Aug 15, 2022 Last Updated 8:30 PM, Apr 25, 2022

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is sensitising regional media workers during a webinar, Tuesday 26 April 2022, on the Free Movement of CARICOM Nationals within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The online session is slated to start at 10 am and is a collaboration with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM).

The main presentation on the Free Movement of CARICOM Nationals will be delivered by the Senior Legal Officer, CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Gladys Young. There will also be an engagement entitled News Coverage: Regional Integration and the CSME, to be delivered by Mr. Denis Chabrol, former Vice President of the ACM. The Assistant Secretary-General, CARICOM Single Market and Trade, CARICOM Secretariat Ambassador Wayne McCook; CBU Secretary General, Ms. Sonia Gill and ACM President, Ms. Nazima Raghubir, are expected to bring brief greetings.

The webinar is part of ongoing public education by the CARICOM Secretariat CSME Unit to engage stakeholders on the CSME and its benefits for the Region. The Secretariat recently carried out a training activity for Immigration officers in Antigua and Barbuda and will be facilitating another similar exercise, next month, for regional Immigration Officers.

His Excellency Mr. David Comissiong, Ambassador of Barbados to CARICOM;
Ms. Andrea Power, Coordinator, Regional Cooperation and Integration of the Caribbean Development Bank;
Assistant Secretary General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox and other CARICOM Secretariat staff;
Honourable Vance Amory, Senior Minister, St Kitts and Nevis;
Mr. Wayne Wesley, Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)
Representatives of Regional Organisations and Institutions;
Representatives of the Private and Public Sectors.
I thank you all for taking the time to be here this morning to be part of this Focus Group discussion on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
I have always embraced the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and beneficiaries of our CSME arrangements as it allows for interaction among the principal participants in the Community’s major integration process.
This is not only about sharing information but also getting feedback from you.
I remain convinced that the CSME, along with the many other programmes that we have embarked on, be they human resource development, health, security, remains the best platform for achieving sustainable economic growth and development for our Member States.
It is the platform through which we must build international competitiveness and economic resilience for our Region.
The Heads of Government agreed to the convening of an annual Stakeholder Consultation on the CSME, in recognition of the need for constant stocktaking.
To give greater meaning to consultations, Heads of Government also agreed to recognise the Caribbean Congress of Labour and the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation as Associate Institutions of the Community.
Such an important process must have regular inputs from key stakeholders to ensure that what is developed is fit for purpose.
We must address the operations of the CSME and what needs to be done in order to make them more effective.
These consultations are expected to improve the decision-making process in the various Organs of the Community. The Organs must meet more regularly
These discussions would have to take into account the varying and sometimes competing views of stakeholders as we design the work programme for achieving the CSME.
This morning, you will receive an overview of the work that we are doing on the CSME. A lot of technical work is taking place. But I must confess that I am less than satisfied with its implementation. We have been asking ourselves what more can we do to facilitate implementation at the Member States level, whose capacity is severely constrained in the various areas of work.
And now I am asking how can you help us to bridge the implementation gap?
We need your help! You form part of the constituencies who must have a voice.
It is my hope that the views aired this morning would help in identifying the key priorityissues that must be addressed to ensure that we can implement and operate the CSME optimally.
The outcome of this session and the Town Hall Meeting this evening are intended to inform the discussions of the Conference of Heads of Government when it meets here in Barbados in February.
I look forward to free and frank discussions which will allow for meaningful and realistic recommendations to be put forward, as we strive together to make the CSME a lived and positive experience for the people of our Community.
In closing, let me thank the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for partnering with us today and all of its assistance in various areas over the years. I also thank the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) for graciously hosting us this morning.

Enhancing regional air and maritime transportation and further advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) are among matters for deliberation when CARICOM Heads of Government hold their 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, 26-27 February.

Heads of Government will examine recommendations from a Special Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Transportation, held in St Vincent and the Grenadines on 18 February, which dealt with, among other things the Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA), proposals for a regional ferry service and easier security check-in for in-transit passengers. MASA, when implemented,  will serve as a mechanism to maximize the economic and social benefits arising from aviation activities for CARICOM air carriers.

The Meeting will seek to further advance measurable steps for action on the CSME which were identified at a Special Meeting of Heads in Trinidad and Tobago in December.  These include new categories for free movement of persons, Heads of Government engagement with the private sector and labour, and operationalizing the Protocol on Contingent Rights which was signed by ten Member States during and since the 39th Regular Meeting in Jamaica last July.  Security matters and blacklisting issues affecting Member States are also before the Heads for consideration.

Heads of Government will also have an exchange of views with the President of Estonia Her Excellency Kersti Kaljulaid.

The Meeting, at the  St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino, begins at 9:30 on Tuesday 26 February with remarks by CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris of St Kitts and Nevis; outgoing Chairman, Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.

BARBADOS has joined six other members of CARICOM in the signing of the Protocol of Contingency Rights.

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley signed on behalf of Barbados during the final day of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Montego Bay Jamaica on Friday evening.

The Protocol, which has been in the works for over a decade, paves the way for dependents of persons with approved Skilled Certificates to not only move freely with their loved-ones, but access basic social services. Other signatories included Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.

It is just one of the many initiatives co-signed by the Heads of Government. Chairman of the conference and Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, acknowledged that there is a sense that CARICOM is “all about talk”, and the view that representatives are just “kicking the can” down the road during Heads of Government meetings, with little to show for it as it relates to the CSME. However, he assured that this is far from the truth.

Prime Minister Mottley agreed with her Jamaican counterpart and defended the positions taken over the two-and-a-half day conference saying: “For this protocol to have been signed today is the most significant event in the history of Caribbean affairs since the Single Market was signed here in Jamaica and came into effect here in Jamaica in 2006.”

“This is where it matters. This is where it makes a difference to the lives and decision of people and I think that the media can work with us to communicate in a tangible way what this means for every Caribbean citizen who belongs to a country that is signatory to the Single Market.

“I also want to point out that far from being kicked down the road, the Council of Finance Ministers had not met for five years. The Council of Finance Ministers met on Wednesday morning. We agreed at this Conference of Heads that that conference will meet again in September in Barbados to do the critical work on the competitiveness issues for the Single Market….

“The integration of capital markets, the financial services architecture, the common policy for investment and the code for investment, such that we are not competing against each other in a mad race to the bottom.”

She stressed that these areas are critical towards being able to make the market work more effectively for those who want to invest across the region. She used Barbados as an example.

“In Barbados we have collective savings of just under BDS$9 billion. I would like to believe that our citizens will have an opportunity to have a larger return of what they get now if they put their money in a bank account. A bank account they are getting for savings 0.01 per cent. They are effectively paying the banks to keep their money. If there are opportunities in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname or Guyana, then our citizens should be able to mobilise their savings to make that investment and vice versa,” she said.

Additionally she noted that the conference mandated that those agreements must be in place for signature before next July.

She also made the point that a number of timelines, dates and meetings have been set to address other matters of regional importance, including a Council for Finance and Planning committee meeting in September.

Mottley also commended the recommendation from the Golding Commission with respect to dispute resolution. “Whether persons should have to go to the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is a heavy cost or where they ought to have some intermediate dispute resolution body that is more effective or more efficiency, whether there are other aspects of how we change how we do business.”

“We can’t do this while doing ten other agenda items at a heads meeting. So far from kicking the can down the road we have created a special place and special space in November to deal with some of the larger issues that will hopefully inform our work over the next decade,” Prime Minister Mottley assured. (JH)

(Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, 6 July, 2018) The Thirty-Ninth Regular Meeting of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community continues today (Friday 6th July, 2018). This morning began with the Second Plenary Business Session at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The conference comes to an end today at which point a media conference will be held. Subsequently, an official communique inclusive of decisions taken, will be made available.

One notable decision taken however, is the hosting of a special single item conference to advance the CARICOM Single Market And Economy (CSME). This measure was proposed by Prime Minister Rowley and will take place in Trinidad and Tobago in November 2018.

Additionally, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley, engaged in a bilateral meeting with the President of the Republic of Chile, His Excellency Sebastián Piñera, this afternoon. President Piñera succeeded former President, Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, who hosted Prime Minister Rowley to an Official Visit to Chile in May 2017.

Exploiting efficiencies and opportunities to deliver benefits to the people, was the central chord of Barbados’ Prime Minister, Hon. Mia Mottley’s address to the opening of the Thirty-Ninth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 4 July, 2018.

The Prime Minister reminded the gathering, which included Heads of State and Government of all 15 Member States and four Associate Members, that the true “purpose and passion” of the integration movement was the well-being of the people.

Noting that citizens would not easily “forgive” the Community’s leadership for any further procrastination or lack of courage to deliver the expected results of integration, she charged her fellow Heads to take immediate action on a number of issues. These included a single domestic space for transport and for communication, among others, which she said were necessary for a fully functioning single market and economy with real benefits for the people. Alluding to the efficiencies to be leveraged, the Prime Minister cited the Caribbean Court of Justice which has both national and regional jurisdictions, as a model that can be applied to other areas of functional cooperation including trade and air transport.

She referred to the architecture that underpinned the Community’s arrangements for hosting the 2007 World Cup Cricket. The arrangements not only allowed hassle free travel in the ten countries, but also ensured that any security concerns could be addressed. She pointed out likewise, that the Joint Regional Communications Centre allowed the Region to have an advance passenger information system, making “[it] the first Region in the world to vet information against INTERPOL”.

“The Single Domestic Space for  intra-regional travel must be the place where we must start if we are serious about the Single market and Single Economy”, she said.

In this vein, she reported on her government’s decision to enact legislation to remove the visa requirements for Haitians travelling to Barbados, which she said was in violation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

The Prime Minster called for greater information flows to enable the people to understand what was done and was being done.

“In the same way [that] we speak to our people through this open ceremony in a speech, our conversations among ourselves in plenary (not in caucus) ought not now to be the subject of instant streaming and broadcast?”

“I believe that if we were to do so, many of the things that people relate to and restrict to only economic and trade issues would, all of a sudden, [be] recognised are also about building a civilisation that is premised on the development and well-being of our people”.

“What is needed is for us to foster the genuine buy-in of our people, especially our young people. To do so we would have to first recognise [that] in 2018 we have [a] constituency of integrationists by intuition and beliefs. A generation of educated, worldly wise, confident Caribbean citizens who learn, live and love together; trade, work, and play together… No boundaries exist in the minds of our young people”, she asserted.

Prime Minister Mottley urged her fellow Heads to exploit the opportunities that would allow them to deliver the results to the people. She identified the blue economy and the Caribbean Sea as an example to expand the fiscal space for enabling this.

“Our maritime space is four hundred times that of our land area and unless we come to the understanding of how to conserve and how to exploit to economically [manage] our maritime area; Unless we understand the patrimony of Caribbean people, I believe we will not be able to fully deliver to our people”, she said.

 

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