Incoming Caricom chairman Dr Keith Rowley is calling for Caribbean countries to make full use of the Caricom Single Market and Economy as the principal means of recovery from the covid19 virus.
In a new year statement, he said use of the CSME should be carried out in conjunction with pursuing the possibilities of support from international financial institutions and other avenues.
“It is that confidence in ourselves and our institutions, our intellectual capacity and creativity, and the platform we have laid which will lead us on the path to recovery. Pursuing the plans to advance the CSME that may have been sidelined by the urgent needs of the past year must be a priority to help propel us out of the negative socio-economic outlook that has been forecast.”
Rowley said Caricom is entering 2021 with renewed hope for emerging from the darkness of the past year. He said the promising light at the end of the tunnel provided by the covid19 vaccine provides the possibility of relief from the health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic.
He said the community is looking forward to receiving its quota of the vaccine from the Covax facility as it becomes available in the new year.
“However, it will not be an immediate panacea for the ills brought upon us by the virus. The relatively successful management of the health aspects of covid19 by the concerted effort of all arms of the community, including member states, institutions and the citizens, demonstrated without a doubt that the answer to covid is Caricom!”
Rowley said Caricom must employ the same collective co-ordinated and focused actions that allowed it to control the spread of the virus in the recovery phase.
“Chief among these is the discipline to maintain the protocols that help to avoid being contaminated. The less strain we put on the health systems will directly benefit the economic and financial situation. Harnessing all of our resources, human, natural and financial, to lead this recovery process will be a clear signal of our maturity as an integration unit approaching its 50th anniversary. The example has been set time and again in adversity. That is the approach that we must adopt across the board to transform our community post-covid and beyond.”
He said this should be the year Caricom works for the community “as we build back better and construct the resilient society that will provide a safe, prosperous and viable Community for all of us. We have the tools to do it." The year 2021 must be the Year of Caricom, he said, and ended his message: "As chairman of the Caribbean Community, I wish you all a Happy New Year and please stay safe.”