Guyana is gearing to issue CARICOM Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) to qualify artisans and domestics for skills certificates to move freely under the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) in 2015. Since signing on to the CSM in January 2006, the CARICOM member state has issued 5000 free movement of skills certificates to its citizens to facilitate employment in other CSM participating countries.
According to CSME Focal Point and Foreign Services Officer III, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aneesha Allie, the appointment of a National Registrar to support a register of service providers is also tied to activities planned for this year. Allie was at the time updating stakeholders recently drawn from various agencies, including the Central Bank of Guyana and the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce for a series of Worksite Meetings.
The Worksite Meetings, convened by the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs and facilitated by Right Angle Imaging consultancy in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, are part of an ongoing participatory process to develop a comprehensive communications strategy and work plan for six CARICOM Member States. These include Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Dominica, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Worksite Meetings are one component of the consultancy under the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project being funded by the Canadian government.
As the ministry responsible for CARICOM Affairs, Guyana’s Foreign Ministry also plans to implement a communications mechanism this year at the country’s ports of entry to enable a complaints channel and timely responses to travelling CARICOM citizens.
Notwithstanding the progress report provided by the Foreign Ministry participants at the worksites raised a number of questions pertaining to the approved categories of free movement beneficiaries and how these are likely to impact interpretation and access by Guyanese. These include domestics, and who constitutes a domestic, the relevance of talent as a skill and the switching of one’s occupation subsequent to acquiring a free movement certificate under an approved category for entry to another Member State.
Discussions also centered on making information user-friendly, easily accessible and readily available for all citizens thus making free movement a reality for Guyanese.
The worksite meetings convened have so far engaged stakeholders from Guyana’s education, tourism, central banking and customs and trade sectors. Other planned worksites for the remainder of January are expected to draw participation from the customs, revenue, immigration, tertiary/university, health, private sector and other key agencies.