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Grenadian PM urges Caricom Heads to do more to make Intra-Regional Travel more affordable – 4th Jul 2013

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The Grenadian Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said that the time has come for Governments to stop arguing about the transportation problem in the Caribbean, for them to stop calling names, and work on a bold solution. He said the impediment to the free movement of people is the biggest challenge facing the integration movement. Dr. Mitchell said that traveling across the region by air is too expensive and Caribbean Governments can do more by reviewing the taxes on travel tickets.

The Prime Minister said that the fear among some Governments is that by reducing taxes they will be reducing incomes to cash-strapped treasuries and airport authorities. However, he said if more people start traveling, the volume of traffic will compensate for any revenues lost by bringing down taxes.

Dr. Mitchell said that if CARICOM cannot develop policies for the free movement of people, the goal of regional integration and convergence would be lost.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad Kamla Persad-Bissessar has suggested a ministerial task force to discuss issues  with respect to Liat and Caribbean Airlines as part of the rationalisation of regional transportation.

Persad-Bissessar said that such a meeting of a task force can deal with the establishment of ferry services connecting the Caribbean and this would have a positive direct impact on trade and tourism.

Her Grenadian counterpart said the task force should be represented at the highest level  by a caucus of Heads of Government, leaders in business, especially the hotel industry,  transportation sector, airline and shipping lines, and trade unions.

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