Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says freedom of movement within CARICOM must be the foundation on which integration is built, and called for full freedom of movement in all categories by 2015.
She was speaking at the opening of the 33rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), on July 4.
“We must embrace freedom of movement for our people. This must be the fundamental pillar on which our integration rests. I call for the expansion and join our colleagues, who spoke to this earlier, of the categories of free movement to include security guards, household helpers and care givers,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
Urging CARICOM Heads to be bold and inspirational, she asked them “to re- commit today, to full freedom of movement in all categories by 2015.”
“We need to place greater focus also, on issues affecting our women and children in particular, poor and vulnerable women, boys and girls, as well as the elderly and persons with disabilities, marginalised and the disadvantaged in our societies,” she urged.
She called for greater attention to be placed on human trafficking (because) “our ancestors fought for our freedom and we cannot allow present day slavery to exist. We need to look deep within our reach and see what exactly is happening and take action.”
“We must address issues such as the trade imbalances that have become a distorted feature of our single market,” she said, stressing that “we must level the playing field, so that all can compete on an equal footing.”
“Every single CARICOM member state must benefit from our regional integration movement,” the Prime Minister said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasised that the private sector “must feel that there are opportunities to be pursued regionally, through innovation and entrepreneurship,” as well as trade and investment.
By George Jude, JIS Reporter