17 Sep ‘WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER’, MOTTLEY TELLS PNP AUDIENCE
Kingston, Jamaica, September 15, 2017: Barbados Opposition Leader and head of the Barbados Labour Party, Ms. Mia Mottley is calling on territories washed by the Caribbean Sea to bond together to fix many of the issues facing the region.
Ms.Mottley was the guest speaker at the opening night of the People’s National Party’s 79th Annual Conference at the National Arena in St. Andrew on September 14.
She said the region should find a way to develop a system to move people around the Caribbean cheaply, take care of health needs, pay debt, stimulate growth among youth, and to get information out to the public.
Ms.Mottley lamented that something must be fundamentally wrong when a region cannot provide the political commitment to allow its citizens to move easily. “It is cheaper for me to go to Miami and New York (from Barbados) than to come to Jamaica or St. Kitts. It is madness,” she said.
The former Attorney General pointed out that aside from travel, there is room to improve communication among the peoples of the region. “Why is there not a real-time news network that allows me to see from Kingston to Kingstown, but I can see what goes on in Iowa and what goes on in Texas. I could see how Irma is decimating the Keys, but I really don’t know how it has decimated Tortola or BVI or St. Martin.”
She called on the regional leaders to work as a group which would make them stronger.
The veteran politician said it is time the region sets up a regional payment clearing house facility that would allow region to be able to settle on the net differences in hard currency and allows us to achieve greater competitiveness and attractiveness while boosting reserves.
“Some may tell you that there was the CARICOM multi-lateral Clearing Facility some 25 years ago; but I say to them that we didn’t have the technology then to make payment digital cheaper and more efficient,” she said.
Ms. Mottley believes that some of the things that individual countries do on their own could yield better results if the creative minds in the region were pooled together.
“It is important that our people understand the journey that was traversed. We did not get here by accident. We need to understand that we are one people, divided by oceans, but we are one people,” she said.
“It is important to understand that the topics we address rise above Party considerations. Ours is a lived reality that goes beyond a party, Caribbean people trade daily,” she told the gathering.
The conference continues until Sunday with private sessions on Friday and Saturday and the much-anticipated public session on Sunday.
Dr. Peter Phillips will address the annual conference in his new capacity as Party President for the first time.