CARICOM heads of governments forging ahead with CSME
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday July 9, 2012 – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has agreed to new measures that will make it easier for citizens of the regional bloc to work and travel among member states.
A communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 33rd regular meeting of the conference of heads of government of CARICOM, which took place in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, from July 4 to 6 2012, stated that the Caribbean leaders had recommitted to achieving the original objectives of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), including free movement of skilled Community nationals, access to the Region’s resources and creating the environment for competitive production.
Following an assessment of the status of the CSME, the government heads agreed to focus strategically on the expansion of the categories of skilled CARICOM nationals who could then move freely for the purpose of working in other member states.
The also agreed that all CARICOM nations would be automatically grant a six-month stay upon entering a member state, provided there were no security problems, in order to ensure that CARICOM nationals were made welcome in all member states.
It was also agreed that if any member states were able to proceed with integration at a faster rate they should be allowed to do so, provided that the door is always left open for other member states to join when they are able.
Other commitments made to the strategic focus were: creating the environment for competitive production; and making key institutions more effective.
With regard to the Single Economy element of the CSME, the heads agreed on specific, but as yet undisclosed, elements of the Work Programme and Timetable for implementation in the short to medium term.
The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony.
Other leaders in attendance were: the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerritt; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Tillman Thomas; the President of the Republic of Guyana, Donald Ramotar; the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly; the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson-Miller; the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Denzil Douglas; the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves; the President of Suriname, Desiré Bouterse; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
The Bahamas was represented by Frederick Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Belize by Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Associate Members in attendance were the Chief Minister of Anguilla, Hubert Hughes; and Derrick Burgess of Bermuda.