The regional umbrella body of non-governmental organisations, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, today launched a regional project aimed at improving the free movement of artisans and domestic under the Caribbean Community Single Market & Economy.
The project, titled “Making CSME Work for Artisans and Domestics”, will focus its efforts on the five leading CARICOM member nations that send and receive workers under the scheme — Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2006, CARICOM leaders agreed to the inclusion of artisans and domestics to the categories of skills that can move freely throughout the CSME, in addition to teachers, nurses, university graduates, other professional workers, artistes, sports people and media workers. But the rules to allow artisans and domestics to move freely are still to be fully developed.
“This project will help artisans and domestics to fully understand and access their rights at the same level that other categories of workers are able to under the regime. We also intend to provide them with support services as they move,” said CPDC Executive Director, Shantal Munro-Knight.
The project will therefore seek to partner with all the relevant agencies, interest groups and institutions responsible for developing and implementing the regime; including workers organisations, accreditation bodies, CARICOM’s CSME Unit and the national focal points — the ministries and agencies that grant the right to free movement.
She added: “It will also ensure that those who have to use the regime will have a say in how it is shaped. We want to them to be able to share their experiences and input what they want to see done so that they can take advantage of the same privileges and protections that academics and professionals currently enjoy in the CSME.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there. We hope by this project, to clear up misconceptions as the Community moves eventually and inevitably to the free movement of all its nationals.”
The CPDC project is intended to present facts on the benefits to free movement, counter false perceptions and misinformation, and proposes solutions to valid concerns, Munro-Knight said.
It is hoped that following a series of consultations with representative groups, including the media and other stakeholders, lessons from the project can be applied in all member states.
Making CSME Work for Artisans and Domestics is funded by the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund, financed by the United Kingdom Department for International Development and administered by the Caribbean Development Bank.