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By Augustus Carr
The monetary challenges faced by vendors in the Region necessitates a single currency within CARICOM. A single currency will make doing business easier and address the challenges these vendors face.
It would also increase the purchasing power of most of the Islands who so heavily depend on imports. Some may argue that it will lead to exports being more expensive thus resulting in a more competitive environment. Others will argue that imports will become more affordable.
Whenever CARICOM member states are discussing the single market and economy, they are to be discussing a single currency simultaneously.
Unfortunately, the level false nationalism among some states may prevent most country from agreeing to a single currency.
Albeight these circumstances, the time is right for such discussions especially at a time when many of our economies are now moving to manufacturing and export.
Improvements within the three (3) largest economies in CARICOM have created signs of optimism.
The recent oil find in Guyana, significant improvements in the Jamaica economy and an abundance of oil and natural gas in Trinidad and Tobago now makes it easier to establish the CARICOM Dollar.
Additionally, strong performance by most OECS member states make it more feasible to consider a CARICOM dollar. The CARICOM dollar can be easily pitched at $2.25 to US dollar.
When one travel across the Caribbean you get the feeling that goods and services are priced in US Currency.
A significant number of vendors ask for US Currency. If one were to purchase food at a hotel or restaurant the prices are equivalent to US dollars.
As such prices in our respective countries are so exorbitant locals cannot afford basic food items. This distorts the economy and breeds poverty.
A stronger dollar will enable CARICOM nationals to enjoy a better standard of living. More importantly, it will make our Region more attractive to investors.