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CSME best platform for regional economic growth

Irwin LaRocque Irwin LaRocque
Against the background of attempts by some member states to curtail the free movement of persons within  the Region,CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque has called on the Region to turn the spirit of our Community into reality.

Addressing the Thirty-Ninth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development, he urged Member States to work together as a Community in advancing the agenda of regional co-operation and integration, thereby achieving tangible benefits for all its peoples. 

The CARICOM Secretary General pointed out that  the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) remains the best platform for the economic growth and human development of the region. 

“Accelerating its implementation and use, is the first of the eleven highest priorities identified by the Heads in the Community Strategic Plan. The Single Market has been in operation for some time and is under constant review to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness.” 

“Recent studies have confirmed that the arrangements for the operation of the Single Market are not as effective as they should be. Some of the issues that still need to be addressed relate to harmonisation and standardisation in legislative, administrative and institutional areas,” he highlighted. 

As it relates to the Free Movement of People, Ambassador LaRocque explained that to the average person on the street, the success of CARICOM is measured by his or her ability to move freely around the Region, in accordance with Community decisions which form part of our body of Community law.

“Our less than complete success in turning the concept of free movement, as agreed, into real personal experience has undermined our credibility as a Community,” he stressed.

“We must therefore ensure that CARICOM nationals who may feel aggrieved by the treatment received by border officials have access to a mechanism that addresses their complaints. The CCJ has pronounced on this. 

“We must revisit our public education programmes. We must endeavour to focus on the positives of regional integration and not always on the negatives. The media has a critical role to play in this exercise. As citizens of the Caribbean Community, we all have a stake in the success of CARICOM,” LaRocque said.

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