Expressing disappointment with the slow pace of the regional single market and economy, CARICOM leaders took immediate action, including agreeing on the definition and qualifications of servants.
This is according to the statement issued yesterday following their summit this week in Suriname.
“Heads of Government expressed their disappointment with the slow pace of implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and took immediate steps to move the process forward.
“They noted in particular the area of movement of skilled workers and in this regard agreed on the definitions and qualifications of domestic servants, agricultural workers and private security guards which are agreed categories for free movement,” says the press release.
He also said the Chiefs had mandated the CARICOM Secretariat, based in Georgetown, to convene meetings of Registrars of Companies and Ministers Responsible for Companies before the end of July 2022 to define steps for Member States to implement. implement the principle of mutual recognition of any company incorporated in another CARICOM Member State and report back to the Conference at its September meeting.
Furthermore, it was recognized that online solutions designed to increase the efficiency of service delivery in the region have been advanced. The statement states that these include – the Labor Market Information System (LMIS), the Online Business Registration System (OCRS), the Community Public Procurement Display Board (CPPNB), the CARICOM Rapid Alert System for the Exchange of Information on Hazardous (Non-Food) Goods (CARREX) and the CARICOM Interactive Marketplace and Suspension Procedure (CIMSuPro).
Meanwhile, on the agriculture front, the statement said the majority of CARICOM Member States have developed and submitted to their Ministerial Working Group on Food Production and Food Security (MTF) their national targets which should help reduce food imports by 25% by 2025.
CARICOM hopes to reduce its US$5 billion food import bill by 25% over the next five years by implementing food and nutrition programs.
According to the release, the MTF, through the Secretariat, has developed a reporting and tracking tool which member states are required to report on monthly. The CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has been mandated to conclude, by the end of July 2022, various initiatives and programs aimed at removing non-tariff barriers to intra-regional trade.
In addition, the Heads of Government requested the CARICOM Private Sector Organization Inc (CPSO) to expedite the implementation of its various agricultural investment projects.
Already, 19 potential investment opportunities to shift extra-regional agri-food imports have been identified by the MTF among CARICOM member states.
President Irfaan Ali, who is the Principal Head of Government for Agriculture and Agricultural Development in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet, was congratulated for the success of the Forum and the Agricultural Investment Expo of CARICOM held in Guyana from May 19-21, 2022 and endorsed the action plan and outcome statement of the event, which called for focusing priority actions on food insecurity, regional transport , barriers to trade and women and youth in agriculture.
The draft Terms of Reference (TOR) developed by the Secretariat for the establishment of a Regional Consultative Mechanism for Youth in Agriculture, which will assist the MTF in ensuring that youth participation and inclusion are considered in all its efforts to reach 25 by 2025, was also presented.
On the issue of transport, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, provided an update on advanced discussions with the United Arab Emirates regarding support for both a traditional ferry service and a fast ferry service for the transport of agricultural products. A related proposal is awaited.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has been invited to undertake the study of the proposed roadmap on the factors necessary to successfully establish a fast ferry service for the transport of agricultural products.
The focus will initially be on trade between Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Barbados. A working group will be established to oversee the project, which will include representatives from the governments of Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the CARICOM Secretariat, CPSO, and CBD. .
Meanwhile, Suriname has been added as a senior industrial policy official to the core membership of the Prime Minister’s Sub-Committee on the CSME to address the urgent need to develop an industrial policy strategy for CARICOM.
A technical working group that will focus on the implementation of the policy will be created. However, the recommendations would be reviewed and approved by a ministerial task force on industrial policy chaired by Suriname.