Nineteen Belizeans from the Government, education and private sectors were formally launched as Spokespersons for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy in Belize on February 25 after a two day intensive training workshop.
As spokespersons they join the prestigious regional network of CSME Spokespersons being trained and launched across the region, and are now on call to give media interviews, talks and presentations on the Single Market. The spokespersons network is coordinated by the Ministry of Trade, Investment, Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection in Belize and is one of two outreach mechanisms now developed by the Ministry to promote rights and access points for the Single Market. The other is AccessCSME, the Workplace Edition – a CSM presentation that can be booked with the Trade Ministry’s focal point team and delivered in the workplace.
Spokespersons training took place at the Best Western Hotel in Belize City from February 24 to 25 and included refresher lectures on the five regimes which give Belizeans the legally guaranteed right to work, travel and do business in 12 other CARICOM countries.
Participants, including representatives of Government, the private sector, CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, Teachers and community representatives hailed the training as fun, interactive and very informative. CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Tarun Butcher described the training in one word: “Awesome”.
Training included a comprehensive lecture on the rights of Belizean nationals under the CARICOM Single Market, simulated media interview exercises, lectures on the role of a spokesperson and the role of the media in development, negotiating media interviews and engaging with CARICOM nationals in different settings.
Participants were encouraged to internalize the CARICOM Single Market by considering how it benefits them personally, then their peer circle, followed by the community and then nation. Spokespersons are expected to promote the CSME in Belize, in very real and tangible ways, pointing the way to the rights of Belizean nationals, how to access the CSME and how to seek redress of their rights are challenged.
Similar Spokespersons groups have been trained and launched in Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica to date.
The Belize Workshop was one of two workshops staged last week with the other targeting Media. Weeks previously two CARICOM Single Market workshops were staged in Belmopan and Dangriga for teachers with a view to supporting the integration of CARICOM Single Market concepts into lesson plans.
The Spokespersons Workshop was coordinated by the Ministry of Trade, Investment, Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat and made possible with funding by the Government of Canada under the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) Component 300.
All Workshops are key activities under the CARICOM Single Market Information Flows Project which is mandated to set the framework for heightened public education and awareness on the CSME led by the focal point Ministries in six CARICOM Member States. This includes capacity building initiatives, the AccessCSME series, sustainable public education strategies and information channels, and Workshop training of the Media, Teachers and Spokesperson to spread the word among their significant stakeholders and publics. The project is being implemented in Belize, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Guyana.