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Winston Dookeran Calls for Integration Based on a New Development Paradigm in the Caribbean

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5 September 2013|Press Release

Official emphasized the need for a new strategy for convergence to enable the subregion to tackle external crises.


Winston Dookeran, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Trinidad y Tabago, durante su conferencia magistral en la CEPAL.
Winston Dookeran, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Trinidad y Tabago, durante su conferencia magistral en la CEPAL.
Foto: Carlos Vera/CEPAL

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(4 September 2013) Caribbean countries suffered greatly during the international crisis in recent years, and therefore need to develop integration based on a new development paradigm that is better able to tackle such challenges, stated Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, at a lecture today in ECLAC.

At the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, Minister Dookeran gave a lecture on "A New Frontier for Caribbean Convergence: Integration without Borders" to an audience made up of authorities, diplomatic corps representatives and experts from international agencies.

Mr. Dookeran was received by Antonio Prado, Deputy Executive Secretary of ECLAC, who welcomed him on behalf of this United Nations regional commission, of which Trinidad and Tobago has been a member since 1962.

According to Mr. Prado "Trinidad and Tobago has just celebrated 51 years of independence, and continues to be a success story and an example to the region of a country with a strong democratic tradition [...] As pointed out by Minister Dookeran in his model of convergence, despite the daunting circumstances around us, if we are to survive then unity must embrace the whole region of  Latin America and the Caribbean".

In his lecture, Mr. Dookeran described the main political and economic trends in the world today, and outlined his convergence proposal for the Caribbean.

According to Mr. Dookeran "the external shocks that international financial institutions consider to be temporary have become permanent for small Caribbean economies. The recent world crisis in 2008 and 2009 only cost the United States 1% of its GDP. In the Caribbean, estimates for the collapse suggest that it affected between 10% and 18% of GDP (depending on the country)".

After emphasizing that Caribbean countries have been isolated from external events but not insulated from their consequences, Mr. Dookeran stated that there is a structural problem related to development, and that it was therefore vital to create a "new economic space", based on public-private partnerships aimed at increasing production efficiency.

He affirmed the need to implement a convergence strategy in the Caribbean based on the following four pillars: inclusive and equitable development; transformative and endogenous growth; innovative and entrepreneurial competitiveness; and adaptive and realigned institutions.

"All of these areas are related to development and refer to the paradigm that we must change", insisted Mr. Dookeran.  He said "As with any integration process, there will be winners and losers. Some winners will not have been born yet. We need to take a leap of faith towards the future and change our development".

Lastly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago called on ECLAC to continue providing technical assistance to Caribbean countries so that they can build a new framework for development. He gave special recognition to Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, for being the main advocate of a new model of economic thought for the Caribbean region.

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