everyone wants to  have their own regional police training centre, so we are replicating costs.
“There are many ways in education and health care and other services where the region must say there is no point in our trying to have the same facility in every Caribbean country. Let’s have common services,”?he said.
Arthur said the range of functions governments now have to deal with go beyond the traditional areas such as health care and education.
He said that for Caribbean states to particpiate in the new global society they had to keep adding functions all the time.
Governance now included devoting expenditure to environmental management and areas such as the drug trade and money laundering, Arthur pointed out.