A new project designed to improve Information Flows on the CARICOM Single Market within Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica and Guyana – has finally been launched under the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) funded by the Government of Canada. CTCP National Coordinators and CSME focal points throughout the six Member States are now working with the project team on key activities scheduled for implementation by the end of the year, and to lay the groundwork for activities scheduled for 2015.
The project will seek to increase awareness activities that are focused, well packaged and tailored to targeted audiences, building on a significant body of groundwork in public education and awareness laid by CARICOM’s CSME Unit. The challenges ahead are weighty but not insurmountable. We acknowledge that apathy and mistrust in CARICOM are at an all time high, xenophobia and immigration hassles are commonplace; non tariff barriers are common signs of fear of competition. But within this atmosphere of negative energy we also sense hope, we see progress and we hear of many success stories. Our preliminary research indicates that partnership building marked by bold and frank exchanges must become the foundation of our strategy, and that a united team – composed of Governments, private sector and civil society – must create communication solutions that will energize our people to action.
Partners, if you agree, we can brand ourselves Team CARICOM. Together we can develop unique communication solutions that will empower CARICOM nationals to test the waters of regional integration, to expand their world and to become trailblazers like Shanique Myrie – challenging decisions and actions that threaten their rights to work, travel and do business without restriction in 13 CARICOM countries.
Of this we are sure: CSME will fail to become the force for regional development envisioned unless our people take their place. This they must do by actively seeking to work, travel, study and do business across all participating CARICOM countries. Above all – and this is the point often missed – CARICOM nationals must challenge those who would seek to suppress those rights by seeking redress through legally constituted mechanisms such as the Caribbean Court of Justice. As the reckless actions of the few make way for legal precedent, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy will gradually become a global force for change and a means to economic development and prosperity for our people. Our challenge is to show that the CSME is a work in progress with many milestones of achievement, and that it possesses a future worthy of our attention and our pioneering spirit. Watch this space for updates on project activities.