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Change Your Work Ethic or be Left Behind – OECS Leaders

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004 – Leaders of the Organisation of Easter Caribbean States agreed that if Caribbean people do not change their attitudes, they will be left behind. This fundamental concept was expressed at a recent press conference held by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Monetary Council, to discuss whether member states were ready to enter into the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Minister of Housing Land and Environment in Montserrat, Honourable Margaret Anne Dyer – Howe, stated that citizens from the OECS needed to change their work ethic and attitude towards services and the Services Sector in order for them to benefit from the CSME. She said that agencies, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other tourism organisations could assist in training, so that citizens could be better able to take advantage of opportunities in the CSME.

Minister of Finance and Economy in Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. the Hon Errol Cort agreed that there was a need to develop a more productive labour force in the Eastern Caribbean. He stressed that the best way for the Region to acquire greater marketing and economic power was to come together as a single economic block and identify niche markets in which to compete. This would require a move away from the traditional sectors into areas, such as tourism and financial services, in which the Caribbean could gain from a competitive advantage.

Dominican Prime Minister, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit declared that it was time for OECS citizens to stop depending on their Governments, and seek ways to increase their own productivity, pointing out that citizens must be prepared to change their attitudes and become more entrepreneurial. “We cannot look to the formal school system to effect those changes…we must try to assist ourselves,” he said.



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