Local January 2, 2014 | 12:09 pm

CARICOM leaders clueless on Dominican reality: Roundtable president

Santo Domingo.- The head of the Roundtable of Commonwealth Countries inthe Dominican Republic, Fernando Gonzalez Nicolas affirms that CARICOM leadersdon’t understand Dominican reality to question its Constitutional Court ruling andpropose penalties.

He said the wording used by the Prime Ministers of St.Vincent and of Trinidad in their various missives to president Danilo Medina showthat those leaders don’t realize that Dominicans are major buyers in CARICOMamong all of the Caribbean region’s countries.

“Since 2012 Dominican Republic imports from CARICOMcountries the significant sum of 1.6 billion dollars in goods and products inTrinidad and other countries of that conglomerate,” the business leader said.

He said Dominican companies have made significantinvestments in CARICOM countries such as the recent purchase of three breweriesand negotiations to install a steel mill, among other projects.

“Since Dominican Republic is CARICOM’s main tradingpartner in the region, the manner in which its leaders address their Dominican counterpartis strange for us,” he said and noted that Dominican Republic exported toCARICOM countries only around US$160 million in 2012, a figure which he affirmsis just 2.3 per cent of the global Dominican exports.

In a statement, Gonzalez Nicolas urges CARICOM leaders tostudy Dominican history better, its idiosyncrasies and its trade with its Hispaniolaneighbor. “They should also evaluate their interest as a trade partner and an importantconsumer of their products.”

He said he doesn’t see the point for Dominican Republic’scontinuing effort to become an active CARICOM member. “In our opinion it’s pointless,economically or politically.”

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

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