As the British people and Parliament drag themselves kicking and screaming towards exit from the European Union – Brexit – we pause to take stock of the latest efforts by our own would-be United States of the Caribbean with our multi-island answer to the European single market and customs union – the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
The decision on London’s future relations with the EU was arrived at by a shambolic plebiscite, organized by the very same ruling party that was in Government when it shaped the postwar compact that is European regional integration.
Two years later comes a wave of buyer’s remorse, as many realize they were lied to by politicians keen to say anything to gain votes, and many others now recognize that they might not have fully grasped the implications of divorce.
It would be wishful thinking to expect Theresa May to accede to calls for a new referendum offering three flavours: leave the EU commission, Parliament, stay within the Union or engage in a hybrid relationship that requires a balancing act that is sure to displease every card-carrying party faithful.
But while the British Prime Minister struggles to hold on for her dear political life, our Single Market and some inner workings operations of the CSME have received crucial support of member governments. The latest initiatives should lead to more significant benefits for many of the ‘Single Marketeers’.
We particularly applaud the decision – at long last – to remove some of the cumbersome requirements that effectively forced CARICOM Skilled Nationals to apply all over again for the same recognition already issued them by host governments.
We also welcome to expand the movement of certified skilled workers to include barbers and hairdressers, farmers and security workers. This sends a clear message, indeed two: the CSME is not just for big business and it’s open for business.
We eagerly anticipate the removal of red tape that has snarled the CSME’s expansion drive.
The Heads of Government who attended the 18th Special Session of the CARICOM bloc appeared uncommonly keen to address concerns about their determination to close the implementation deficit that has so far stymied efforts to improve the personal financial well being of citizens and macroeconomic progress of these microstates.
We are especially pleased that the new Prime Minister, the latest and third Barbadian to assume the post of CARICOM leader with responsibility for the CSME within the bloc’s quasi-cabinet has lived up not only to our high expectations but has brought, from all reports, a level of energy, commitment and determination so long missed at CARICOM, and so badly needed now.
She, if no one else, should know that our attempts to grow our economies beyond current levels of mediocre performance depend on a vibrant and viable CSME. Regional economic integration is needed now more than ever if all hands are required to lift us to a brighter and more prosperous future. Together as one.
Would that May and the Brexiteers learn that lesson before long, before too late.