Aug 21, 2017 Last Updated 4:31 AM, Aug 1, 2017

While the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has significantly advanced the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), “we must do better”, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General said Thursday.

“Yes, we have done a lot, but we must do better.

“The private sector is asking us to do better.

“The people of the Region are asking us to do better”, the Secretary-General said.

He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the Forty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana. The COTED is responsible for the promotion of trade and economic development of CARICOM. In particular, it is required to oversee the development, operation and implementation of the CSME.

The two-day Meeting is focusing on the establishment of timelines for the implementation of aspects of the regional flagship programme,

#CARICOMOrg Trade Ministers begin two-day meeting in Guyana on Thursday

— CARICOM (@CARICOMorg) May 10, 2017


The Secretary-General reminded Ministers of Trade and Heads of Delegation at the Meeting that CARICOM Heads of Government had committed to deepening regional economic integration through the CSME. Heads of government, in July 2016, had mandated a comprehensive review of the CSME. The review was done and was considered at the Intersessional Meeting of the Heads of Government held in Georgetown in February, 2017.

“The CSME is the foundation for spurring vibrant regional growth and development”, Ambassador LaRocque said, as he pointed to the emphasis that was being placed on the need for consolidation and further development of the CSME.

The Heads of Government have noted the significant programmes on implementation of legal and institutional measures and mechanisms to support the free movement of goods, services, skills and cross-border establishment of businesses, the Secretary-General highlighted in his remarks, but pointed out that they had concerns about non-compliance with their decisions.

Our leaders, however, expressed concern that some of their decisions had not been complied with. They lamented the fact that some of our Organs and Bodies have failed to meet, to consider critical aspects of the CSME. And items remain much too long on the agenda of the Councils. They also recognised the need for effective consultative mechanisms and addressing capacity constraints at the national level.

Their observations come against the backdrop of the slow pace in addressing some of the elements of the CSME. We have been discussing issues such as Government Procurement and basic contingent rights for a decade or more without concluding on the matter. And there are aspects of the free movement of skills regime and market access for specific products that require urgent decision”, Ambassador LaRocque said.

The Secretary-General that the Council itself is also hampered by non-compliance with its decisions, and warned that the failure to adhere to the rules of the integration movement poses a threat to the credibility of the Community.

The COTED Meeting will also discuss the Community’s external trade policy and strategy, and its preparation for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

44th COTED Officials 9 May 2017 from Caribbean Community on Vimeo.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) will be one of the main areas of focus when Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for Trade meet in Georgetown, Guyana, Thursday and Friday. In preparation for the two-day Ministerial Meeting, officials met on Monday and on Tuesday at the CARICOM Secretariat. The Ministers will consider the regional flagship programme during the 44th Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which will be held at the Pegasus Hotel. The implementation of the CSME is a key agenda item of the Council which is moving to advance it based on the mandate of the CARICOM Heads of Government. In July, 2016, the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM mandated a comprehensive review of the CSME. The review was done and was considered at the Intersessional Meeting of the Heads of Government held in Georgetown in February, 2017.

The Ministerial Meeting will look at timelines for the implementation of aspects of the CSME, including the facilitation of travel, movement of skills, private sector facilitation and the movement of goods and services. The future of the Community's external trade policy and strategy, and its preparation for Britain's departure from the European Union are also on the agenda.    

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque will be the first guest when Chatting CARICOM,  a series of live regional television talk shows, is launched on Tuesday 25 April 2017, at 8:00 pm.

Chatting CARICOM, produced by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) with support from the European Union, will be broadcast monthly on CMC’s regional cable TV channel, Carib Vision, and on a number of national television stations in CARICOM Member States, affiliated to CMC.  The programmes will also be Live Streamed on the CARICOM Face Book page - and on the CARICOM Secretariat’s News Blog CARICOM Today – 


See Recording below:


Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Assistant Secretary-General Trade and Economic Integration, Mr Joseph Cox, has warned the Community not to sit on the sidelines of the digital era.

“There is almost no option to sit on the sidelines in this new digital era.  Whatever is happening in the developed world will also happen in the developing world.  Our tourists for the most part come from developed countries and our current and potential investors as well.  Their expectations with regard to ICT, its usage for efficiency in business and leisure are not far-fetched”, Mr. Cox said.

He was at the time making brief remarks before the meeting of officials of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The meeting was held on 20 April, 2017, via videoconferencing that was anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat.

The main agenda item was the integrated draft work plan for the Single ICT Space which will be placed before the Ministerial Meeting of the COTED. During their two-day Intersessional Meeting in Georgetown 16-17 February, 2017, CARICOM Heads of Government approved the Roadmap for the Single ICT Space.

The Single ICT Space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of Regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the Region’s populace.

The Single ICT space and the Region’s Digital Agenda 2025 will be constructed on the foundation of the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) which was approved in 2013, and will also have inputs from the Commission on the Economy and the Post-2015 Agenda.

“The development of the CARICOM Single ICT space provides an opportunity to be on par with other developing countries and hopefully begin to compete through innovation in some of our indigenous sectors”, Mr. Cox told the officials on Thursday.

The Single ICT Space, Mr. Cox said, presented another window of opportunity for the Region to work together as it continued to do for the CSME.

“We cannot take this opportunity lightly,” he cautioned.

The Ministerial Meeting is scheduled for 19 May, 2017.

Teachers from secondary schools in Clarendon, Jamaica are planning to facilitate an annual activity on regional integration and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).  Over five hundred students from nine secondary schools in Clarendon attended an informational session at Clarendon College on Tuesday, March 14 2017. The students and teachers who participated stated that the event was successful and they will use the information presented to assist with the topic regarding regional integration which is on the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) programme.

Students and teachers said they were much clearer about the CSME and appreciated the practical explanations given by the facilitators. They indicated that their learning of some concepts as presented in text books could benefit from having such interactive presentations on a regular basis. Some students stated they can now further appreciate that cross-border trade, the right of establishment and the movement of people is of benefit not only to Jamaica’s economic development but the region as a whole. The students also shared concerns over reports heard in the media regarding challenges to hassle-free travel within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The activity was facilitated by Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat. Specialist, Communications at the CARICOM Secretariat’s CSME Unit, Mr. Salas Hamilton, gave an overview on developments within CARICOM and CSME-related processes. He also focused on the CSME regimes and opportunities for careers, earning wages, self-employment and appreciating the Community as a single economic space.

Jamaica’s National CSME Focal Point, Mrs. Symone Betton-Nayo, gave an update on that Member State’s participation in the CSME and the benefits that could be accessed within the regional framework. The nine participating secondary schools from Clarendon in yesterday’s session were Bustamente High, Claude McKay High, Central High, Edwin Allen High, Kellits High, Knox Community College, Lennon High and May Pen High. Mrs. Betton-Nayo has indicated that the Ministry hopes to have a similar event in the coming months for the secondary schools in Eastern Jamaica.

The CARICOM Secretariat is collaborating with the Jamaica Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to educate students on regional integration and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). On Tuesday, March 14 approximately 300 students from secondary schools in the parish of Clarendon will gather at the Clarendon High School for an informational session on the CSME.  The activity came out of a request by the teachers at the Kellits High School, Clarendon who requested that the Ministry engage their students on the CSME, a topic on the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) programme.

Specialist, Communications at the Secretariat’s CSME Unit, Mr. Salas Hamilton, will deliver a presentation on the CSME and career opportunities within CARICOM to this gathering of students. The various regimes of the CSME provide cross-border employment and business possibilities for CARICOM nationals, including those on the verge of entering the job market. For example, the CARICOM Skills Certificate allows certain categories of skilled nationals to work in CSME-participating Member States without a work permit, while the Right of Establishment allows CARICOM nationals to set up and operate a business in such a Member State. Other engagements will be done by the Jamaica National CSME Focal Point, Mrs. Symone Betton-Nayo, and other staff from the Jamaica Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

This specific collaboration fits into the programme of activities being executed by the Secretariat as it continues to support CARICOM Member States with public education on regional integration targeting key stakeholders such as secondary school students and teachers.


Download the Press Release here.


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