By George Alleyne
“Hold strain,” is the plea of Barbados Opposition Leader Mia Mottley to Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, regarding news that Jamaica may soon leave the economic segment of CARICOM.
The Jamaican government is now considering a recommendation, of a Commission led by former prime minister Bruce Golding, that the island leaves the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) because of the lack of project initiatives implementation, among other things, which are adversely affecting Jamaica.
The blame for lack of implementation falls squarely on the shoulders of the whoever is the prime minister of Barbados as CARICOM vested CSME lead responsibility in this country’s head.
Contending that current Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, has not delivered leadership of this mechanism for regional economic integration, Mottley said over the weekend that once elected her Barbados Labour Party government would in a short time go about reversing Stuart’s failures.
“We know that the prime minister we have has dropped the ball, but the truth is we know that we can turn it around and we can make things good again in this region and in this country,” she said.
“I have a message for Andrew Holness the Prime Minister of Jamaica … I ask you to hold strain. Hold on my brother.”
Against the backdrop of elections scheduled for no later than early June this year in Barbados Mottley added, “to our brothers and sisters in CARICOM, within three months of being elected as the next government of this country we will get the Single Market and Economy going.”
“We will start to take the steps to let you know that we are not just in this because it is a framework or agreement that we signed, but it is because we know it will make a meaningful difference to the people [of Barbados] … to be able to go into other countries and sell their services, or to work … in whatever capacity especially if you’re not getting work at home.”
She noted that this economic meaning of CSME applies to citizens of all CARICOM countries that are part of the mechanism.
“The people all across the Caribbean can get a meaningful improvement in their lives, but you have to get the architecture right,” she said.
Mottley also attacked Stuart for what she sees as his tendency for inaction which she said, “has caused Jamaica to now say they don’t know whether they want to stay in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, because nothing has happened in the CSME under the leadership of Freundel Stuart… in the last almost 10 years, and certainly in the last seven [years].”