November 2, 2007
Local businesses warned not to be complacent about CSME

A small turn out by business persons at a Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) sensitization workshop here last Monday prompted this country’s Minister of Trade to warn local businesses against complacency.{{more}}

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, which was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference room, Sir Louis Straker said that the new world order of globalization and trade liberalization is going to pluck us out of “the comfort of our isolation, and out of our little corner into a bigger world – a bigger arena.”

Sir Louis said that he was very disappointed at the small turn out by business persons at the workshop.

“As is often the case, sometimes our business people, they remain aloof and where they should be present to ask questions and make their contribution, they have no time for it,” Sir Louis said.

He said that when business persons refuse to turn up to such sessions, they must not then blame the Ministry of Trade, or CARICOM, when they do not have enough information and

education to prepare them for the challenges that the new order of trade brings with it.

“The name of the game is competition,” Sir Louis said, adding “We realize that we are now part of a global situation and must be able to compete.”

Sir Louis noted that while Government must create an enabling environment for businesses to flourish, businesses must ensure that they continue to create high quality goods for export, and top class services.

He reiterated the fact that local businessmen are not only going to be faced

with the competition and challenges that come with CSME but also rulings by the World Trade Organization and the economic partnership agreements that will be signed with the European Union

The workshop was expected to feature presentations by Leela Ramoutar and Steven Mac Andrew of CARICOM’s CSME Unit on the topics: “Doing business in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy” and “Free Movement and opportunities in the CSME”, respectively.

President of the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce Jerry George was also set to deliver an address at the workshop on the challenges of doing business in the CSME.

When she addressed the small gathering, Thelma Joseph of CARICOM’s CSME Unit said that CSME is about change; a new mind set is needed by all, stressing that “The timely establishment (of the CSME) is vital.”

“CSME is about change and change cannot take place, if our attitudes and minds are not there,” she said. (KJ)