November 2, 2007
Ready or not, CSME is on its way


Change is tough, and when one has been operating in a particular manner for ages, change can be a person’s worst nightmare. However, change is inevitable.{{more}}

So it should be a matter of deep concern that when CARICOM’s CSME Unit visited these shores earlier this week, the forum that was to be held with business persons, as part of their visit, was largely void of business persons.

Minister of Trade Sir Louis Straker mentioned it; Free Movement expert with the CSME Unit Steven Mac Andrew also raised an eyebrow.

In fact, during an interview with one of this newspaper’s reporters, he wondered if the businesspersons’ absence was a signal that they have no intention of capitalizing on the opportunities that CSME presents, being content with where they are, and what they have.

He hoped not, and so does this newspaper.

Ready or not, CSME, and world globalization are here, and the effects will be felt.

Soon, a well established business, with a well established customer base, will find out that loyalty may not be enough to keep customers in the face of great bargains, probably better service, or at the very least, the aggressive marketing of a company from a neighboring island.

Mac Andrew stated it bluntly when he warned local businesses that under the new regime of trade, persons could come in and impact on what a local business has. The absence of local businesspersons from the CSME session this week may very well turn out to be nothing untoward at all.

However, if it is complacency, local business operators will be urged to take a look at the predicament of our banana farmers. Despite the desperate efforts being made on all fronts to protect the industry, the reality of trade liberalization has hit hard, and quite frankly, the industry may never recover.

So, business operators, heed the call, get into the fray, and use CSME to your advantage -because ready or not, here it comes.