Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (back to camera) is pictured as he welcomed CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRoque (left), members of his delegation and senior government officials to a briefing meeting on Monday (A. Miller/BGIS)
By Cathy Lashley
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), took centre stage, when Prime Minister Freundel Stuart met with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRoque on Monday.
The briefing meeting was convened to review areas of concern ahead of the prime ministerial sub-committee meeting on the CSME, which is to take place on February 23, and which is chaired by the prime minister of Barbados.
It was attended by minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Maxine McClean; minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator Darcy Boyce; Barbados’ ambassador to CARICOM, Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris and other senior government officials.
The secretary general was accompanied by high-level representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat.
In welcoming LaRoque and his delegation, Stuart noted that, as part of preparations for the prime ministerial sub-committee on the CSME at the upcoming 25th inter-sessional meeting of heads of government, which will take place in St Vincent and the Grenadines on February 24 and 25, he wanted a status report on developments pertaining to the CSME.
In his remarks, LaRoque noted that the implementation of The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas had started with a “bang” and significant progress had been made.
It was his view that the further one advances, integration becomes increasingly difficult, “so it is not too surprising that the pace was quicker at first”.
He noted that something he would have learnt from the prime minister is that while we must take stock of what we have not yet achieved, we must always recognise that there have been accomplishments, because a considerable amount of work has, in fact, been done.
The secretary general said that the timing of this review was on target in the sense that the recent ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice as it pertains to decision making in particular, the determination of community law and the impact of decisions, are now occupying the minds of the Secretariat and all member states.
Monday’s meeting examined such issues as the free movement of skilled nationals; the right of establishment; free movement of services; and free movement of goods. Related issues such as immigration; contingent rights; and compliance were among the other items discussed.
The consultation will also serve to determine the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the prime ministerial sub-committee.