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Jamaica became the 8th Caricom country to sign the Agreement to establish the Caricom Single Market which is to take effect on January 1, 2006. Prime Minister the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson signed the legal instrument this morning (December 30, 2005) at his residence on Shortwood Road in Kingston, Jamaica.
After the signing, Prime Minister Patterson said 2006 would be “a great year” in advancing Caribbean integration noting that it had been a long journey since the signing of the original Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4, 1973. Patterson, who was witness to that signing as Jamaica’s Trade Minister, said that today’s signing was very special to him. “We have seen a great evolution in the integration movement since that signing with regional leaders such as Eric Gairy, Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley and Eric Williams and later the Grande Anse Declaration in 1989 which introduced a new phase in the movement toward the Single Market,” he said.
Speaking about the benefits to Jamaicans, Mr. Patterson said that the Single Market was not just for big corporate conglomerates but skilled people as well. He said that Jamaican entertainers had shown the way by taking their music to the region.
Justifying the need for the Single Market, Prime Minister Patterson said that it was required in order to cope with globalisation. He said that Caricom and the European Union were the longest serving common market areas noting that countries have been forced into forming strong regional blocs.
The other Caribbean countries that have already signed the Agreement include Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Guyana and Belize.
Ms. Safiya Ali, Senior Legal Officer at the Caricom Secretariat assisted Mr. Patterson with the signing.