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Programme Manager at the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit in Barbados, Ivor Caryll, said that the level of preparedness for the implementation of the CSME was very high and expressed confidence that all countries would be ready by the 2005 deadline.
“There are really two parts to the CSME and the deadline that we are talking about is the single market, and all of the evidence is that we are going to deliver the single market by next year December and I am very confident that we will,” he stated.
Mr. Caryll, who was speaking at a public forum on the CSME in Negril on Nov.17, informed that the major part of the task to remove restrictions across the region has been completed and a special legislative drafting facility had been established at the Caribbean Secretariat in Guyana, to oversee all the legislative amendments needed across the region.
“What that facility has been doing is going through the laws of every CARICOM state relating to the areas where they are going to open markets and identifying in those laws, what the restrictive elements are and drafting the amendments. This has been done for every restriction for every CARICOM country,” he informed.
He noted that all that was left was for the policy issues to be sorted out at the Cabinet level, and for the relevant Bills to be brought to Parliament. “So, the road between where we are now and where we have to get is very short,” he stated.
In terms of capital support, Mr. Caryll informed that the Secretariat had received “substantial commitments” from the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development and the Inter American Development Bank for funding for technical programmes, including the drafting of legislative, policy refinement and institution building.
Meanwhile, Director of the Caribbean Development Agency (CDA), Jose Luis Liranzo, said that research conducted in member countries, had identified engineering, construction, information technology and education as the main areas for investment opportunities in the CSME.
He however pointed to the need for the education of the people of the region in terms of what the CSME will mean for them as individuals and the region on the whole. This need, he said, was critical in Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) such as Belize and Suriname.
Mr. Liranzo also opined that the CSME should be included in school curricula, to educate students about the body and how it would affect their lives. The public forum was sponsored by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) in collaboration with the Negril Chamber of Commerce and the Negril Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.