We must make CARICOM work, says Barbados trade minister

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Chair of COTED, Sandra Husbands, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Barbados

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The chair of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has underscored the necessity of unity if the small islands that comprise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are to develop.

Sandra Husbands, minister in the ministry of foreign trade of Barbados, urged delegates at the two-day meeting in Guyana to make CARICOM work and gave notice that Barbados was pursuing a “prosper thy neighbour approach”.

The minister made the remarks at the opening session of the 47th meeting of COTED on Thursday morning.

“The government of Barbados has come here to get it right. The stakes are high and we have not come here to fail. We are here with a prosper thy neighbour approach. If one succeeds, all will succeed. We will all share in each other’s success”, Husbands said.

She added: “We are in a world where the special circumstances of small states are being overlooked and undervalued. This puts us at great risk if we do nothing, and presents us with great opportunity to deconstruct what no longer adds value and reconstruct what will enrich our future, if we act swiftly and effectively. None but ourselves will ensure that we do not fail in our pursuits aimed at further integration, cooperation and harmonisation. Our efforts need to be focused on changing the dynamic at the extra-regional and the intra-regional level. We must make CARICOM work. This includes ensuring that our institutions work as well-oiled machinery”, the COTED chair added.

Given that the Community was in competition with the rest of the world, Husbands pointed out that the very survival of member states of CARICOM depended on “our identifying our common interest and acting as one in common cause to achieve our objectives.”

“We are not 15 members haggling and negotiating to create individual benefit for our countries. Rather we are sister territories striving to manage our resources and opportunities to generate accelerated value and benefit which we share for mutual benefit”, she said.

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