The Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ CARICOM Secretariat CSME capacity building programme in Grenada has culminated in the deployment of a CSME Speakers Bureau comprising 26 newly trained spokespersons from a number of civil society organisations. Grenada’s new CSME Spokespersons are administrators and frontline personnel from Government and Non-governmental Agencies, Community Based organisations and Business and Trade groupings.
The 27 spokespersons are now deployed after completing a one and a half-day training workshop that focused on Key Messaging, Media Relations and Advocacy. Setting the context for the practical training was an indepth pre-workshop primer on the CSME facilitated by officials from the CARICOM Secretariat and the OECS Commission.
The workshop attracted participation from the Ministries of Finance, Trade, Labour, Education, Health, Tourism and Culture and Youth & Religious Affairs; from key public service divisions such as Immigration, Customs & Excise, Investment Promotions and the Grenada National Training Agency. Private sector and community stakeholder participants came from the Grenada Organisation of Women, Chamber of Commerce and the Grenada Coalition of Service Industries.
The opening plenary dubbed AccessCSME, gave extensive insights on the milestones of the CSME and significant Community decisions, judgments and their implications. Of particular interest for participants were the TCL versus Guyana Judgement (2010) and Shanique Myrie versus Barbados judgment (2012). Day two focused on building the capacity and confidence of frontline civil society gatekeepers to factually interpret the CSM for their constituents in ways that resonate with their constituents’aspirations and values at both a social and economic level.
In addressing the opening plenary, Ms. Patricia Clarke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed confidence that the diversity of groups represented will translate into increased understanding of the CARICOM Single Market and increased access of the CSME regimes by Grenadians seeking to freely move, ply their trade and do business in another CARICOM Member State.
“This training is also an investment in your membership, your staff and your business associates, who are now much more informed on, not just these Integration arrangements, but how to access them, and use them to strengthen Grenada’s competitiveness one person and one business at a time,” Permanent Secretary Clarke said.
Lorice Pascal, one of the three participants from the Grenada National Organisation of women, described the workshop as “a great learning experience” that has increased her confidence in steering Grenadian women towards “the possibilities”.
An extensive list of key messages was generated by the new Grenada CSME speakers’ bureau which they intend to take to their constituents and future audiences. Among these, that the CSM is “a platform for the Caribbean peoples to experience shared sovereign rights in a developing economic space”; “a brand that means endless opportunities for the sustenance of our nation and for our children to travel, work, live and invest in another country, free of fear and devoid of favour”; “the vehicle that can promote unity, growth and development among Member States”; and “”CSM offers opportunities for professional collaboration and work”.
In terms of the ways in which the workshop has equipped them to more effectively explain the CSM and its benefits to Grenadians, a representative of the Ministry of Trade intends “to promote flagship examples with tangible benefits, whether at the sectoral, national or regional level; projecting the possibility of ‘If’ and ‘when’ and projecting the secured benefit that will be derived, particularly in relation to parallel bilateral agreements.