President calls for common data base for Caribbean and Latin America – at 2nd CELAC Summit
Georgetown, GINA, January 30, 2014
Guyana’s Head of State, Donald Ramotar in his address on Wednesday at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Havana, Cuba called for the establishment of a common database, to have a central pool of data for analytical purposes for the region instead of having countries attempting to do it on their own.
This he said, “can help us to cheapen the cost of doing business… make it easier for us to deal with, apply and know each other’s technologies and strengths so that we can have proper transfer in this regard,” the Guyanese President said.
He spoke of the importance of infrastructure to bridging the integration gap, and said that the region is moving more and more into the direction of more air flights, and new ports and roads and other important infrastructure. He said these infrastructural links will strengthen the economic links as well.
More economic links
With regards to inequality, which was one of the issues that was deliberated on, President Ramotar said that it is critical for more economic links to be established. He said that South and Central America have enormous possibilities in food production, yet the Caribbean has a total food import bill of $4B annually.
He explained that this $4B could be saved just by simply seizing the existing food producing opportunities in the region.
“We have to look at how we help each other in a neutral way to build up the weaker States so that we can make integration meaningful and our people can appreciate it,” President Ramotar said.
The Guyanese Head of State also called on his counterparts to ensure that the voices of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean are heard as a bloc on important global issues so as to make a stronger impact.
Reference was made to the international financial and economic crisis that has wreaked havoc on the economies of many countries in the region. President Ramotar reminded that in the height of this crisis in 2008, there were talks about the need for better control and regulation of large financial institutions (the lack of which contributed significantly to the crisis in the first place).
“Now that the crisis seems to have eased, no one is talking about the need for that regulation anymore, and we are once again back to business as usual… we need to have a common position on some of these things… I think our CELAC should make its voice heard on this issue because even though we are not responsible for the crisis, many of our countries are still feeling those effects,” the President said.
He shared the view that the Latin America and the Caribbean must stand firm in solidarity and denounce what has been happening in Palestine.
“We must also make our voices heard on the kind of colonialism and oppression that exist in Palestine today, because any way in which colonialism can be weakened will help us in our own struggle. What is taking place in Palestine today is a blotch on humanity’s conscience,” he stated.