Barbados’ ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Robert Bobby Morris is of the view that this country’s future lies in the 15-member bloc.
Morris told this morning’s presentation ceremony of an essay contest organized by the Caribbean Organization of Tax Administrators that the regional grouping presented young Barbadians with a number of opportunities, therefore they should begin to view themselves as citizens of CARICOM and not just Barbadians.
“I hope you learn a lot about CARICOM because it is our future. It is a community and it is also a single market and both are very important to you and your future development, because you are not going to be developing really in a world of Barbados, your future is CARICOM,” Morris told students of Ellerslie Secondary School, where the ceremony was held.
The former trade unionist pointed to the number of Barbadians working in other Caribbean countries simply because they could not find work here, as evidence that the integration movement can be beneficial.
He said with the CARICOM Single Market and Economy being “a principle vehicle to drive sustainable growth and development” in the region, integration was the community’s driving force.
However, Morris said that in order for Barbadians to truly exploit the benefits of the community they must be prepared to give up some national comfort.
“When you get into integration sometimes you have to give up things that are national and become part of a regional situation. So in integration you can no longer say that people cannot [freely] come from other countries to work in your country. So you sometimes have to change your laws to facilitate that, but integration calls for fundamental changes of your legal structure to allow things that were once your own to be shared with others. That is fundamental,” Government’s lead man on CARICOM matters said.
He described the integration process as “a new regime” which is “almost like a federation” but without political amalgamation, and with the emphasis on social and economic development.
“I therefore want to impress upon everyone here, especially the younger persons, the importance of viewing yourself as a Caribbean citizen where the resilience and productivity of each member can drive us to astounding accomplishments. We haven’t started to see it yet, and clearly we are going to depend on your ingenuity.
“Can you imagine what would happen if Barbadian resources in terms of technology and skills could combine to a large extent to the natural resources in Guyana? All these possibilities are there,” he said.