The Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs, in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat, convened a CSME communication planning workshop on Thursday December 11th which brought representatives from the public and business sectors around the table to begin to formulate a strategic approach for sustainable information flows on the CSME in Dominica.
Agencies participating included The Customs and Excise Department, The Dominica Coalition of Services Industries, The Government Information Service, The Bureau of Standards, The OECS Competitiveness Business Unit, Division of Trade and Invest Dominica Authority.
The aim of the workshop was to employ the participatory approach in strategy formulation, so that stakeholders play a role in problem identification, and in defining the priorities and key messages of Dominica’s national CSME Communication Strategy.
In his opening remarks, Director of Trade Matthan Walter reinforced the importance of ownership by all Dominican entities which are responsible for facilitating CARICOM nationals – resident or moving, both through the administration of processes, or in information sharing about the CSME.
“Dominica has made several achievements in ensuring that it honors its obligation under the revised treaty of Chaguaramas as it remains on the path towards sustained, regional integration. Dominica has removed all authorized restrictions on the free movements of goods, services, capital, and rights of establishment to specified, identified categories of CARICOM nationals,” He said.
Urging all stakeholders to be active and invested in developing new and innovative strategies for dissemination for specific information to all stake holders about how to access and utilize various opportunities which are available within the CSM, Director Walter expressed the view that “These achievements mean little if Dominicans remain in the dark about the CSME Regimes, what they mean in economic terms, and how to access them”
The CSME communication planning workshop forms part of a broader scope to build capacity among public and private sector agencies to develop and sustain well packaged information on the single market to nationals. The project falls under Component 300 of the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP), which seeks to widen the scope of participation by stakeholders and beneficiaries in the process of decision-making, implementation and operation of the CSM.
Opening remarks by workshop facilitator Barbara Jacobs-Small also stressed the importance of ownership and sustainability of the CSME message as a necessary output of the exercise.
“Today’s workshop brings as national CSME stakeholders together around the table to speak to the public education strategy – the people it must touch, the gaps it must address, and the legacy it must deliver; So that the final product resonates with those who will be charged to implement it, because there are its architects”.
According to Jacobs-Small between January and March 2015, complementary activities for improving information flows will engage with four critical CSME gatekeeper communities in Dominica, name Teachers, CSME Spokespersons and Journalists. They will take the form of on-site working groups meetings with personnel of agencies involved in the administration of processes for the Free Movement of Skills, Capital, Services, Good and the Right Of Establishment; training of spokespersons to efficiently communicate on the CSME; training of Journalists to enhance their knowledge of the CSME and its workings; and training of Teachers to integrate the CSME into the school curricula, and engender a regionalist mindset among youth.