Red tape hindering Caribbean integration, says Guyana President

David Granger

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Guyana’s President David Granger wants an end to the bureaucracy that is hindering the progress of the true, holistic integration of Caribbean states.

He says the red tape, and not the institutions of CARICOM, is holding the region back.

“I believe that if we make the right decisions, the entire region can move ahead much more quickly. There is nothing wrong with the institutions that we have established. What we need to do is to ensure that there is better implementation of the decisions…There is no fault in the rules; there is a fault in the implementation,” he told the media at the 39th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Jamaica last week.

President Granger also noted that while Guyana, with an abundance of natural resources, is more than half the size of the states involved in the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), the potential of those resources was being ignored.

“Guyana can provide much to the region as a whole in terms of food security, in terms of agriculture, in terms of the environment, in terms of tourism and in terms of marketing,” he said.

“I believe that the Caribbean has underexploited its resources…The CSME needs to adopt a fresh approach to production, particularly agricultural production, distribution and marketing and if we take that approach some of the problems we complain about will be solved.”

Last week, CARICOM celebrated the 45th anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. But President Granger, who holds responsibility for agriculture, agricultural diversification and food security in CARICOM’s quasi-Cabinet, said he is disturbed that the Caribbean is still not producing more of the food that it consumes on a daily basis.

Speaking of Guyana’s bilateral ties with other CARICOM States, the President said he looks forward to building on the existing relationship between Guyana and Barbados under the leadership of the region’s newest leader, Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

Similarly, ties with Trinidad and Tobago will also be strengthened, particularly as it relates to the development of the oil and gas sector.

“This is the vision that I have for the Caribbean Community – that all parts of the Caribbean must see this new resource [Guyana’s oil] as a part of the Community and they should be willing to share their expertise with us and be willing to invest in it…I would like to affirm that the doors of investment, the doors of infrastructure, the doors of information technology and of innovation will be open to our colleagues in the Caribbean,” Granger said.