August 3, 2020

Central bank governor: Caricom trade policy ‘nonsense’


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delisle_worell_barbadosCSME problems: Dr DeLisle Worrell

Governor of the of Dr DeLisle Worrell has made it clear he is not a fan of the whole­sale free move­ment of people in Caricom.

Worrell, one of the region’s leading economists, said the idea of people moving as they pleased across the Carib­bean could not work in the current circumstances.

Responding to a ques­tion about the progress so far and the benefits of a Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), Worrell told members of the Barbados Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (Baraifa) on Friday that he had some problems with the current arrangements.

“If you have a small eco­nomy which is prosperous like Barbados, surrounded by a number of large economies that are not nearly as prosperous and some not prosperous at all—you cannot have freedom of movement. It doesn’t make any sense.

“That will result in everybody declining to the lowest common denominator.

“If you have a policy that says that is what you are going to do—that policy is nonsense. You cannot have a common financial space if you have different currencies at different rates.

“So if you say that you have a policy which is going to unify your capital market, that policy is nonsense,” he said.

“My problem with Caricom arrangements is that they do not recognise the real economic benefits, the real economic integra­tion which is actually taking place, and that the arrangements that we pre­tend to commit ourselves to, really, we cannot make them work because they do not correspond to the realities of our circumstances,” Worrell added.

Worrell, who worked with the Central Bank for more than 20 years before taking up an appointment with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and then returned to the Central Bank in 2009 as governor, lamen­ted that too much of the focus of Caricom was on trade.

He said each country in the region was trying to sell the other nations something.

“We all produce the same thing—rum and beer and biscuits, and so on; there is very little scope for us to trade among ourselves but it is not about trade, it is about facili­ta­ting the things that make economic sense—the movement of people but not the wholesale movement of people.”

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