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CARICOM Chairman says consolidate gains

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CARICOM Chairman says consolidate gains

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BASSETERRE – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries were told they should seek to further consolidate the gains of the regional integration movement as the region grapples with a changing global environment.
Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, the in-coming Chairman of the 15-member CARICOM grouping, said he intends to use his six-month stint to build upon “the outstanding work of all of the Chairs that have come before” promising that “together, we will assess the tumult that has befallen much of the world and together we shall craft strategic responses that take full account of the challenges we face and the resources at our disposal”.
He said that he was assuming the Chairmanship of CARICOM “at a time of great global strain and uncertainty” and financial problems in Europe, the United States and elsewhere will have implications for the region.
He told his fellow leaders assembled here for the 32nd annual meeting of Heads of Government Conference that over the next six months “our deliberations as a region will be dominated both by issue areas previously agreed to by us  . . . as well as by priority issues that none of us, at this time, has the ability to foresee”. 
“The sizes of our respective nations, combined with our special history, have resulted in our nations not having the requisite sources of capital, internally, to fuel the levels of economic growth and job formation that we seek. 
“We are well managed, we are stable, we are fully functioning democracies, but our ability to attract foreign investment in the short, medium, and long-term, therefore, will remain key, despite the economic instability currently being experienced in many nations that have traditionally been sources of investment capital for the region.”
Douglas, the longest serving head of government in the region, said that in addition, the region will have to cope with increasing food prices, steady population growth, and limits to food production globally.
He said ensuring Caribbean people access to safe, reliable, and nutritious food remains key and that food security was essential both at the level of the individual as well as at the level of the region because of the link between the health of a people,  and their region’s  productivity and competitiveness. (CMC)