Efforts to mould a cohesive, harmonious Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) got under way this morning,
with the launch of phase two of the CARICOM
Trade and Competitiveness Project on Harmonisation
and Standardisation of Administrative Practices and
Procedures (CTCP), hosted at the CSME Unit, Sky
Mall, St Michael.
Government representatives and other
stakeholders gathered to discuss how the Canadafunded
CTCP, which began in 2007, would continue
to assist regional nations in meeting their commitment
to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and people throughout CARICOM.
In his opening remarks, Minister of Energy Senator Darcy Boyce, observed that CARICOM had to thrive in order for the region to “successfully confront a globalised world economy”.
He noted that, after the launch of the national dimension of the CTCP in February 2012 and the meetings and reports that followed, “Barbados’ review was delivered to the CARICOM Secretariat in 2013 by the consultants . . . Of course, some of our departments raised important concerns . . . These were submitted to the Secretariat and will be reviewed by the Cabinet of Barbados . . . ”.
“Naturally, we assign tremendous importance to studies undertaken on the CSME regimes. [They should] carefully assess the social, economic and political impacts of regulatory and legislative changes on each national society and on regional realities; and take into account the externalities that arise,” Senator Boyce stressed.
Speaking to his country’s continued support for the region, Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados Richard Hanley said: “In July 2007, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would support the region’s development with the allocation of $600 million in development assistance for regional programming within CARICOM . . . “The CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project is one of many initiatives supported by Canada . . . . The gradual progression of work undertaken through this project will result in a more integrated Caribbean, creating increased opportunities for the average CARICOM citizen,” he said, adding that this included the right for CARICOM nationals to travel, live and work in a CSME state of their choice.
“However, the benefits from the establishment and operation of the CSME will not materialise unless there’s full implementation and effective operation of the CSME,” he observed.
Offering thanks to the Canadian government for its assistance, programme manager of the CARICOM CSME Unit, Ivor Carryl, expressed his satisfaction with the progress made with the CTCP project. He revealed that the project was deemed necessary because “we discovered that, having reached agreements at the community level, often, the process by which agreements are given effecton a day-to-day basis was never taken to its logical conclusion . . . The person who is a wage earner doesn’t care that the Treaty says he has a right . . . what he’s interested in is when he turns up at a place of government, he can get the facilitation that is required . . . ,” he stated.
The programme manager also noted that because
each Member State “retains the right to implement
the arrangements in its own image, it interprets the
Treaty [of Chaguaramas ] and implements the
arrangements as such”.
“The consequence being, one could end up
with 12 different arrangements for every agreement.
And, if this is going to be an effective single market,
then the operators in the market would expect that
the arrangements would be as harmonised
as possible . . . .
“What is expected from this project at the
end of the day is that all of the Member States would
have increased substantially their ability to operate
five core regimes of the single market, primarily trade
in goods, movement of service providers, provision
of service, movement of capital, right to establish
businesses across borders and the movement of
persons for the purpose of work
and travel . . . .
“The Secretariat hopes that this project would’ve
solved some of the more basic problems which we
have encountered over the years [with the CSME],”
Carryl surmised. (BGIS)