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Barbados pledges to play greater role in regional integration

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados on Tuesday said it would seek to play a greater role in the revitalisation of the regional integration movement, as the new government of Prime Minister Mia Mottley outlined its priorities for the next 12 months.

Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, delivering the traditional Throne speech at the opening of the new Parliament after the May 24 general election, said Bridgetown wanted to have a stronger relationship with the 15 member Caribbean Community (CARICOM grouping, particularly through its lead responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of good, skills, services and labour across the region.

“According it will as an early priority reassert its assigned leadership role and work with member states to complete the built-in agenda of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (that governs the regional integration movement) so as to enable Barbadians to fully benefit from the opportunity to move themselves and their capital within the region.”

Dame Sandra said the new government would also work with other member states “to rapidly advance the built-in agenda, especially as to provide certainty as to the scope of rights to be enjoyed by persons moving within the region”.

Mottley, who came to office after leading her Barbados Labour Party to a whitewash of the incumbent Democratic Labour Party in the general election, is due to attend her first CARICOM summit to be held in Jamaica in early July.

The Governor General said that the government would also seek to develop a closer relationship with the sub-regional organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), noting “my government recognises the daily movement with our brother and sisters in the Eastern Caribbean continues to increase.

“We have similar challenges. Equally my government recognises that the only region in the world with whom Barbados has a trade surplus is the region of the Eastern Caribbean.

“Given these realities, we will also seek to strengthen collaborative relations with the countries of the OECS,” she said, noting that as a major shareholder of the regional airline, LIAT, Barbados would continue to work with other shareholders in an effort to deal with the challenges faced by the finally-troubled Antigua-based airline.

She said this would also be to maintain “reliable and affordable movement within our region for our people”.

Apart from Barbados, the other shareholder governments of LIAT are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Last week, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne urged regional countries to provide a subvention to the airline that services 17 destinations within the Caribbean.

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