CARICOM has re-established a CARICOM Commission on the Economy, with Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud, returning as its chairman.
This announcement came from Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong, at a press conference, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Thursday, about issues pertaining to the just concluded CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.
He said that Professor Persaud presented an interim report at the conference that gave broad outlines on how the commission identified the problems facing the region, and what solutions they believed were appropriate for economic development.
“Professor Persaud was very clear that we now have to pursue a people-centred developmental model, where the emphasis will have to be on education, skills and innovation. He was very clear that we have to take concrete measures to solve the problems of intra-regional transport, [and] freight, as well as people. And the fundamental thinking of the commission is that we have to create greater access.
“The buzzword he used, or the central word was…access for our people. Our people must have enhanced access to financial resources; enhanced access to the banking system, to education, to training, to health services; [and] access to every citizen. We must now, in going forward, pursue a people-centric developmental model based around the idea that we must enhance access of the individual citizen to education, to entrepreneurial [and] financing opportunities; access in ownership of wealth, [and] access in every dimension,” Ambassador Comissiong outlined.
The commission is expected to report in six months, with a fully fleshed out action plan based on those broad principles.
Last year, CARICOM Heads of Government reconstituted a high-level commission on the economy led by Professor Persaud of Barbados, comprising experts with regional and international reputations to help CARICOM craft a new economic developmental strategy, and to break the syndrome of low growth and economic stagnation that many member states have been experiencing since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008.