Apr 22, 2018 Last Updated 5:35 PM, Mar 12, 2018

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.

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is ensuring that Member States are equipped to safeguard the health and safety of consumers.

With the support of the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund, its latest initiative is a Risk Assessment and Product Safety Training Workshop which opens Wednesday at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Jamaica. The 3-day workshop is hosted in collaboration with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Organization of American States (OAS) Consumer Safety and Health Network (CSHN). Approximately 30 participants from CARICOM Member States are expected to attend the training exercise. The opening ceremony will be attended by government officials and representatives of relevant agencies.

The workshop aims to strengthen the risk assessment and product safety capacity of the CARREX National Contact Points (NCPs) and Standards officers who will be operating the CARREX. CARREX is the CARICOM Rapid Alert System for the Exchange of Information on Dangerous (non-food) Consumer Goods. It will allow Member States to alert each other regarding unsafe items in the marketplace. The training exercise seeks to enhance the NCPs’ knowledge of risk assessment and product safety so that they can better detect and assess potentially unsafe items on the market. This should facilitate the effective and efficient use of the CARREX at both the national and regional level. Topics that will be covered include risk analysis, consumer behaviour, market surveillance among others. There will also be a presentation on the CARREX and its operation. Resource persons are drawn from the United States CPSC, OAS and the CARICOM Secretariat.

In January, the Secretariat provided technical assistance and training to the Consumer Protection Commission of the Bahamas. Approximately 20 participants from the Commission, the Bureau of Standards and other relevant agencies received training on the model Consumer Protection Bill, best practices regarding complaints handling and consumer education. The CARREX was also presented and participants had the opportunity to have their questions about the system addressed.

 

Download Press Release here.

Secondary school teachers in Guyana are set to be more knowledgeable about the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). This is due to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s hosting of a two-day CSME training workshop from Tuesday, January 17  at the Church View International Hotel in Berbice. Approximately thirty (30) teachers will be attending the workshop which is funded under the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund CSME and Economic Integration Programme. The official opening ceremony on Tuesday morning will be addressed by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Neville Totaram and Senior Education Officer, Ms Carol Benn.

The workshop’s objective is to train teachers of first to third form students in how to stimulate interest in and encourage identification of career and skills development based on an understanding of the opportunities offered by the CSME. Education consultant, Dr. Heather Johnson, has been contracted by the Secretariat to develop and conduct the training session. Coming out of this activity and based on participant feedback, a training module will be finalized and it is anticipated that this will be a tool for teachers in CARICOM Member States. A similar workshop was held successfully in Saint Lucia in December 2016 with approximately twenty-five (25) secondary school teachers. It is hoped that this intervention will equip the next generation of CARICOM citizens to view the CSME as their preferred choice for employment and entrepreneurial activity.

This training workshop is part of a wider public education programme on the CSME as the Secretariat promotes the benefits of a single market and economy among member states. Other activities undertaken under the 10th EDF include a series of private sector and rural community workshops, travel facilitation public sensitization sessions and tertiary student CSME field missions across participating member states. 

 

Download Press Release here.

Secondary school teachers from a cross-section of schools in Saint Lucia are poised to be better equipped and knowledgeable about the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). This is as a result of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s hosting of a two-day CSME training workshop from Tuesday, December 6 at the Auberge Seraphine. Approximately thirty (30) teachers will be attending the workshop which is funded under the European Union’s 10th European Development Fund CSME and Economic Integration Programme. The official opening ceremony on Tuesday morning will be addressed by the Permanent Secretaries in both the Ministry of Commerce and Education and other officials from the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

The workshop’s objective is to train teachers of first to third form students in how to stimulate interest in and encourage identification of career and skills development based on an understanding of the opportunities offered by the CSME. Education consultant, Dr. Heather Johnson, has been contracted by the Secretariat to develop and conduct the training session. Coming out of this activity and based on participant feedback, a training module will be finalized for use by teachers in CARICOM Member States. A similar workshop will be held in Guyana early next year with another thirty (30) secondary school teachers. It is hoped that this intervention will equip the next generation of CARICOM nationals to see the CSME as their first option for employment and entrepreneurial activity.

This training exercise is part of a wider public education programme on the CSME as the Secretariat promotes the benefits of a single market and economy among member states. Other activities undertaken include a series of private sector and rural community workshops, travel facilitation public sensitization sessions and tertiary student CSME field missions across participating member states.

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