CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICCOM) countries are working on easing the convertibility of their individual currencies even though regional leaders have decided that certain aspects of the single currency will not be addressed in the immediate future, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque has said.
LaRocque, who was here over the weekend briefing Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony on the July 4-6 CARICOM Summit to be held here, told reporters that a single currency will not be among the dominant issues for the meeting.
He told reporters that there is still much more to be done before the single currency, which the regional leaders hope will form an integral part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), can become a reality.
"There is not going to be a choice between the currency of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) or any other currency for that matter, the different currencies will contend.
"One of the issues that we have to work towards in our communities is to have ease of convertibility of our currencies, so that if you are holding one currency and you are going to another country you can easily convert one to the other without having any difficulties,” LaRocque said.
"I think that is something we have to work towards in the short term but for CARICOM itself there is no immediate contemplation of a single currency," the Dominica born Caribbean top public servant added.
The summit here will discuss several issues aimed at deepening the regional integration movement including the development of a foreign policy that LaRocque said is an “issue that Prime Minister Anthony has taken on board, it is something that he will be leading during his term in office.
"We are currently doing some coordination of foreign policy and given the geo-political changes that are taking place in our own countries and the different economic issues that we are faced with, the committee on foreign policy needs to be a little more pro-active in developing foreign policy.”
Anthony will assume the chairmanship of the 15-nation grouping in July for a six month period and LaRocque said the foreign policy matter “is something that he will be leading in terms of his chairmanship during his term in office”.
Among the other issues likely to dominate the summit here includes the ongoing reform of the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat, developments in Haiti and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The Secretary General said the Secretariat needs to dispel the growing perception that CARICOM was having no practical impact on the lives of the people of the region.
"It's so easy to say nothing is happening but when you ask people do you know what CARICOM is doing they don't respond.
"You must first know what member states are doing to be in a position to judge. Once we get the word out you will see that things are happening, maybe not as fast as they ought to and not as impacting as we