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Bahamas’ Future With The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) Remains Uncertain
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Bahamas’ Future With CSME Remains Uncertain:
By Vanessa C. Rolle -
Nassau, Bahamas:

Although the government made a decision in 2005 not to pursue signing on to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), the issue is not dead, but only dormant for now, according to Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM A. Leonard Archer.

In an interview with the Bahama Journal on Tuesday, Mr. Archer said, "The government has decided not to pursue the matter for the time being. Whether it will be resurrected at another time will be a matter to be decided at another time, but for the time being it is not being pursued."

A long time proponent of the CSME, Mr. Archer still feels that it would be beneficial to The Bahamas to join despite the strong opposition that exists on this issue.

He said the government’s decision not to pursue the CSME was birthed by "the opposition or the tensions that were being created by the debate. Again, as the Minister (Fred Mitchell) said, he was surprised and somewhat disappointed in the hostilities that were expressed about some of our Caribbean brothers and sisters. Therefore, it was best to suspend the debate at the time it was suspended."

So what would it take for The Bahamas to actually join?

Mr. Archer said that some changes would have to be made internationally with regard to trade issues.

"The matters relating to our trade with Europe and our trade with the United States, changes in those areas might provoke a different kind of response from the government, but we are certainly not in the position to say today what can happen tomorrow," he said.

Mr. Archer still maintains his position that The Bahamas has nothing to lose if it signs on to the CSME.

"I think it’s all positive and we’ll benefit. My views are well known. We will gain investment; we will gain support in the international arena and we will be able to deal with some of the issues that are pending in our own development. I think it would be to our advantage, but in all of these matters, opinions are different. What one person sees as an advantage, another person sees as a disadvantage. It’s not a matter of who is right and who is wrong," he said.

Although many Bahamians may have concerns about the CSME’s provision for the free movement of people, Mr. Archer assured that this was not an issue with CARICOM.

"CARICOM had already said that The Bahamas would not be a part of that provision," he reminded.

"That was made very plain. CARICOM had made that very plain."

4 April 2007

April 4, 2007 | 11:11 PM Comments  {num} comments

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