JIS News

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has called on the Jamaican entertainment fraternity to respect the laws and regulations of other countries in the region.
Speaking in the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 13, Dr. Baugh noted that concerns have been expressed by “fellow CARICOM partners” about the transfer of “negative moral values”.
“While recognising that the freedom of speech and expression that we hold dear in Jamaica, we urge our entertainers and others in the music industry to be mindful of the laws and regulations of our partner countries in the region, taking into account those partners’ rights and obligations under the treaty,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
He made the appeal against the backdrop of concerns raised by several member countries of CARICOM, about negative moral values being transferred via the music of some Jamaican entertainers.
Dr. Baugh was speaking on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), which encourages the free movement of goods, skills and services, including entertainment, across participating CARICOM states.
He said the CSME represents opportunities for local businesses to expand into other countries in the region, and called on the business sector to make use of the opportunities.
“While we admit that there are some barriers to trade -both bureaucratic and technical – these are not insurmountable and must be addressed within the provisions of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.” he said.
He noted that while the CSME represents an opportunity for movement of skilled nationals within the region, part of the scepticism of the free movement regime was the perceived immigration threat that movement implies, and the possible impact on the labour markets of the region.
“I wish to assure you, that the statistics clearly confirm that there has been no mass influx of other nationals into Jamaica or significant migration of Jamaicans to other CARICOM countries,” he stated.
He reiterated Jamaica’s commitment to regional integration and the five core principles of the CSME regime. He said the country was well advanced in putting in place the requisite legislative framework and other implementation requirements.
“The appraisal done by the CARICOM Secretariat only last year, confirmed Jamaica’s strong compliance with the requirements of the CSME Regime,” Dr. Baugh noted.
He said that, in the current global mix of complex bilateral, regional and international trading relationships, Jamaica’s participation in arrangements such as the CSME and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was necessary.
“Our trading partners and donors are increasingly viewing the small vulnerable economies of the Caribbean under the regional umbrella of CARICOM and less in a bilateral context, especially in areas such as development assistance,” Dr. Baugh added.
He said this was the reality that Jamaica must confront and, as such, an immediate priority for his ministry would be to ensure that regional arrangements complemented the country’s domestic and foreign policy goals.
Dr. Baugh said his Ministry would continue to facilitate the consultative process, with its stakeholders, by concentrating on four major areas, including the engagement of the private sector and civil society stakeholders, through the Jamaica Trade and Adjustment Team (JTAT), to advance a common agenda in trade policy and negotiation.

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