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Former President David Granger has recommended the establishment of an Eastern Caribbean Economic Community, comprising Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, as a means of achieving a viable single market in the shortest time.
Lamenting that CARICOM could well arrive at its 50th Anniversary in 2023 without achieving significant success in establishing a single market, Granger proposed that the three states should continue to build on the foundation of economic relations initiated by his Coalition administration between 2015 and 2020.
Speaking on Friday during his weekly programme, The Public Interest, the former Head-of- State, emphasised that, during his tenure he intensified the engagements to expedite economic relations among Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Further, Mr. Granger deplored the summary removal of Guyana’s High Commissioner to the Caribbean, based in Port of Spain, who was actively involved in promoting Guyanese products. By closing the High Commission, the PPP administration committed a foreign policy blunder that must be corrected if Caribbean economic cooperation is to move forward.
Mr. Granger admitted that CARICOM had done well to achieve a high level of functional cooperation in certain specialised fields – CARPHA, CDEMA, CSEC and others –among member states. He believes, however, much more can be achieved through a sub-regional economic community to increase food production and improve the quality of life of the Region’s residents.
CARICOM, currently, is burdened by a US$5 billion bill for food and stockfeed. According to Mr. Granger, this bill can be reduced significantly by increasing investments, improving infrastructure and advancing information technology. He recommended combining Guyana’s extensive land mass, Trinidad’s established manufacturing capability and Barbados’s experience in the service industries in the proposed Eastern Caribbean Economic Community.