CARICOM faces financial collapse

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could collapse by 2017.

This is according to the CARICOM Secretariat based in Georgetown, Guyana, which has submitted a troubling report indicating that the regional bloc could collapse in five years.

The report was submitted recently at the 23rd Inter-Sessional Meeting of the CARICOM heads of government conference, which took place in Suriname.

In the report, the Secretariat warned that the regional integration movement could come to an end because of poor financing, dissatisfaction and ongoing world economic crisis.

The report contends that if CARICOM and other regional institutions continue to struggle for funds, they could collapse in another four to five years.

The operating budget of the CARICOM Secretariat has remained stagnant at just under US$20 million for the past four years.

The report says this is despite inflation and an increasing workload of international travel, commissioned studies and other assignments from leaders.

Requests for additional funding have been denied as member governments blame harsh economic times.

But the report notes there is a significant risk that CARICOM could be brought down quickly if the international economic situation deteriorates.

It further says many member countries are highly indebted and are struggling to meet domestic and international commitments.

But the report says all is not lost as a turnaround could be made if the nature of the current crisis and its seriousness are fully appreciated.

The CARICOM review was commissioned by leaders more than a year ago to examine the state of the regional bloc after 39 years in existence.

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