Economic talks hit a snag
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is still hopeful that he and his regional counterparts can come up with some concrete proposals to fix their economic troubles, even though they could not make any decisions today as planned.
He said they only had informal discussions since CARICOM’s Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), which was to be convened ahead of the 35th Heads of Government Conference to present recommendations to the leaders, did not meet.
In the absence of the COFAP meeting, the leaders could not get down to the business of making firm recommendations on the way forward.
“The procedure is that COFAP meets, discusses these things and makes specific recommendations to Heads of Government. That meeting yesterday was not quorate so they had general discussions on the report, and the report therefore was presented to Heads today and the Commission on the Economy was advised to continue its work until we can get specific recommendations coming from the Council for Finance and Planning,” Stuart told reporters this evening, noting that the issues addressed the “very anemic and sometimes non-existent growth in the region”.
“With the exception of Trinidad and Tobago, for obvious reasons, the story is the same and therefore we are all groping for answers to some very perplexing problem.
“We hope in the very near future to be able to come up with a body of concrete proposals to confront some of the very daunting challenges with which the region has been confronted,” the Barbadian leader added.
Stuart indicated that the inability to take decisions on the Commission’s report today would not hurt the leaders’ plan to move forward with a five-year Strategic Plan for CARICOM.
That plan, he said, would be discussed in depth during the leaders’ caucus tomorrow.