By Alphea Saunders
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Jamaicans and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals should, by June 2014, have easier access to member states, and be able to fully exercise their rights to travel, work and seek out other opportunities as provided for under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
This is being facilitated through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP), under which a critical electronic database is being established.
It will, among other things, provide member countries with aggregated information on the various skill sets available, through a web-based portal being developed by project consultant, A-Z Information Jamaica Limited.
Additionally, the consultant is proposing that the CARICOM national skills certificate be standardised across countries, and presented in the form of a stamp in passports. This will eliminate the discrepancies in the format of certificates, as well as the need for a physical document and result in ease of processing at the various points of entry across member countries.
This was outlined during a ceremony held on October 8 in Kingston for the in-country launch of the consultancy to create best practice models and deliver technical assistance to implement national CSME work plans (reform administrative practices and procedures).
Addressing the forum, permanent secretary in the ministry of industry, investment and commerce, Vivian Brown, said the consultancy was a platform to learn, and improve operational capacities.
“In so doing, we believe that the beneficiaries of the CSME, including Jamaica, will be able to fully access the various regimes and utilize the arrangements that have been established. The work undertaken by this consultancy will further advance the work of the CSME, particularly since seven years after its inception, the CSME continues to be a work in progress and is currently operating at only a fraction of overall compliance,” he said.
Brown said the CTCP is the most recent and comprehensive effort to fully achieve the goal of the CSME. The CTCP is aimed at contributing to the deepening of the regional integration process, and specifically, the harmonisation of administrative practices and procedures relating to the five regimes under the CSME -- the free movement of goods, capital, services, skills, and the right to establish companies and business enterprises and be treated as a national.
Under the CTCP, the CARICOM Secretariat, in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat and participating countries will fulfill parts of the mandate given by the Community to work with member states to implement their CSME obligations.
The 12 participating states include: Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname and Dominica.
A-Z Information Jamaica Limited is establishing component 100 (harmonisation and standardization of administrative practices and procedures) of the CTCP.