Grenada’s Prime Minister Encourages New Regional Business Partnerships In Response To Challenges Of COVID-19 Pandemic

PR – Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell  is encouraging the creation of new business partnerships as part of the region’s  response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Addressing members of the regional private sector during the Virtual Caribbean Business  Forum on Wednesday, Dr. Mitchell said these partnerships should help to cultivate a spirit  of entrepreneurship in members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States  (OECS). 

Noting that trade is vitally important to the survival of regional countries, Dr. Mitchell  acknowledged the many challenges brought about by the pandemic and affirmed that in  every sector, there are “unprecedented opportunities”.  

The Grenadian leader said, “These challenges carry the seeds of great opportunity and  we are particularly pleased with this chance to exchange views and brainstorm on  concrete measures and initiatives that we can undertake together to help us all be more  resilient, less dependent on externalities and shape a new model of collective prosperity.” 

Offering further words of encouragement to the participants in the online forum, Dr.  Mitchell said, “Let us identify the many windows that the pandemic has opened for us to  do things differently, to do things better, using the foundations that already exist to build  the architecture of the New Normal. We know that in the spaces created by the global  economic pause, we can and must rapidly create a more dynamic, self-reliant Caribbean  market place.”  

According to Dr. Mitchell, “The OECS Authority is keen to seen an explosion of trade  between the OECS and the wider Caribbean, starting with Trinidad and Tobago.” He  highlighted linkages among regional ferry services and agricultural producers and  innovative approaches to financing micro, small and medium sized enterprises as  examples of partnership possibilities.

The Prime Minister also noted that, “Regional integration as an enabler of reciprocity in  relations and the aggregation of opportunity in niche CARICOM and hemispheric spaces,  is essential for our sustainability.” 

Dr. Mitchell lamented the fact that regional trade has not been optimised. He said, “We  seem to prefer patronising other people’s business in the global village instead of  strengthening and consolidating the wealth of our islands, through stronger business ties  among each other and interacting with the global village from a position of consolidated  strength. Why do we see nothing wrong with importing food and goods from all around  the globe, but express objection and erect barriers to buying from our own? Sisters and  brothers, something is fundamentally wrong with that approach.” 

Notwithstanding the existing challenges, the Prime Minister sees many opportunities in  the new normal. He identified some of these as the reconfiguration of trading relationships  by accelerating efforts to address impediment to integration; developing greater  reciprocity of relations and actions; securing the foundation that exists through building  blocks such as the Caribbean Court of Justice and consolidating the eco-system of  policies, regulations and protocols that facilitate trade and business. 

The Caribbean Business Forum was organised by the Global Business Leadership Forum  and the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers in collaboration with the OECS  Commission.