Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, used his statement at the opening of the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Georgetown to wail into critics of the regional body.
The Prime Minister lashed out at those who used the newspapers to talk about CARICOM being a comotose body, telling the opening of the meeting that “those writers and authors of these opinions do not take into account what the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas about and the tremendous progress which has been made in the integration movement and they fail to acknowledge the strength and possibilities”.
Dr. Gonsalves said there is too much pessimism when it comes to Caricom and he reminded that the regional body is not a federation and is not a military state. It is not even a confederation. It is a community of independent sovereign states.”
He said some problems experienced at airports by some nationals should not be seen as a problem with free movement but must be seen as a problem to be solved.
He reminded that Caricom has a long list of success stories including the skills certificate for Caricom nationals, pointing out that there is nothing that stops any businessman in the region from investing in any of the member states.
“Some of the very critics, if you ask them if they would like a Federation or a Military state, they would tell you no. If you ask them about a single or common currency they would laugh”, he said.
Gonsalves noted that there are things that Caricom still needs to do to deepen the intrgration process, “but let us not denounce our immense achievements.”
He warned that “we have a way of beating up on ourselves too much and then we find ourselves going to church on Saturday or Sunday morning and sing Great is they faithfulness”.
“Many of the very critics do not want to put in a good day’s work and engage in pushing an agenda. Rather than look to the politicians for miracles, what we should do when we go to work is that we must produce and we must not allow the work place to become a war zone.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged of the hurdles facing the region but said Caribbean citizens must still look to their achievements and celebrate those achievements. He said it is time to stop the negatives and be more positive.