Senate Passes Bill to Repeal Common Market Act


The Senate on March 18, approved a Bill 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).
Providing background to the revised Treaty, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn who piloted the Bill, explained that in order to bring the CSME into effect and to achieve the institutional changes required within CARICOM, Heads of government had agreed that the Treaty of Chaguaramas governing the Community and Common Market would need to be amended.
The amendments will serve to establish the CSME as a single economic space within which goods, services, capital and skills would be allowed to move freely and economic enterprise would be encouraged at different levels.
“In terms of its broad scope of application, the Revised Treaty outlines 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,” he explained.
“It contains policies relating to sectoral development, trade transport, competition, and consumer protection. Allied to this, special provision is made for disadvantaged countries, region and sectors,” the Senator added.
As set out in the Bill, the Treaty will be made part of domestic law and will enable the Caribbean community to authorize agents to contract, purchase or lease property and engage in actions of a legal person as necessary. 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.
It also 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. The legislation also empowers the Minister, by Regulation, to implement any right or obligation which accrues to Jamaica under the Revised Treaty.
Senator Franklyn noted that while the Act implemented general obligations under the Revised Treaty, additional legislation would be required to facilitate specific obligations such as the Caribbean Court of Justice, movement, as well as consumer protection, among others.
“This is another step towards fulfilling its commitment to be CSME ready by December 2004. We are now operating in a much more globalised environment and what we have learnt is that the stronger you are is the greater leverage you have in the multiplicity of international negotiations. Strength comes from the ability to get yourself into a region, so that when you speak, you are able to speak with one collective voice,” he said.
All CARICOM member states, with the exception of Montserrat, have now signed the Revised Treaty. The Treaty will enter into force when all the states have deposited their instruments of ratification with the CARICOM Secretary General.
In his contribution to the debate, Opposition Senator, Bruce Golding contended that poor countries trading with poor countries could not generate growth, but that these countries had to find a way to trade with rich countries.
He said that CARICOM, since its existence, had been too inward looking and should seek to come together to form a powerful manufacturing, service producing entity that could seriously stand up to global competition.

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