Roundtable of Commonwealth Countries President Says CARICOM Leaders Clueless on Dominican Reality

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In November 2013, CARICOM said it was calling on the global community to pressure the Dominican Republic to “adopt urgent measures to ensure that the jaundiced decision of the Constitutional Court does not stand” and that “the government must show good faith by immediate credible steps as part of an overall plan to resolve the nationality and attendant issues in the shortest possible time.” The head of the Roundtable of Commonwealth Countries in the Dominican Republic, Fernando Gonzalez Nicolas responded that CARICOM leaders don’t understand Dominican reality enough to be able question its Constitutional Court ruling and propose penalties, urging CARICOM leaders “to study Dominican history better.” He also seemed to suggest that CARICOM countries should fear losing the Dominican Republic’s economic investments and importation of goods.

He said the wording used by the Prime Ministers of St. Vincent and of Trinidad in their various missives to president Danilo Medina show that those leaders don’t realize that Dominicans are major buyers in CARICOM among all of the Caribbean region’s countries. “Since 2012 Dominican Republic imports from CARICOM countries the significant sum of 1.6 billion dollars in goods and products in Trinidad and other countries of that conglomerate,” the business leader said.

He said Dominican companies have made significant investments in CARICOM countries such as the recent purchase of three breweries and negotiations to install a steel mill, among other projects. “Since Dominican Republic is CARICOM’s main trading partner in the region, the manner in which its leaders address their Dominican counterpart is strange for us,” he said and noted that Dominican Republic exported to CARICOM countries only around US$160 million in 2012, a figure which he affirms is just 2.3 per cent of the global Dominican exports.

In a statement, Gonzalez Nicolas urges CARICOM leaders to study Dominican history better, its idiosyncrasies and its trade with its Hispaniola neighbor. “They should also evaluate their interest as a trade partner and an important consumer of their products.” He said he doesn’t see the point for Dominican Republic’s continuing effort to become an active CARICOM member. “In our opinion it’s pointless, economically or politically.”

He did however suggest stronger CARICOM-Dominican Republic ties, noting that except for Trinidad and Jamaica, none of the countries in the regional bloc have an embassy in Santo Domingo. “CARICOM leaders should reconsider the tone of the dialogue with the Dominican Republic, for the benefit of both countries, brothers and neighbors.”

For full article, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2014/1/2/50106/CARICOM-leaders-clueless-on-Dominican-reality-Roundtable-president

For article on CARICOM comments and photo above, see http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/11/caricom-chastises-dominican-republic-deportations/

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