Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, on Monday said that substantial progress had been recorded in the regional integration movement, particularly with the Single Market component of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). He acknowledged, however, the need to implement the existing plan for outstanding issues regarding full compliance within a specified time frame.
The Secretary-General was at the time making remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the Twenty-Ninth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The CSME is one of the main matters that the Heads will discuss during their two-day meeting. Among the specific issues they will address are administrative requirements in the process to acquire a Skills Certificate, and the procedures to which Member States must adhere with respect to refusal of entry of CARICOM nationals. Heads of Government, in 206, had mandated a comprehensive review of the CSME, the Region’s flagship programme.
The CSME was conceived by CARICOM in 1989. The Single Market component came into being in January 2006. The CSME is intended to better position Member States to grow by accessing and using their combined, rather than individual resources. Its successful Legal and Institutional measures and mechanisms include transforming regional arrangements into domestic law. There have also been agreements and arrangements to establish and operationalise various Community institutions needed for the effective operation of the CSME. These include the Barbados-based CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) headquartered in Suriname, the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) in Barbados, and the Trinidad and Tobago based Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).
In Haiti yesterday, the Secretary-General said “we must accelerate the use of the provisions of the CSME to help us build our economic resilience.” He noted the eagerness of Haiti to complete its internal arrangements to become CSME-compliant. The Secretary-General on Friday, last, in Port-au-Prince, participated in a forum on the CSME involving members of Haiti’s private sector, youth and civil society which inspired his belief that their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will ensure Haiti plays a major role in the CSME.
Given the importance of transportation to the efficacy of the CSME, he said that this sector will receive a boost during the Meeting with the New CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement being ready for signature.
Seen as a major development, the Agreement expands the scope for airlines owned by CARICOM nationals to provide air services throughout the Community. It also allows for no restriction on capacity or traffic rights, and is expected to facilitate increased intra-regional travel as well as cost-effective cargo options.