October 15, 2008



The extended Caricom family of Cariforum with the exception of Haiti and Guyana finally signed the EPA on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 in Barbados amidst cries against such action at this time from some of our brightest minds in the region. Maybe, the leaders felt that there has been enough delay and they should not be seen as indecisive. It was almost a year and the agreement was yet to be concluded. In today’s world, procrastination is not an option. The state of the world economies is not encouraging and it is necessary to get their feet into the door before further deterioration in the economies of European nations.

Civil Society Groups have failed to hold back the signing and can only be satisfied with the many gains they made over the months of active negotiations. No one can deny Civil Society’s contribution during the negotiations, especially when Mr. Christopher Sinckler headed the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) in Barbados. He is the current Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business in the Barbados Government and a strong advocate for the signing of the EPA.

What’s next on the EPA agenda moving forward? It is time to assess what ever benefits are likely to accrue from the EPA and get all the players together to understand how to access them. Europe should be targeted for tourism and investment promotion. The Tourist Board and the National Development Corporation should now be working closely together. These are serious times and much is at stake in the tourism sector. We just can’t afford to fail. It is against the background of challenges to the mainstay of our economy that all the best minds in investment and tourism need to get together to help to find solutions to the decline in direct foreign investments and tourist arrivals due to the global economic situation on the one hand, and airlifts on the other. Investment and Tourism agencies must now find common ground and move forward in a complimentary manner. The theme “St. Lucia – A Unique Destination for Investment, Vacation and Retirement” may be adopted.

The real effects of the crisis on Wall Street and major financial institutions are still not felt in St. Lucia but be assured; it will soon be at our doorsteps. The erratic performance on Wall Street is not helping. Stability is yet to return to the markets. Uncertainty is the only constant at this moment. We must now brace ourselves for what is ahead and my crystal ball points to HARD TIMES. It is time to tighten our belts and get rid of the excesses in our lives.

There is a lot to be done with the way we do business in our country. Every official in the Public Sector must work as hard as those in the private sector to attract and excite investors who come to do business in our country. The necessary legislations to speed up property ownership among other things must be expedited. Frustration is not an option in attracting Investors who seek to invest in our country. It has been many years since the hassle in acquiring property in St. Lucia has been a subject of debate without any real action taken to correct the situation. It is now time for action.

Here is my favourite quote for the week:

Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better,
you have to take things into your own hands.
Once you decide to be at the level of choice,
you take responsibility for your life and gain control of it.
If you don’t run your own life, someone else will.
You’re in control of your life to the degree that you make the decisions.
If you let others make decisions for you, you have no control.
When you control the decisions, you control the actions.
Take charge of your life.
You don’t have to ask permission of other people.
Don’t give someone veto power over your life.
If not you, then who?
If not now, then when?
Copyright 2008
I was another great debate for Barack Obama; he scored yet another knock out punch on John Mc Cain, and is now safely cruising home to the finishing line on November 4, 2008. I can feel the excitement that most Americans are feeling at this time. What a moment in time?

Have a great weekend!

Keep the Faith, God is in Charge, Dream Big and Expect Miracles Everyday!!!

Edward Harris
Real Estate CyberSpace Specialist (RECS)
Freelance Journalist, Biblicist, Business & PR Consultant, Realtor, Networker, Private Sector & CSR Advocate, Motivational Speaker

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