KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday July 6, 2018 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders are proposing that measures be put in place to facilitate easier travel within the community.
Among the suggestions put forward as the CARICOM leaders met in Jamaica for the 39th Annual Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government were the establishment of a single domestic space for hassle-free intra-regional travel, and the introduction of a CARICOM multipurpose identification (ID).
According to Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, CARICOM has the capacity to allow persons easier travel, especially in light of security measures that are already in place at the various ports.
“Before a single person leaves any port, we know who is there, who is a threat, and how they can be addressed. Therefore, the single domestic space for hassle-free regional travel must be a place where we start if we are serious about the single market and the single economy, and if we want the buy-in of our citizens,” she said in her maiden speech to CARICOM following her party’s May 24 clean sweep at the polls.
In terms of the multipurpose ID, the first female Barbadian Prime Minister said the cost to put this in place did not need to be borne by governments.
“[It] is a cost that can be borne through partnership across governments, to private sector and individuals in our region,” Mottley said.
She also called for action to implement a regional ferry service that can be facilitated by the private sector.
In supporting the call for easier travel, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne said that was an issue that must be addressed in the context of regional integration under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
“Even if we solve all the technical issues that permeate establishing the CSME, we will achieve nothing unless we implement the means to transport people and goods across the region. It is an imperative,” he said.
He stressed that CARICOM leaders, with the help of the private sector, must work to ensure the availability of reliable and regional air and sea transportation.
“If we are to manifest our seriousness about a single market, and if we are to convince the Caribbean people that Caribbean integration is real, we must act to establish effective regional transportation, even at the cost of a subsidy in its early stages,” Browne contended.
Meantime, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell pledged to “continue to advocate that our governments work collectively towards more accessible and affordable regional transport for the movement of our people”.
The meeting of the CARICOM Heads ends today. Among the key agenda items on the agenda were crime and violence, disaster management and climate change and the CSME.