- Access to CARICOM Single Market Increasing
- Media Workers hear from trailblazers
More than 3500 CARICOM Skills Certificates have been issued by the Government of Jamaica, to date, thereby qualifying the holders of these certificates to work in a total of thirteen CSM Member States, including Jamaica, without a work permit.
The update on local access to the provisions of the CARICOM Single Market was delivered by representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at a CARICOM Single Market Media Workshop on 20th March 2015 at the Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston. It was highlighted that Jamaican nationals, as well as other CARICOM nationals, have been preparing themselves to utilize their rights under the Free Movement of Skills regime.
In updating participants on the free movement of goods regime, it was noted that work is ongoing to resolve challenges which sometimes emerge under this regime, including those relating to non-tariff barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary issues and technical standards.
The Workshop also heard figures quoted by Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Honourable Arnaldo Brown, and published by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica in its November 2014 External Trade Bulletin, showing that Jamaica’s total exports to CARICOM had increased by 11.5 percent over the figure recorded for 2013.
The Minister said that despite continuing challenges with the access to disaggregated data on trade in services, the view is that there is significant trade in services between Jamaica and the rest of the Region. While noting that “the CSM further signals additional opportunities for Jamaican businesses – large and small, traditional and non-traditional” the Minister underscored that the challenge for Jamaica was how to better optimize and take advantage of these business opportunities. Against this backdrop, the Minister called on the private and public sector to work together to further promote trade and investment within the region.
The Workshop was also addressed by trailblazers who had accessed the skills regime of the CARICOM Single Market: Ingrid Emmons, Group Human Resources Director of Sandals Resorts International and Andrea Livingston-Price, Business Management Specialist. Both professionals spoke of the process of securing the CARICOM Skills Certificate and their experiences living in several CARICOM countries without need for a work permit – Ms. Emmons as an employee of Sandals, and Ms Livingston Price as a self-employed service provider.
Participants also viewed recorded messages from Julian Rogers and Julius Gittens, the first journalists who secured CARICOM Skills certificates under the media workers category. Gittens and Rogers urged media workers to monitor the implementation of the CSM, not as mouthpieces of the movement but as beneficiaries who understand its potential impact on national and regional economies.
In her welcome and introductory remarks, Under Secretary for Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ms Marcia Thomas, expressed the hope that the Workshop would further advance awareness of the CSM and that this would in turn generate more interest in regional issues and more insightful reporting on the CSM and on CARICOM in general.
Leaving some questions to ponder, Ms Thomas asked participants: “Could a weekly regional news magazine programme be produced on radio and television?; Should the writing of stories on economic issues of importance to the region be left only to Ricky Singh, Ronald Sanders, and David Jessop?; Can the Caribbean Media Centre, for example, do more to promote awareness of the CSME and help us as citizens of the region strengthen our relationship and knowledge of each other?”
The Workshop is a key activity 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 Access CSME series, sustainable public education strategies and information channels, and Workshop training of the media, teachers and spokespersons 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.