CARICOM States yet to return to pre-financial crisis levels of development: St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Camillo Gonsalves

NARRATOR: While there was no longer any doubt that globalization was impacting every country on the planet, the costs and benefits of this new era of interconnectedness should be more equally shared, delegates told the General Assembly's Economic and Financial Committee during its discussion on globalization and interdependence.

Providing a vivid example of how globalization could exacerbate economic imbalances, the representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ambassador CAMILLO M. GONSALVES, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said regional Governments had "neither caused nor contributed to the ill-conceived policies that led to the [financial] crisis, yet we suffered tremendous economic and developmental fallout as a result of the regulatory failures and rapacious corporate greed in other countries".

TAPE: Our member states have yet to return to pre-crisis levels of income, employment, or development, and our growth remains by and large, negative or flat. Tourism, foreign direct investment and remittances are all greatly reduced, with obvious implications on national development and the maintenance of adequate asocial safety nets. The global economic fallout has also forced many CARICOM Member States to enter into IMF programmes of varying severity. This year's Secretary-General Report cautions that "the experience of the past two decades has raised significant doubts about the alleged benefits of globalization." Clearly, amid this doubt, and the acknowledged role played by globalization in our economic and financial crisis, it is necessary for the General Assembly to play a more robust role in seeking to fulfill the promises of globalization while minimizing its negative impacts.

NARRATOR: According to Ambassador Gonsalves, even a cursory assessment of the globalization and interdependence-related challenges facing the sub-region will illustrate that interdependence speaks not only to the relationship among states, but among the challenges themselves.

TAPE: Climate change affects agriculture, which affects food availability, which affects poverty, which affects the type of advice and assistance we receive from international financial institutions. The interrelated and interdependent complexity of the challenges facing our region is a critical consideration informing our developmental decisions. Indeed, the influence of exogenous global forces on the small vulnerable societies of the Caribbean cannot be overstated. Increasingly, globalization plays as critical a role in the development of CARICOM member States, as does the actual decisions and policies implemented by our national governments. However, unlike governments, globalization is neither responsive to nor motivated by the needs of our small populationsIt is necessary to highlight the need for a sense of equity and fairness to pervade our assessment of globalization and its structures. The member states of CARICOM are blameless in the food, fuel and financial crises. We produce neither the cocaine nor the small arms that traverse our open borders en route to other destinations. We have contributed negligibly to climate change. Yet, these global and interconnected maladies affect us in ways that we can neither prevent nor fully control.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Gonsalves said equity demanded that CARICOM not bear the brunt of ill-conceived one-size-fits-all rulemaking. He said a fair system should not unduly penalize their comparatively insignificant production.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’39″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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