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Stay in Caricom, urge the youth

Friday, July 06, 2012

Dear Editor,

This is in response to the Jamaica Observer article of June 1, "Samuda calls for Caricom trade review" and others dealing with the subject.

I must say while I respect the former minister's right to voice his opinion, as a youth who lives in the region I do not share the view that Jamaica should leave Caricom for not receiving certain privileges.

I believe Mr Samuda misused his parliamentary voice to speak on behalf of Jamaicans before consulting with us on such a sensitive matter. As Caricom stands now, we are trying to put things together, following the failure of the federation. This problem cannot be solved by running away from it because we constantly face challenges of regional integration.

What would happen to the implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice, what would happen to the prospects of low transport costs across the region, greater access to inter-regional jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the future? If the larger countries of the region don't fight for this to work, it will never happen.

Youths who represent 60 per cent of the region's population, as shown by UN-accessed data, do not share the same view as Mr Samuda, and our views are documented in the Caricom Commission on Youth Development 2010 Report agreeing with my point. Coming off the launch of the UNDP Caribbean Youth Think-Tank of 14 youth leaders of which I am a member representing Jamaica, the 14 worked and bonded together at UN House, Barbados, over five days. We visualised a unified Caricom, and based on how we bonded, several members made the comment, "If the leaders of the region saw how we worked together over the five days and replicated this throughout the region, we would have a more progressive Caricom". This is based on the fact that as young people we are larger in number, have more voices and are driven to see ourselves as "one union".

The region needs to be unified right now through the implementation of progressive solutions, not a tug of war over privileges accorded to member states.

Haiti is a full member state and has been treated far worse than most Caricom members. Right now they need visas to travel to most countries in the region - they are hanging on for change and we must work together to find solutions.

Mario Rose

Kingston 5


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