Jamaica Says No Plans For ‘JEXIT’ From CARICOM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness Tuesday reiterated that the decision to establish a commission to review the island’s relationship with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was not intended to create an avenue for it to leave the 15-member regional integration movement.

Addressing the second and final day of the two-day CARICOM summit on the single market and economy (CSME), Holness said that it was imperative that the commission, under the chairmanship of former prime minister Bruce Golding, was established to give his then new administration empirical evidence of its relationship with CARICOM and the wider Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM).

“So from a practical point of view, from a political point of view it became an issue that the government had to consider,” he said making reference to the problem experienced by Jamaicans in their attempt to freely enter some Caribbean countries.

“Then there were considerations from the private sector who made a point at every engagement to bring to the attention of the government the difficulties they were having in accessing the markets of the region,” Holness told his colleagues, adding “and there were concerns about unfair practices and energy was used as the case in point.”

He said the government “facing these growing political issues” had to respond especially since he was convinced “I could not engage in rhetoric, I could not engage in stalking the flames (and) I could not speak without an empirical basis.

“And so we initiated a Commission to review our relations within CARICOM and within the wider CARIFORUM region. But at the same time I also engaged with our colleagues directly and specifically with Prime Minister Dr. (Keith) Rowley (of Trinidad and Tobago), Holness said.

He told his regional colleagues that also formed the basis for Rowley paying an official visit to Jamaica and “I believed that went down very well. more

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