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UWI Top official-Caribbean leaders Lack Vision by Staff Reporter Dr. Norman Girvan

President Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, Dr. Norman Girvan, is of the opinion that today’s CARICOM leaders lack vision among other qualities. He made the disclosure while speaking at a press conference held last Friday (Aug 9) at St. Kitts’ Government Headquarters. “The present set of leaders to me seem to lack that determination and that vision and that willingness to forge ahead especially where it comes the exercise of regional sovereignty as distinct from national sovereignty,” he stated. He was questioned about the perceived stagnant position of CARICOM and responded that he too shared such a view. “I think there is a certain amount drift in CARICOM. The CSME project is essentially at a standstill. It has essentially been put in a cold storage and proposals for the reform of governance to CARICOM are not being addressed and I indeed do fear for the future of the community,” he said. Asked by the local media for his take on why CARICOM is not moving forward as it should, Dr. Girvan singled out the main issue along with several other mitigating factors. “There are a number of issues there. I think the main issue however is the absence of leadership on the parts of the governments. The community has worked best in the past when there are strong leaders who are committed to the ideas of regionalism from the very starting in 1973 and the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed, and again in 2001 when the revised treaty had a group of leaders who was committed to regional ideas and committed to the idea of a united community,” he stated. Additionally, he addressed the non-existence of legislative framework when it comes to the execution of decisions in the CARICOM region.”In addition to the leadership there is an issue of institutional defects of the community, that is to say that there are no arrangements to effectively enforce decisions of the conference heads of government and to ensure that they are carried out on a timely manner and this goes back to the absence of legal authority within the community for the implementation of decisions. I don’t think we are talking about moving the direction of a political union but moving in the direction of shared sovereignty in certain defined areas,” Dr. Girvan commented.

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