Caribbean Community and Common Market Act to be Repealed


Debate is to begin next week in the House on an ‘Act to Repeal the Caribbean Community and Common Market Act’, to make new provisions to implement the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas as the constituent legal instrument of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, K.D. Knight who piloted the Bill in the House yesterday (February 24), explained that Jamaica signed the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Revised Treaty on February 5, 2002 in Belize.
This, he said allowed Jamaica to provisionally apply the Revised Treaty, pending the passing of legislation to fully implement the Treaty obligations into domestic law. “The revised Treaty represents the culmination of seven years of work. The goal is to expand and deepen regional integration by establishing a single economic space, the Caribbean Single Market and Economy,” Mr. Knight said. Jamaica deposited its instrument of ratification of the Revised Treaty in September 2003.
In this economic space, goods, services, capital and skills could move freely and a commercial presence could be readily established, the Minister explained.
The CSME was created by amending the 1973 Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the Caribbean Community and Common Market. The original Treaty was amended by nine protocols which were negotiated among the CARICOM member states over several years. The Protocols were then consolidated into the Revised Treaty.
Minister Knight pointed out that the Revised Treaty addressed a range of institutional arrangements, including the definition of the organs of the community as well as the role and function of the CARICOM Secretariat.
It also outlined policies for sectoral development, trade, transport, competition and consumer protection, he noted, adding that special provisions were made for disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors.
The Minister said that while the legislation would enable the implementation of obligations contained in the Revised Treaty, additional legislation would be required to implement specific obligations arising from Jamaica’s participation in the CSME.
Some of these obligations include measures relating to the regional competition commission, and consumer protection. Mr. Knight indicated that a Bill would be tabled in the House soon, regarding the latter.
All CARICOM member states, with the exception of Montserrat, have now signed the Revised Treaty. It will enter into force when all the states have deposited their instruments of ratification with the CARICOM Secretary General.
As set out in the Bill, the Treaty will be made part of domestic law. Minister Knight explained that Clause four of the Bill contains an obligation for the Government of Jamaica to pay into the Consolidated Fund, any money which should be paid to the Community as part of Jamaica’s contribution.
Meanwhile, Clause five authorizes the Minister responsible for CARICOM affairs, by regulation, which is subject to affirmative resolution, to provide for the implementation of Jamaica’s obligations to the Caribbean Community. It also empowers the Minister, by regulation, to implement any right or obligation, which accrues to Jamaica under the Revised Treaty. Clause six contains the provision, which will assist in preserving a uniformed interpretation of the revised Treaty. If during the hearing of any matter before a Jamaican Court, a question on the interpretation of the revised Treaty arises, the Court must refer the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Minister Knight further explained that Clause seven dealt with the production of evidence in legal proceedings in Jamaica. It stipulates that a copy of an instrument issued by any organ of the Caribbean community or any document held by the CARICOM Secretariat or any extract of such document can be admitted into evidence if it is certified by the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community as a true copy.
Clause eight empowers the Minister to give effect in domestic law to amendments to the revised Treaty. Further, Clause nine provides that in the event of any inconsistency between the Bill and any law, other than the Constitution, the Bill will prevail. In Clause ten, provision is made for the interim preservation of existing measures until new ones are made.
Urging his colleagues to read the Revised Treaty, Minister Knight said: “Digest this, because in creating the CSME, this is an extraordinarily important move that is being made and will affect the future of the country. This is the deepest integration movement that we have, equalled perhaps only by the European Union”.
“We need, as Parliamentarians, to understand it and then to communicate it to the wider society and to get the people of Jamaica totally involved and worked up about it,” he added.
The Minister pointed out that from this integration movement, there could be great opportunities, especially for small and medium enterprises.
“In terms of the CSME, it is the platform on which we are going to be able to launch the region onto the wider international trade arena and it will help us to be able to negotiate in a meaningful way,” he emphasised.

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