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SG says Private Sector Essential to CARICOM Growth and Development

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The involvement and commitment of the Private Sector are essential to achieving the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) growth and development agenda.

That was the message from CARICOM Secretary-General His Excellency Ambassador Irwin LaRocque as he addressed the Annual Awards Ceremony of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association in Georgetown. Guyana on Friday night.

“As members of the private sector, you are key players in the drive towards increased prosperity for the people of this country, and this Region,” he told his audience. The Secretary-General noted that the Heads of Government of the Community and their Ministers had heard the “persistent” requests from the private sector for a seat at the table in the Councils of the Community.

Ambassador LaRocque pointed to the discussions held in Antigua and Barbuda last July between the CARICOM Heads of Government and several of the Region’s leading businessmen as well as the agreement by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that the private sector “must take part in their deliberations in some way.”

The Secretary-General recalled an earlier agreement to create a Caribbean Business Council (CBC) as the body to interact with the Community’s Councils. However the body has not yet been created.

“In the meantime, I proposed and the Ministers agreed, that the COTED will engage the CAIC pending the creation of the CBC. The Secretariat and Caribbean Export will work with the private sector to facilitate the realisation of the CBC,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated.

Ambassador LaRocque also indicated that the private sector had been heard on the issue of ease of doing business in the Region and gave the undertaking that the Community was committed to making it happen.

“We recognise the need to improve the Doing Business Environment in the Community, and align it with international best practices.  That includes the harmonisation of business-related rules and regulations within the CSME.  To put it simply, an enterprise operating in the CSME should be faced with the same regulations, wherever their business is conducted.  That will make doing business easier. It is all about creating a single space,” he emphasised.

He cited the work that was close to completion in respect of Harmonised Customs Legislation and stated that the similar work will be undertaken with respect to the laws and regulations governing securities markets.

“We are also creating a regional business registry, which would permit registration in one Member State of the CSME to be sufficient to operate in any other. The aim of all this is to establish a single jurisdiction for the operation of business,” he added.

The Secretary-General called for the support of the private sector in complete the task and in advocating for it.

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