Belize has joined seven other Caricom member states in establishing a Coalition of Service Providers to increase the export of services within the CSME and provide technical and other inputs into negotiations for the trade in services.
In a press release Caricom said the coalition of service industries is an umbrella body that represents various service stakeholders including teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, tour operators and cultural artists. It is also geared at establishing standards for the professionals and organizing non-organised professionals into professional organizations wherever this is possible.
The Belize Coalition of Services Providers was launched on Wednesday at the House of Culture, Belize City, Belize. In his address at the launch Secretary-General Edwin Carrington urged the entity not to “squander” the “gold mine” of opportunities within its grasp. He said that though it was “no mean feat to organize the services sector” it is necessary for it to remain organised, “particularly in the dynamic environment in which change was the only constant.” Carrington said the “services sector of the Community is the largest in terms of employment, share of total output, and trade, it is characterized by fragmentation of effort and lack of a common focus to increase international competitiveness.” He also said although it appears the interests of stakeholders are too diverse to foster its overall development it is crucial that the service sector stakeholders be organized.
According to the release the services sector represents more than 70 per cent of the total output and employment in the Community. Due to its importance the Council for Trade and Economic Development had agreed that service providers should be organized into an effective group to interface with member governments in the development sector, at both the national and regional levels. Other Coalitions of Service Providers in the CSME are Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts, Dominica and Saint Lucia. Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada are set to join by April month end. By then, Carrington said, the Region should be in a position to form the proposed Caricom Coalition of Service Industries.