Wednesday, 2 July 2014

More integration necessary, says Venner

Sir Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank & Chairman of the UWI Open Campus Council, has raised two points for development for the region – that is integration and a new model of development is needed.

At the University in the Community Lunchtime Lecture Series at the Frank Collymore Hall he tackled the topic ‘The Idea of the OECS in the Context of a Developing Caribbean’, he outlined the trajectory of both Barbados and Jamaica. In the context of Barbados, he said: “Barbados has achieved a very high level of education, high ranking on human development indices of United Nations, political and social stability and a high level of per capita income. Despite the current difficulties these achievements can be considered to be fairly outstanding among developing countries. Barbados has advanced to a much higher level of development as judged by international standards in spite of its small size, it raises the question where do we go from here in the post-crisis era and what is the new paradigm that will lead to further progress for the region as a whole?”

Furthermore, “It seems to be an act of faith that for the region integration is the answer to this problem, despite the treaties both CARICOM and OECS, it appears the deep level of integration required to achieve this outcome has not been contemplated ... perhaps no successful model has prevailed. The Jamaica brand has not led to self-sustaining growth and the Barbados model has stalled or reached its zenith. What are we doing? The idea of the OECS is different, it has a vision of the future for an all encompassing Caribbean which would give the region the possibility of achieving its full potential.”

Mature regionalism

Dr. Venner added, “The region itself must come to grips and get over the hurdle fragmentation and accept not only the idea but the actual existence of the OECS countries as equal members of the regional arrangement. In UWI education and cricket the small island for the last several decades have been on the outside looking in and this does not augur well for the future of the region.

“The global crisis has had an impact on all countries with different consequence, the Caribbean as a whole has been hit quite hard with the structural weakness of the countries being further exposed and exacerbated. The OECS countries have experienced three consecutive years of negative growth, it is clear that like Barbados we have reached a cross roads in our development and we have to find a new model of development to ensure our survival and progress.

“For the region there is much to be gained from a successful integration arrangement, the vision of the OECS would require the fullest implementation of the Treaty of Basseterre and a different model of development referred to as the aggregate co-ordination productivity model.” (NB)

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