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CARICOM Heads of Government have given the audit team until September to complete its report on the progress of the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding, was responding to questions regarding the slow implementation of the CSME, at a press conference called to give a final briefing on the proceedings of the 31st Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, held at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa, in Montego Bay, St. James.
He said the Heads propose to examine the report to determine the reason for non-compliance with some of the regulations already passed. However, Mr. Golding noted that some countries were facing challenges in implementing aspects of the CSME because of issues such as inadequate institutional capacity.
“There are several pieces of complex legislation that have to be enacted in order to give effect to the decisions relating to the CSME. I speak for Jamaica when I say our legislative capacity is under stress, and if Jamaica can have those challenges, I’m sure that other countries have the same challenges, if not worse,” he reasoned. Mr. Golding said CARICOM must assess the assistance needed to improve capacity in these countries facing difficulty.
The CARICOM Chairman also cited provisions of the CSME which countries found difficult to implement. Free movement was one such example, he noted, because implementation means grappling with pressures related to housing, health care and education.
Turning to the issue of resolving trade disputes, Mr. Golding expressed concern that not enough countries were applying the provisions of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in this matter.
“Whenever there is a dispute between two countries we fight it out in the press…when there are mechanisms in place,” Prime Minister Golding said.
He outlined that there is a provision for a panel of conciliators, as well as arbitrators, and adjudication by the Caribbean Court of Justice. “That’s what it is there for, to interpret the Treaty and to resolve disputes of a particular nature that emerge from time to time between nations,” he argued.