By Nekaelia Hutchinson
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Efforts to mould a cohesive, harmonious Caribbean Community (CARICOM) got under way on Monday morning, with the launch of phase two of the CARICOM trade and competitiveness project on harmonisation and standardisation of administrative practices and procedures (CTCP), hosted at the CSME Unit in Barbados.
Government representatives and other stakeholders gathered to discuss how the Canada-funded CTCP, which began in 2007, would continue to assist regional nations in meeting their commitment to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and people throughout CARICOM.
Minister of Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce
In his opening remarks, Minister of Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, observed that CARICOM had to thrive in order for the region to “successfully confront a globalised world economy”.
He noted that, following the launch of the national dimension of the CTCP in February 2012 and the meetings and reports which followed, “Barbados’ review was delivered to the CARICOM Secretariat in 2013 by the consultants… Of course, some of our departments raised important concerns…These were submitted to the Secretariat and will be reviewed by the Cabinet of Barbados…
“Naturally, we assign tremendous importance to studies undertaken on the CSME regimes. [They should] carefully assess the social, economic and political impacts of regulatory and legislative changes on each national society and on regional realities; and take into account the externalities that arise,” Boyce stressed.
Speaking to his country’s continued support for the region, Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados, Richard Hanley, said: “In July 2007, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would support the region’s development with the allocation of $600 million in development assistance for regional programming within CARICOM…
“The CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project is one of many initiatives supported by Canada…The gradual progression of work undertaken through this project will result in a more integrated Caribbean, creating increased opportunities for the average CARICOM citizen,” he said, adding that this included the right for CARICOM nationals to travel, live and work in a CSME state of their choice.
“However, the benefits from the establishment and operation of the CSME will not materialise unless there’s full implementation and effective operation of the CSME,” he observed.
Offering thanks to the Canadian Government for its assistance, programme manager of the CARICOM CSME Unit, Ivor Carryl, expressed his satisfaction with the progress made with the CTCP project.
He revealed that the project was deemed necessary because “we discovered that, having reached agreements at the community level, often, the process by which agreements are given effect on a day-to-day basis was never taken to its logical conclusion…The person who is a wage earner doesn’t care that the Treaty says he has a right…what he’s interested in is when he turns up at a place of government, he can get the facilitation that is required…,” he stated.
The programme manager also noted that because each member state “retains the right to implement the arrangements in its own image, it interprets the Treaty [of Chaguaramas] and implements the arrangements as such. The consequence being, one could end up with 12 different arrangements for every agreement. And, if this is going to be an effective single market, than the operators in the market would expect that the arrangements would be as harmonised as possible…
“What is expected from this project at the end of the day is that all of the member states would have increased substantially their ability to operate five core regimes of the single market, primarily trade in goods, movement of service providers, provision of service, movement of capital, right to establish businesses across borders and the movement of persons for the purpose of work and travel… The Secretariat hopes that this project would’ve solved some of the more basic problems which we have encountered over the years [with the CSME],” Carryl said.