Xavier Blackman attended the Private Sector Forum of the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago on April 15-17. Ludwig Ouenniche, The Chamber’s Vice-President, attended the meeting as well. He was also there as the Secretary to the Board of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC).
The Forum comprised several interactive sessions and networking opportunities that dealt with topics related to the Private Sector in this Hemisphere that we call the Americas, North and South American Countries and the Caribbean. Two other similar events were taking place at the same time on board of 2 cruise ships chartered for the occasion.
The results of the forum were then submitted to the Foreign Ministers of the different countries of the Americas, who forwarded them to the 34 Heads of States attending the Summit at the Hyatt where the cruise ships were docked.
Two important topics that were discussed during the workshop were: "human prosperity and the global economic crisis" and "economic stimulus packages".
During the discussion about the topic of human prosperity, one of the speakers, Professor Hans Rosling, made a very high-tech and provocative presentation, in which he showed how global human development has taken place starting in the 19th century. The main point of his presentation was that certain ideas in the western world about the human development in the rest of the world are not based on facts, and that these misconceptions can lead to wrong decision-making. Professor Rosling also pointed out that the global crisis offers opportunities for change, and improvement of human prosperity worldwide.
After the session, Messrs. Ouenniche and Blackman had an extensive in depth conversation with Professor Rosling about the information he provided and this experiences with human development around the world and the experiences of Sint Maarten and the Netherlands Antilles in that respect.
During the workshop on economic stimulus packages, the different speakers elaborated on the options that the government and the private sector have when it comes to implementing stimulus packages to cushion the effects of the global crises. It was also emphasized that the Caribbean and Latin American region has so far been somewhat insulated from the global crisis, but that vigilance was needed to prevent the effects to impact the region more than it has so far.
The two main conclusions that were reached were that the crisis provided an opportunity for improvement, meaning the restructuring of the economy and the way of doing business, and that close cooperation between the public and private sectors, and civil society were an important condition for making the stimulus packages work.
What was also interesting to notice is that most, if not all, the measures proposed during the discussions to mitigate the effects of the crisis were already considered in the Sint Maarten Economic Summit findings that were established on March 5, 2009. Not only that, but even other measures were also added in the Sint Maarten model.
"Attending this important Hemispheric Summit was really a mind-opener for me; I realized the importance of such meetings where we have the opportunity to exchange views and opinions with persons from different backgrounds, it gave me the possibility to compare what we are doing in Sint Maarten with what they are busy doing in their own countries, regardless of their geographic location or constitutional configuration. Sint Maarten is part of the Caribbean and as such it is important for us to be constantly be kept aware of what is happening in the region and to compare, adjust and improve accordingly".