By the Caribbean Journal staff
How much does regional integration mean to the Caribbean?
It might be time to explore the opportunity costs of not having the Caribbean Community in place, according to Ewout Sandker, head of cooperation at the delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dutch Caribbean.
The idea, Sandker said, is not to discourage regional integration — indeed, it is to show just how much an integrated economy brings to the region.
In the 1980s, as Europe was developing its own integration movement, the European Union conducted a study that calculated the opportunity costs of not having a fully integrated market in Europe.
The results, he said, were “quite amazing.”
Indeed, their showing led to an “enormous push” toward regional integration and provided a “good opportunity for mobilizing the private sector in Europe which saw the benefits they were not getting by not having a fully integrated market.”
“Something like that could be done in the Caribbean as well, and we would be happy to provide funding for such a study (of) the cost of not having CARICOM,” Sandker said this week at the High Level Advocacy Forum on Statistics in Grenada on Monday.