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Monday 18 February 2019
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Rowley glad CSME back on agenda

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley is satisfied that the issue of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) has been brought back on to the agenda to allow all member states to grow into a bigger market.

“Trinidad and Tobago has such a great interest in this, we requested it be put back on the agenda and it has been,” Rowley told Newsday on Tuesday. Yesterday saw the continuation of a caucus of Caricom Heads of Government as the 37th Regular Meeting drew to a close. Rowley is expected back home today.

The CSME was an initiative that was being addressed for a number of years, Rowley noted, “and in 2010, it was put on the back burner and left there on the table until eventually, it fell off the agenda.” The issue of the CSME, he said, was dealt with it in caucus on Tuesday night and was due to continue yesterday morning. Decisions on the way forward were to be announced last night.

“I think the rest of the Caricom leaders were also satisfied,” Rowley said. The CSME, he said, “is important to Trinidad and Tobago because we are a trading nation. All member states are traders of one kind of another.” He said, “If you are going to grow your home market, you need to have a bigger market than your home, whether you are St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago or Jamaica.

Therefore, if we have the single market it gives everybody a bigger market to grow into.” The issue of security in the region, for which he is Caricom’s lead prime minister, Rowley said, was dealt with in great detail though he did not go into the details. On the issue of Guyana’s petroleum find, he noted that TT has a long history in petroleum and significant experience in handling hydro carbon exploration, development, production, and marketing.

“We are hoping that as Guyana develops the petroleum sector, we will benefit in all these areas by working alongside Guyana,” he said. However, Guyana has border issues with its neighbour Venezuela, which Rowly said, “is affecting the development of that resource. We are hoping that peace and security will prevail and that nothing happens to further destabilise the situation , and Guyana would be allowed to exploit its findings.” On the border issue, Guyana President David Granger told Newsday he has asked United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to choose a course under the Geneva Agreement that would lead to juridical settlement.

Hopefully, he said, Ban Ki-Moon he can do this before he demits office in another four months.

The border issue, he said, was not invented because of the petroleum find but has been there for over 50 years. Carifta, that preceded Caricom, Caricom and the Commonwealth groups of countries, he said, have supported Guyana’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, he said, that TT under Rowley’s administration has indicated that “Trinidad and Tobago will be prepared to lend its expertise to this very important new sector of the Guyana economy.” Relations between Guyana and TT , he said “are very good, and I am sure I can call on Dr Rowley at any time.”

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