CARICOM Heads of Government last night issued a declaration on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) which includes a commitment to amend the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to include as associate institutions: representative bodies of Private Sector and Labour and it also defines new categories of skilled workers eligible for free movement.
The St Ann’s Declaration on the CSME was issued following the 18th special meeting of the conference of Heads of Government held in Trinidad and Tobago from December 3-4. It provides for a formalized, structured mechanism to facilitate dialogue between the councils of the Community and the private sector and labour.
Heads of State have, according to the declaration, agreed to finalise a regime that permits citizens and companies of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to participate in the Public Procurement processes in member states by the year 2019 and have signaled their intention to take the steps necessary to allow for mutual recognition of companies incorporated in a CARICOM member state.
Additionally Agricultural Workers, Beauty Service Practitioners, Barbers and Security Guards have been added to the agreed categories of skilled nationals who are entitled to move freely and seek employment within the community while a commitment has been made to complete legislative and other arrangements in all member states for all categories of Free Movement of Skilled Persons.
A restructured commission on the Economy to advise Member States on a common Growth Agenda is set to be led by Professor Avinash Persaud of Barbados. Also on the commission are Chester Humphrey, Dr. Damien King, Georgy McGuire, Roger McLean, Dr. Wendell Samuel, P. B. Scott, Therese Turner-Jones, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Pascal Lamy.
There has also been agreement that “those member states so willing” will move to full free movement within the next three years while all states have agreed examine the re-introduction of the single domestic space for passengers in the region and agreed to work towards having a single security check for direct transit passengers on multi-stop intra-CARICOM flights.
A special session on Air and Maritime transportation is set for the intersessional meeting in February and will focus on realizing the single security check in light of another resolution which calls for any initiative which is consistent with the revised treaty to have accelerated implementation.
According to the declaration these resolutions were reached based on the conviction that the CSME continues to be the most viable platform for supporting growth and development in CARICOM members states.