KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday July 4, 2018 – The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) will top the agenda of regional leaders at their three-day annual meeting which begins today.
One day of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government – Thursday – has been set aside for that issue.
The CSME, conceptualised in 1989, seeks to create a single, enlarged, economic space by removing restrictions resulting in the free movement of goods, services, people, capital and technology. The Single Market component of the CSME was established on January 1, 2006. While it has recorded progress, stakeholders are dissatisfied with the rate of implementation of some of the decisions taken to further develop the CSM.
In prioritising the CSME, the Heads of Government had mandated a review of the programme which considered the status and challenges. Leading up to the Meeting of the Heads of Government, the CARICOM Secretary-General held a Consultation in Georgetown, Guyana, which sought stakeholder feedback on the CSME.
The forum benefitted from inputs of the region’s private and public sectors and labour, and also pursued matters related to public education on the CSME and will provide some context for the discussions in Jamaica. The outcomes of the forum will be used to inform the review of the CSME being undertaken by the Heads of Government.
During that consultation, there was a consensus among stakeholders that the CSME was critical to the sustainable development of CARICOM but that implementation and buy-in by the populace were challenging. They also noted that the implementation of member States’ obligations under the CSME is uneven and no valid reasons are given for non-implementation of decisions on the CSME.
These and other matters will be discussed by the Heads of Government tomorrow.
They will also discuss disaster management and building resilience in the region, as well as security matters.
Ambassador LaRocque told a press conference on Monday that the decision taken by the leaders at their meeting will be made public.
“We intend to publish the decisions of the Heads of Government….That’s a start in being more transparent in terms of what the Heads have decided going forward, and I think we will continue (with) that,” he said.
Ambassador LaRocque said CARICOM recognises that “there is need for more information dissemination, and there is need for more data on what we are doing”, hence the need to publish the decisions.
He noted that this move is also in a bid to engage more young persons in developments pertaining to CARICOM.