CSME Important – Betton-Nayo

Story Highlights

  • Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Coordination Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Symone Betton-Nayo, says Jamaicans need to be more aware of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the many benefits it offers.
  • “We need to understand it and be appreciative of all the benefits that come with it. When we look at other regional bonds being formed around the world, such as the European Union (EU) etc., then we can begin to understand the power that comes with speaking with one voice. The CSME is that important,” she added.
  • Mrs. Betton-Nayo added that it is also very important that students, from as early as the primary level, become sensitised about regional integration and the various rights they have as a CARICOM national as it relates to free movement for travel and work.

Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Coordination Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Symone Betton-Nayo, says Jamaicans need to be more aware of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the many benefits it offers.

She noted that the CSME must be viewed as something that belongs to the people and for which they must take ownership.

“It is about people, it is about services, it is about free movement,” she pointed out.

“We need to understand it and be appreciative of all the benefits that come with it. When we look at other regional bonds being formed around the world, such as the European Union (EU), etc., then we can begin to understand the power that comes with speaking with one voice. The CSME is that important,” she added.

She was speaking in an interview with JIS News at a recent CSME forum for high-school students held at the William Knibb Memorial High School in Trelawny.

Mrs. Betton-Nayo said the Ministry has a critical role to play in ensuring that the Jamaican public understands the role of the CSME.

She noted that while a lot of information is in the public arena as it relates to the CSME, “the Ministry is also cognisant that it doesn’t truly resonate with a lot of Jamaicans”.

“Part of the strategy in going forward is to ensure that the ordinary man understands the CSME, and so it is critical that we start in the schools with the students; not just to prepare them for exams, even though that is one of the objectives.

“A greater objective is for them to understand the impact the CSME will have on their ordinary lives. We want them to know that when they graduate in their respective fields of study, they will transition into a skilled CARICOM national,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Betton-Nayo added that it is also very important that students, from as early as the primary level, become sensitised to regional integration and the various rights they have as a CARICOM national as it relates to free movement for travel and work.

She added that the Ministry will be engaging schools right across the country in fora to discuss the topic at length, stressing that “it is extremely important that they are aware of what is happening in “their own backyards”.

“We don’t only want that when there are controversial cases… with the free movement of CARICOM nationals there is a sudden degree of interest,” Mrs. Betton-Nayo argued.

“We must at all times know our rights and be in tune with what is happening with the CSME. When we are well informed, it is less likely that we will encounter too many problems,” she added.

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