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Story Highlights

  • Since the 39th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Montego Bay last July, we have continued on the path towards making the CSME more effective and more responsive to the needs of Community nationals.
  • We have just concluded two days of intense, frank and decisive discussions on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) during which we all re-committed to ensuring its successful implementation.
  • We have fashioned a path on the way forward for advancing its implementation in a manner that can be measured and for which we can be held accountable.

Since the 39th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Montego Bay last July, we have continued on the path towards making the CSME more effective and more responsive to the needs of Community nationals.

We have just concluded two days of intense, frank and decisive discussions on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) during which we all re-committed to ensuring its successful implementation.

We have fashioned a path on the way forward for advancing its implementation in a manner that can be measured and for which we can be held accountable.

Critically the dialogue we had with representatives of the private sector and labour yesterday morning was of immense value and we were quite pleased to hear their strong commitment to integration and to making the CSME work. They submitted solid proposals to make the CSME more effective and the conduct of business within the Community more efficient. We have taken careful note of them. That session underlined the necessity for a formal structured and regular interface between the private sector and labour and Governments.

This is a key element of the Golding Report and something we have discussed in the Jamaican Parliament.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, who will speak shortly, must be commended for coordinating the involvement of the private sector and the labour at this meeting.

Heads exchanged views on the Golding Report and made valuable contributions on the future of the Community from their perspectives. The issues raised encouraged vibrant discussion and helped to focus our minds on the real challenges and opportunities in our integration movement. Heads also considered the lecture by Prime Minister Gonsalves which together with the Golding Report influenced many of the decisions which we took today.

We had an in-depth look at what Member States are required to do to advance the CSME and sought to establish timelines for implementation. We have agreed to expand the categories of skilled workers who are free to move, to include among others security guards and beauticians. This inclusion had been of been strongly championed by Jamaica for several years. We also welcomed the Proposal by St Vincent to include Agricultural Workers. These are positive developments for our peoples.

We considered the implementation plan for Haiti’s full implementation into the CSME and we welcomed the assistance that the country would receive from the European Development Fund to help Haiti in their efforts to become compliant with the measure of the CSME.

The roles of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) in supporting the efforts were also identified as key to propelling progress.

We will conduct a special session on Transportation at the Intersessional meeting of the Conference in February 2019 to focus on this critical aspect of integration as a whole and the CSME in particular.

We have appointed Professor Avinash Persaud to lead a restructured Commission on the Economy to advise Member States on a Growth Agenda for the Community.

Other members of the Commission on the Economy are:
1. MS. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA
2. MS. THERESE TURNER-JONES
3. DR. WENDELL SAMUELS
4. MR. CHESTER HUMPHREY
5. MR. P. B. SCOTT
6. DR. DAMIEN KING
7. MR. PASCAL LAMY
8. MR GEORGY MC GUIRE
9. MR ROGER MC CLEAN

The importance of sharing information about what is happening regionally was also accepted and we have set up a working group to advise on how best we can have a sustainable information flow to the people of the Community about each other and about the integration movement.

We are moving towards a results-based approach. The institutions are in place, the process has been identified. Action needs to be taken with some urgency.

At this meeting we have committed to move from TALK to ACTION.

We have issued a declaration which will be available shortly.