Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 16, 2023 (SKNIS): The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has committed itself to help strengthen regional integration as it wholeheartedly embraces the importance of regional integration to strengthening Caribbean economies.
This view was proffered by Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, at the Opening Ceremony of the 44th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government on February 15, 2023, in The Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
“St. Kitts and Nevis remains committed to the strengthening of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which we regard as a training ground for engaging with the wider global economy,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew. “We believe in the free movement of skills, services, goods, capital, and all the other key elements of the CSME. We view the region as a single space for the people of our region to live, engage in robust economic activity and advance the economic, social, and cultural prospects of our region.”
Prime Minister Dr. Drew mentioned that intra-regional travel is an important component of advancing regional integration.
“Mr. Chairman, it is difficult for us to extol the virtues of the CSME without addressing the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ – intra-regional transport. The reality is that it is too difficult and too costly for the people of the region to move and enjoy the benefits of true integration within the single space which has been created for them to do so at optimal levels,” said Dr. Drew.
“Coming to this meeting in the beautiful Bahamas is an example of a disconnect between our countries. A number of delegations had to transit through Miami, and perhaps overnight there before flying to our sister CARICOM-Member destination. It should take less than 24 hours to move from country to country within our region.”
Prime Minister Drew added, “Compared to developed countries with highly developed transport means and modalities, the Caribbean remains at a disadvantage in realizing the benefits of the CSME that the framers of the CARICOM Treaty envisaged. Moving from New York to Washington DC takes a mere four hours by car and less than two hours by aircraft. The contrast is a stark reality of the challenge we face on an ongoing basis.”
Dr. Drew referenced Chapter Six of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which provides the framework for inter alia namely, the organization of efficient, reliable, affordable transport services throughout the Community, as well as the promotion of co-operative arrangements for the provision of transport services.