Apr 21, 2018 Last Updated 5:35 PM, Mar 12, 2018

CARICOM nationals will now have more efficient access to the provisions of the CARICOM Single Market due to a recently concluded training exercise. Close to 300 public administrators and officials across the region have been trained in a new data management and work flow system that will make application processes under the CSME much smoother. The training initiative, a major component of the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) funded by the Government of Canada, commenced last November and wrapped up in early March 2015. It covered CARICOM Member States from Antigua and Barbuda in the north right through to Suriname and Guyana in the south of the region.  

The new system was conceptualized by the consulting firm, A-Z Information Jamaica Limited, who also conducted the training in the participating Member States with support from the Secretariat’s staff. It allows CARICOM citizens to apply online as skilled nationals, service providers or entrepreneurs and for administrators to process these applications, all in a virtual environment. The system has been commended by stakeholders as very user-friendly and efficient in streamlining the various processes. It serves to harmonize and standardize these administrative processes across Member States as well as capture useful data on the use of the CSME regimes by nationals and commercial entities. A manual of these administrative practices has also been produced by the consultants under the project and is now in the review stage. It will be presented at the 40th Regular Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in late April for its endorsement.  

The Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019 identifies, among other areas for priority focus , the accelerated implementation of the CSME, building competitiveness and unleashing key economic drivers to transition to growth and to generate employment and the development of human capital.

The Core purpose of the CTCP is to provide support and resources to 12 Member States as part of their ongoing efforts to further implement and operationalize the Single Market. The Project focuses on the following technical areas:

  1. the standardization and harmonization of administrative practices and procedures which will be implemented via administrative and legislative reform in all the participating Member States;
  2. Enhancing the effective functioning of the services and labour markets through standardised licensing and certification through the Implementation of National Work Plans for Member States to Award the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ);
  3. Widening the scope of participation by stakeholders and beneficiaries in the process of decision-making, implementation and operation of the Single Market. This will be done by Implementing new strategies for dissemination of specific information to all stakeholders about how to access and utilise the various opportunities which are available within the CSME;
  4. Gender and environment sensitive monitoring through the development of gender indicators and development of a Draft Regional Policy on the Environment.

Expected Impacts

  1. Increased compliance by Member States with commitments as enshrined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas or decisions taken by Community Organs;
  2. Reformed Administrative rules, systems and procedures for the five Single Market regimes;
  3. Individuals and entities which are entitled to benefits or rights under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas processed and otherwise facilitated;
  4. Regional and Member States’ administrative and regulatory practices, and environmental and gender objectives integrated into the CSME operating arrangements where appropriate;
  5. Full and free access to labour and services markets within the Region by wage and non-wage earners in professions requiring licencing and certification (Caribbean Vocational Qualification infrastructure) facilitated;
  6. Increased understanding and greater participation in implementation and decision-making processes of the CSME by non-state actors in the Region.

Successful implementation of the CTCP will lead to a more efficient operation of the CSME. The CTCP provides targeted support to Member States to improve CSME Compliance (legislative, administrative and institutional). The Project and its deliverables also communicate to the CSME population that dedicated efforts are on-going in making the CSME more accessible and more user friendly.

The following will be in place at the end of the Project:

  • Improved compliance with obligations set out in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. The Project provides assistance to remedy incompliance occurrences in Member States at the legislative, administrative and institutional level;
  • The transformation of systems, procedures and practices by harmonising and standardising the administrative practices and procedures through the implementation of best practices in all the participating Member States.. These will be implemented through the implementation of 16 best practices in each member States;
  • Improved access to the rights under the Revised Treaty including contribution to solving the problem of business facilitation by addressing some of the efficiency and access related constrained faced by the private sector as they conduct their business cross border in the region;
  • Improved data capturing mechanism for the capturing of data on the Single Market Regimes through the establishment of a Document and Workflow Management System at the Regional level and assistance to Member States for data capturing;
  • The strengthening of capabilities of CARICOM Nationals to enter the services and labour Markets through the establishment of CVQ infrastructure in the Member States;
  • Improved channels for the dissemination of information to different stakeholders;
  • A Regional Draft Policy on the environment; and
  • Gender indicators for monitoring.

The Document and Workflow Management System (DWMS) is a crucial component of the larger initiative to make the rights under the CSM more accessible and to ensure a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness in the processing of these rights. The system will contribute to the achievement of the full integration of the national markets of Member States of the Community into a single, unified and open market area.

The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas calls for the modernisation of Governments Bureaucracies by inter alia:

  1. Encouraging the development of closer contacts between public sector administrations, industries and stakeholders;
  2. Removing impediments and improving the regulatory framework for economic enterprises at the national and regional levels; and
  3. Encouraging cost effectiveness in the delivery of services to the public.

In addition to addressing these Treaty mandates, the system will also generate reliable data on the movement in the Single Market. This has been a challenge the Community and Member States have been grappling with over the life of the CSM.

The system is a fully integrated web-based information management system which will facilitate the movement of skilled persons, temporary service providers and business persons across the twelve (12) participating Member States, by efficiently processing a significant number of documents which fall under the following processes:

  1. Application for a Skilled National Certificate
  2. Verification of Skilled National Certificate
  3. Change of Skilled National Certificate
  4. Application for Service Provider Certificate
  5. Change of Service Provider Certificate
  6. Movement under the Right of Establishment 

Expected Outcomes of the Document and Workflow Management System

The expected outcomes of the Document and Workflow Management System are:

(a) Improved application procedures, efficiency in the processing and approval and increased overall user friendliness of the system;

(b) Harmonised and standardised application throughout the twelve (12) participating Member States; and

(c) Improved capability to collect and capture reliable data which will enable Member States and the Community to formulate/develop policy and take decisions based on factual information.

 

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