Workplace orientation of CSME stakeholders lauded by Vincentian Government

St Vincent prime minister Ralph Gonsalves with schoolchildren on independence day. Photograph: Eduardo Duwe for the Observer Eduardo Duwe/Observer

St Vincent prime minister Ralph Gonsalves with schoolchildren on independence day. Photograph: Eduardo Duwe for the Observer Eduardo Duwe/Observer

Vincentian public and private sector personnel are receiving one-on-one orientation sessions on the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) through a schedule of workplace meetings organized by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU). Minister for Reconciliation, the Public Service, Department of Labour, Information and Ecclesiastical Affairs, Hon. Maxwell Charles has hailed the activity as timely for his government.

The schedule of meetings, from 19 – 23 January 2015, is bringing a number of updates to CSM stakeholders. Among these: That system and process harmonization across CARICOM is in a very advanced stage; St. Vincent and the Grenadines boasts an enviable level of compliance in terms of legal and administrative arrangements in place, and that strides are being made to ensure that Vincentians applying for CARICOM Skills certificates and the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) accreditation can be processed more efficiently.

Facilitating the sessions is a resource panel led by St Vincent and the Grenadines’ ambassador to CARICOM H.E. Ellsworth John, and composed of senior public officers is clarifying the processes related to the CSM Regimes – Free Movement of Goods, Skills, Services and the Right of Establishment.

The timeliness of the activity for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Government, said Minister Charles is that it takes place as government ministries are in the process of articulating their work programmes for 2015. Accordingly, activities on the CSM will be incorporated into the work programmes of the various departments that play a central or customer-facing role in CSM awareness or facilitation of Vincentians seeking to move to look for new opportunity within the market space.

“Stakeholders are asking for greater emphasis on developing the present and future growth sectors of the Caribbean economy. Both the Labour Department and the Public Sector Reform Unit (PRSU) have a crucial role to play here”, Hon. Charles told participating officers from his ministry.
According to Minister Charles the CSME brings “an exciting dimension” to the role of the PRSU, which is instrumental in building national capacity to enable Vincentians to take up the benefits of the CARICOM Single Market both locally and regionally. The Minister has voiced his intention to collaborate across the public service and “use all available communication media to educate Vincentians on the range of benefits under the CSME, while equipping them on how best to capitalize on these opportunities”.

The worksite meetings are one component of the project by the CARICOM Secretariat to improve information flows on the CSME. The project is funded by the Canadian Government under the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP).

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