12 CSME member states sign on to Contingent Rights Protocol

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CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States which are participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) have all signed on to the Protocol on Contingent Rights and most of them are prepared to immediately begin provisional application of the Protocol.

According to the Georgetown-based Secretariat, the full complement of signatories to the Protocol was acquired at the just-concluded 30th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis. The two-day Meeting wrapped up on 27 February.

Back in July 2018, at the Thirty-Ninth Meeting of the Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica, when the Heads of Government reviewed the operation of the CSME, they reiterated the need to accelerate its implementation and adopted the Protocol on Contingent Rights. The Protocol covers the rights of persons moving to another country under the free movement of skills regime, as well as the spouses and dependents of those who move to another country.

On Tuesday, Chair of Conference, Dr. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, announced that 12 Member States had now signed on to the Protocol and nine of those countries were prepared to provisionally apply the Protocol: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

“This means that the nationals of those countries, their spouses and dependents will benefit from additional rights such as primary education when they move from one Member State of the Community to another,” the CARICOM Chairman explained.

Also at the Meeting, the Agreement on the Protocol for Public Procurement was opened for signature. That Protocol can be provisionally applied when seven Member States have signed a declaration of intent. It will enter into force when all parties to the Revised Treaty sign on.

Another decision that was made in the context of the CSME was the strengthening the consultative mechanisms for engagements with the private sector, labour and civil society. Heads of Government agreed to meet with representatives of national Business and Labour Advisory Committees (BLAC) twice every year. They emphasised that this was essential for enhanced regional decision-making, particularly in the context of the CSME.

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