Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
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Sumner: Include private sector in CARICOM meetings

Edison Sumner.

The private sector wants inclusion in the Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Edison Sumner told Guardian Business yesterday, explaining that the Bahamian business community now has to sort through the decisions made by this country’s government at the recent conference in Jamaica.

He said the BCCEC has not yet been able to review the decisions made by the Bahamas government at the conference, but said with regard to this country voting against joining the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME), the private sector will look at what the trade implications of that decision could eventually be.

“We have to consider it and have a review of government policy,” said Sumner.

“We know that we’re probably one of a few who are not part of it (CSME).”

Sumner said if the recent CARICOM conference was similar to the Caribbean Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the business community within the Caribbean would be able to engage in the decisions made by their governments and engage with one another on matters affecting business in the Caribbean vis-a-vis the decisions made by Caribbean heads.

“We certainly like to suggest they would include the private sector,” he said.

Sumner said the BCCEC is part of regional chamber of commerce groups that are trying to build a more robust Caribbean chamber in order to be able to engage more amongst themselves. He said he thinks it would be a good idea to allow time on the agenda for private sector industries to convene.

“It worked well at CHOGM,” he said. “The same approach at the CARICOM conference could be beneficial to the region.”

Sumner explained that at the Americas Business Dialogue with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean was poorly represented. He said Latin American countries dominated the forum.

“We were one of very few Caribbean countries there,” he said.

He said whenever CARICOM meets it should consider bringing regional business leaders together as well.

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