Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states and governments are being called upon to make urgent changes to the way they conduct business and foster more engagements with the private sector lest the region’s economy is left behind.
The call was made by Suriname’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Sieglien Burleson during the opening of the 41st meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Georgetown on Thursday.
Burleson, who is also the Council’s Chairperson, urged CARICOM governments to ensure engagement with the private sector as it aims to enhance productivity and sustainable growth.
During this meeting a special session is planned with the private sector as emphasis is placed on transforming the region’s economy.
The Surinamese Minister said questions are abundant as it relates to the Council’s ability to transform the region’s economic base but she is confident that it is on the horizon. “It is time for the community to change the way of doing business. The world economy moving at a fast pace and sometimes it seem as though the region cannot keep up… I think that the time has come for us as a Council to bring trade and economic development to the region,” she added.
Burleson stressed that governments must find a way to actively engage with the private sector, adding that “it is the private sector that is trading and doing business, in this regard I consider the session with the private sector of great importance.”
The Minister also urged that governments not lose sight of provisions made in the bilateral trade agreements which CARICOM has concluded.
“In order to take advantage of opportunities provided it is imperative that government and private sector work together to improve production, enhance productivity and improve competitiveness.”
Meanwhile, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque also delivered brief remarks and said he was most pleased with the engagement with the private sector. Since assuming office, LaRocque has always advocated for greater involvement of the private sector in the work of Council.
He reminded those gathered of this advocacy. He said the importance of the private sector’s involvement cannot be overemphasize in keeping with the community’s commitment to boost growth. (Kurt Campbell reporting for News Source)