Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Immigration and Customs Officers took the opportunity this week to discuss CARICOM Single Market and Economy processes at a training workshop. The two-day session in Barbados sought to ensure there was common understanding of the Free Movement of Persons regime. Participants were also involved in training in Customer Service and the Right of Establishment and Provision of Services.
There was representation from all Member States who are significantly participating in the CSME and some officials were engaged on-line. The training took place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre with support from the 10th European Development Fund and ended yesterday 14 June 2017.
In the wrap-up comments, participants commended the timeliness of the activity and the information received. They also highlighted networking and sharing experiences as a useful tool for implementation of obligations within the CSME.
Participants committed to ensuring follow-up activities are implemented within their home state as they engage peers via the development and execution of training. This is expected to assist with maintaining and reinforcing capacity within Member States.
CARICOM Immigration and Customs Officers will undergo training next week to clarify the roles and functions of Border Officers. The training is also geared at ensuring that there is a common understanding of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in general, and the Free Movement of Persons (FMP) in particular.
The Train-the-Trainers Workshop for Immigration and Customs Officers is being held by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat 13- 14 June, in Barbados. It is part of the Tenth European Development Fund CSME Economic Integration Programme.
The Workshop will also include a module on Customer Service and on Effective Communication.
In addition to further strengthening and building the capacity of these officials on the CARICOM Free Movement regimes, it is expected that this intervention will enhance their ability to train their peers upon their return home. In light of this and the follow-up that is required to make this intervention successful and sustain the efforts, there will be a need to ensure that further training activities take place at the National Level.
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Community’s Strategic Plan, and internationally agreed goals, including those from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will be taken into account as preparations begin for the upcoming Round of Population and Housing Census.
This is in an effort to ensure that issues of importance to CARICOM Member States are considered and that there is greater harmonisation and comparability of the data that emerges from the exercise.
The next Population and Housing Census Round is in 2020, and the CARICOM Secretariat, earlier in May, held a workshop that is aimed at building on the approach that was used in the 2010 Census Round which saw a common core of questions being asked.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day workshop on 16 May in Bridgetown, Barbados, Director, Regional Statistics, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Philomen Harrison, pointed out the reasons why the CSME, Strategic Plan and international goals were identified for inclusion.
The measurement of the functioning of the CSME – the region’s flagship programme – largely relied on key statistics and indicators, and was therefore vital to determine the impact of the regional integration thrust, she said.
Preparations will also take into consideration the resilience theme of the CARICOM Five-Year Strategic Plan. The Plan recognises the threats to the sustainable development of the Region, including financial, economic, social and environmental.
Information on population and housing, and baseline data, are necessary to monitor and report on the sustainable development goals and the Samoa Pathway to evaluate the impact of those interventions which seek ultimately to eradicate poverty.
“Statisticians of the Region are therefore challenged to consider these frameworks which perhaps in some respects are outside of their comfort zones relative to the traditional list of topics that are incorporated in census-taking.
What issues can we include to provide in an innovative approach, the basis for the transformative agenda of the CSME, the Strategic Plan of the Community, the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway”, Dr. Harrison challenged workshop participants, as she urged them to “think outside the box.”
The workshop is the first preparatory one ahead of the Census and was supported by the government of Canada, the United Nations Populations Fund and PARIS21.
The private sector's full, safe and unhindered access to the CARICOM Single Market was important for the promotion and sustainability of economic growth, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Suriname, the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn, said on Thursday.
Delivering remarks at the opening of the Forty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Georgetown, Guyana, Minister Welzijn, who is chairing the Meeting, said that development depended on public-private partnership.
"After all it is the private sector that trades and does business," he pointed out.
His remarks were made in the context of one the main item for discussion at the Meeting - the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The Minister said that his background in the private sector provided a full understanding of the concerns and frustration of entrepreneurs who were facing trade difficulties within CARICOM.
He told delegates at the Meeting that the ways in which business was being conducted in the Region, had a "big impact" on the achievement of sustainable development and growth.
"Abiding by the principles, set out by the CSME, as well as full implementation, shall pave the way for a sustainable growth, as well as establish reliability for our business community," he reasoned. "Therefore I wish to stress the need for full, safe and unhindered access for our business society to the CARICOM Single Market.
Member States, he added, needed to consider what they wanted from the CSME and how to maintain it.
"We must not hinder each other to trade by using non tariff barriers", he warned.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in his remarks to the opening session of the Meeting, also referred to the role of the private sector and the creation of the environment to facilitate its full involvement in the CSME.
"The private sector is asking us to do better. The people of the Region are asking us to do better. "You can send a clear signal of your determination to make that difference by reaching agreement on the Regional Policy for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. It is an opportunity to open the way for the small entrepreneur to benefit from our Single Market", the Secretary-General said, as he rallied the Council Meeting to "do better".
The COTED is responsible for the promotion of trade and economic development of our Community. In particular, it is required to oversee the development, operation and implementation of the CSME.
The Meeting concludes on Friday, 12 May, 2017.