Barbados’ lead spokesman on international business has appealed for greater cooperation among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments, while complaining that the region was still too divided on matters affecting the vital sector’s development.
“We still grapple in the international fora with too many diverse perspectives on relevant issues, hence allowing for others to divide and rule us,” said the minister with responsibility for the sector’s development Donville Inniss, adding that he was simply amazed by “the level of insularity, selfishness and lack of vision that continues to permeate the Caribbean region when it comes to this critical sector”.
Addressing the opening of the International Business Week conference on Thursday, Inniss therefore said his ministry was “very committed” to the establishment of a regional secretariat to effectively manage the sector and had already “identified some financial resources through private partnerships that will help this become a reality.
“We really need to speak with one voice in the Caribbean region on this critical sector. There is also an urgent need for a secretariat to effectively manage our international business and financial services sector at the regional level,” he said, adding that “this does not need to be any costly and complex mechanism, but simply a small team of competent persons who understand the issues and who will pull us all together as a regional team to be more proactive in addressing the many issues before us”.
The Government spokesman on international business also said he was hopeful that at the next meeting of CARICOM heads of government a definitive position could be reached “on the need to start such a secretariat”.
However, he said he remained “very disappointed that we have not moved forward on this at the pace that we ought to.
Perhaps it is a sad reflection of some of the weaknesses we have in our region,” Inniss suggested.
The Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development also used today’s opening to warn local operators that they were likely to be subjected to greater scrutiny in the coming months.
He revealed today that the Financial Services Commission and the International Business Unit would be working together to enhance regulation of the sector.
“You can expect increased assessments of your businesses over the coming months. This is all designed to ensure that our regulatory environment functions well,” he told the gathering at the Hilton Resort.