Antigua and Barbuda: Prime Minister Gaston Browne urged the full collaboration and efforts of the regional countries to strengthen maritime and air transportation and called for the necessity of deepening the regional integration process.
Prime Minister Browne, who joined the 43rd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting at Suriname, asserted that it is essential to the issues of connectivity that both maritime and air transportation is adequately addressed.
“You can’t sustain an integration movement if you can’t move goods and people effectively, and that has been a major problem with the integration movement from its inception,” he said, adding that he hopes the summit here would “come up with a new model for air transportation one in which we can sustain.
Prime Minister Browne stated that both the air and maritime transportation needs of the region could not be sustained by one member state.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne stressed upon the benefits of the transportation and added that the Caribbean countries could import food from Guyana, Suriname and even Brazil as that it would cost much lesser than the foods the countries are importing from North America.
“So in terms of keeping the price of food down it is important that we establishment maritime transportation, reliable and sustainable…,” he said, adding that he believes the region needs “combo assets” that could both transport people and goods “and by so doing you will be able to move people and goods more effectively within the region and certainly to sustain our integration movement.
“I am pretty sure that the opportunities that would be created for Suriname and Guyana, in particular, would be enormous, “he said, given that these countries have a lot of land, and fresh water and are capable of producing much food for the region.
“We should not be relying on what is most exclusively imports from North America when we have countries within the integration movement that can supply us,” Browne said, giving as an example, the importation of water melons to his country, which would be much cheaper even with a 100 per cent mark up for transportation etc.