Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is questioning the continued separation among Caribbean countries despite years of the proposed Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Speaking at the opening of the People’s National Party annual conference in Kingston, Jamaica last evening, Mottley expressed impatience with the pace of regional integration.
She said there was no reason for the continued barriers to travel within the region.
Mottley noted that regional politicians were able to agree measures for hassle-free travel for spectators during the 2007 Cricket World Cup, but have been unable to do the same for their citizens.
The Barbados Labour Party leader also suggested the introduction of multipurpose identification cards for citizens of the region.
Mottley also lamented the cost of travel between Caribbean countries, noting it was cheaper to travel to many destinations outside of the region than to Caribbean neighbours.
“It is cheaper for me to go to Miami and New York [from Barbados] than to come to Jamaica or St Kitts. It is madness,” she said.
Mottley is also impatient with the state of communication within the region.
She said the lack of information on the fate of the various Caribbean countries following the passage of Hurricane Irma brought the issue sharply into focus.
“Why is there not a real-time news network that allows me to see from Kingston to Kingstown, but I can see what goes on in Iowa and what goes on in Texas? I could see how Irma is decimating the [Florida] Keys, but I really don’t know how it has decimated Tortola or BVI or St Martin,” she said.
Mottley argued that none of her proposals were outside the capacity of CARICOM members, but require political will.