Ambassador John heads up new CSME unit
October 5, 2007

Ambassador John heads up new CSME unit

It is absolutely crucial that this country’s private sector and human resources be prepared for the challenges that would accompany the advent of a Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).{{more}}

This is according to His Excellency Ellsworth John, this country’s new point man for CSME.

Ambassador John last Monday took up the newly created post of Director of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit within the Prime Minister’s office.

In an interview with SEARHLIGHT, Ambassador John said that legislative changes aside, the benefits of CSME must be felt practically in the country, and must be able to be measured in dollars and cents.

“We have to know as a country that we are going to really benefit from participating in the CSME,” he said.

He said that his Unit will be working closely with all the developmental stakeholders to get every developmental push to be CSME minded, so that the private sector could be ready to embrace the opportunities and handle the challenges that the new regional integration thrust brings.

He disagreed with the notion that smaller states like St Vincent and the Grenadines could not benefit from CSME.

Ambassador John said that our size only means that our people have to be more imaginative and seek to specialize in various areas.

He said, however, that he accepts the fact that the unification of the region will have its challenges, but it was important to start from the point that while we could continue to survive without uniting, we will not be competitive.

“It will probably mean you will continue to see large pockets of poverty in our individual countries,” he said.

“It is absolutely essential, I am beginning from the position that the Caribbean as a region is too small in this time of globalization to not form ourselves into some sort of economic and political union,” he said.

On the development of the young people in the country, Ambassador John said: “The Government has to be an enabler to ensure that they have the necessary tools, both in terms of skills and in terms of financing.”

Ambassador John, who is returning home after a six-year stint as Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), said that he was taking his new challenge very seriously.

“If in two years time I don’t feel that I am contributing to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ growth in a very tangible way, I would voluntarily move,” he said quite frankly.