Prime Minister Andrew Holness has embraced the Bruce Golding-led Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Review Commission's proposal for greater equity in the assessment and calculation of fees payable to the CARICOM Secretariat and agencies by member states.
"As the second largest contributor to CARICOM, Jamaica has taken careful note of the scale of assessed contributions for which we are currently obliged to pay 23.15 per cent," Holness told the Lower House as he contributed to the debate on the report.
He added, "Jamaica has long advocated for the basic principle that each member state of CARICOM should pay its contributions according to its 'capacity to pay' ... ."
Approximately $1 billion was allocated in the 2018-2019 budget for CARICOM affairs, and in February, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith disclosed that Jamaica was moving to clear its arrears of just under $500 million. She noted, "What we have found is that penalties and interest are killing us, and we would remain on that debt mill for quite some time."
Holness also argued that CARICOM needed a stronger financial-management framework in light of the economic realities of member states. He stated that "undoubtedly, CARICOM must strive to spend more wisely, more responsibly, and in accordance with agreed budget levels".