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Entertainers and players in the music industry have been implored to be mindful of the laws and regulations of partner countries in the region, by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh.
Dr. Baugh made the appeal against the backdrop of concerns being raised by members of CARICOM regarding the transfer of negative moral values via the music of some Jamaican entertainers.
He said while Jamaica recognises the freedom of speech and expression, local entertainers and others in the music industry must respect the laws and regulations of fellow CARICOM countries, taking account of those partners’ rights and obligations under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Making his contribution to the 2010/2011 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 14, Dr. Baugh reiterated Jamaica’s commitment to regional integration and the five core principles of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) regime, which are free movement, right to establishment, movement of goods, services and capital.
The Minister 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 pointed out that the CSME represented opportunities for local businesses to expand into other countries in the region, but that individuals must make use of these opportunities. “While we will 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 argued.
Dr. Baugh emphasised 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) with the European Community is 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,” the Minister 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, and “to make them work for us, especially as we seek to advance our national trade policy agenda.”
Dr. Baugh said the Ministry would continue to facilitate the consultative process with its stakeholders, by concentrating on four major areas. These include engaging the private sector and civil society stakeholders, through the Jamaica Trade and Adjustment Team (JTAT), “to advance our common agenda in trade policy and negotiation.”
The Minister further pointed out that the time has come for direct contact between players in the private sector in all CARICOM countries. “The mainland countries of the Caribbean – Suriname, Guyana and Belize – have indicated a desire for Caribbean investors to take advantage of the assets, resources, comparative advantage of their countries, arable land and water for partnerships in investment and growth,” he said. He explained that this would require more targeted dialogue with the private sector in order to fully take account of their views and positions in the development of Jamaica’s trade agenda.