Punish them!

Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips has thrown his support behind a proposal for CARICOM countries to be punished when they willfully fail to implement initiatives agreed on by the regional group.

He lamented that there is a serious ‘implementation deficit’ in CARICOM.

“Unless there are in fact penalties that are applied – some sanctions for non-performance in relation to the decisions taken at the highest level of CARICOM heads of government and by the other organs, then we are going to have a repetition of the pattern whereby people come, say ‘I’ and then go away and forget about the commitments given,” Dr Phillips said.

He continued: “[Albert] Heinstein is said to have defined madness as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. To continue to pass resolutions year after year at sessional and intersessional meetings and then make no further contribution to the performance… then we will continue in that way.”

Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips. Photo Credit:

Dr Phillips posited that sanctions against member states may include monetary fines.

He also agreed that other sanction, which may be included in the Treaty of Chaguaramas that birthed CARICOM, may include:

– Restriction of the right to vote on particular decisions

– Loss of entitlement to benefits from CARICOM institutions

– Restriction on access to policy-based loans from the Caribbean Development Bank

– A widening of provision for member states to be authorized to take retaliatory actions against other member states

Dr Phillips made the comments in the House of Representatives on Tuesday as lawmakers approved a resolution containing some proposals to improve CARICOM.

The proposals, including that which recommends sanctions for non-performance, are outlined in a report produced by a review commission that examined Jamaica’s relationship with CARICOM.

The commission, which was headed by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, was established by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

By Horace Mills

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