Caribbean leaders to further discuss CSME at summit

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will meet here early next week with the implementation of measures to enhance the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) high on the agenda.

The CSME, which allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the region, was the main topic of a special CARICOM summit held in Trinidad and Tobago in December last year.

At the end of the special summit, the regional leaders issued the St Ann’s Declaration that indicated the CSME is still regarded as being the most viable platform to support the region’s growth and development agenda.

Among the recommendations contained in the Declaration is for a more formalized, structured mechanism for engagement with the region’s private sector and labour, the expansion of the categories of skilled nationals entitled to move freely and work within the Community to include agricultural workers, beauty service practitioners, barbers and security guards.

It also called on government to accept each other’s issued CARICOM Skills Certificate as well as reinforcing regional security mechanisms and permitting the region’s citizens and companies to participate in public procurement processes across the 15-member grouping.

The Trinidad special meeting had appointed a broad-based 10 member team, chaired by Professor Avinash Persaud, an economist, to advise member states on a growth agenda for CARICOM.

A statement issued by the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said that the summit is expected to receive an update on the team’s work.

The July 3-5 summit will be chaired by St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who is taking over from his St Kitts-Nevis counterpart, Dr Timothy Harris.

The CARICOM statement said that “several other major matters related to security and regional and foreign relations are also expected to be part of the deliberations.