Ministers meet on moving Single ICT Space forward

FLASHBACK: CARICOM DeputyProgramme Manager, ICT4D, Ms. Jennifer Britton, and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox at one of the preparatory meetings in March, 2017
FLASHBACK: CARICOM Deputy Programme Manager, ICT4D, Ms. Jennifer Britton, and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox at one of the preparatory meetings in March, 2017

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) meet tomorrow, 19 May, 2017, as effort continue to move on the establishment of the CARICOM Single ICT Space.

The Ministers convene for the Sixty-Eighth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on ICT via videoconferencing anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat.

Several preparatory meetings of officials were held to advance work on the Integrated Work Plan for the Single ICT Space, and the draft Terms of Reference for the CARICOM-US Joint Task Force.  The Integrated Work Plan will set out the activities that need to be completed for the development of the Single ICT Space. The activities of the work plan will focus on areas such as conducting gap analyses, public awareness, specific telecommunications issues, legal and regulatory reform cyber security, bringing technology to the people, resource mobilisation, as well as, forecasting for the CARICOM Digital Agenda 2025.

The Single ICT Space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of Regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the Region’s populace.

The Single ICT space and the Region’s Digital Agenda 2025 will be constructed on the foundation of the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) which was approved in 2013, and will also have inputs from the Commission on the Economy and the Post-2015 Agenda.

CARICOM Heads of Government approved the Road map for the Single ICT Space in February 2017.

CSME – a journey not a destination: CARICOM Heads

Opening
Plenary session at the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government

A comprehensive review of the current status of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was among the matters before Caribbean Community Heads of Government at their just ended 28th inter-Sessional Meeting in Guyana.

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CARICOM Chairman, President David Granger of Guyana, addressing the 28th Inter-Sessional meeting.

The review, mandated by the Heads at their previous meeting in July 2016, spoke to the achievements to date, the matters being held up by Member States or Community Organs, work that is in train or still to be done, and the challenges being faced.

The Meeting agreed that there was significant progress in the implementation of the CSME, and noted that the areas of achievement include legal and institutional measures and mechanisms to support free movement of goods, services, skills and the cross border establishment of businesses.

The Heads were however concerned that for some areas, decision taken were not complied with in Member States and they agreed that the necessary action will be taken to effect compliance.  They identified some impediments to further development of the CSME, including capacity constraints at the national level, the need for effective consultative mechanisms, and the necessity for timely meetings of the responsible Community’s Organs and Bodies.  Some priority areas noted for attention going forward include, the challenges with payments for goods and services traded in the Region, and completion of the protocol relating to facilitation of travel. (more…)

Intensified public information campaign on CSME to be undertaken

ACTION ON CSME: Prime Ministers Roosevelt Skerrit and Dr. Keith Rowley of Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively at the opening ceremony of the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting
ACTION ON CSME: Prime Ministers Roosevelt Skerrit and Dr. Keith Rowley of Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively at the opening ceremony of the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting

CARICOM Heads of Government have mandated the intensification of a public information campaign on the benefits and provisions of the regional flagship programme, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), as well as a comprehensive review of programme.

The review of the CSME will “take the process forward”, the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica and Chair of the Community said at the conclusion of the 37th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM held in Georgetown, Guyana last week. The review will be considered at the Intersessional Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government in February 2017.

The public information campaign will be conducted in Member States and will target all levels of society, Prime Minister Skerrit said.

The CSME, and one of its integral regimes in particular, the free movement of nationals, were under scrutiny during the meeting, and Prime Minister Skerrit reiterated that the Heads of Government were fully committed to implementing all elements of the CSME regime since they remained convinced it was the only option to achieve sustainable growth and development.

Prime Minister Skerrit reported that Heads of Government held spirited discussions on free movement of nationals as they sought to address the concerns of citizens traversing the Region. He pointed out that even though the majority of nationals were moving without hindrance, there were cases where there was denial of entry at ports.

…this is a matter that has to be addressed urgently as we are aware of the negative views that surface when these instances occur. There is guidance from the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice) as well as decisions the Conference (of Heads of Government)  has made,” he said.

The CARICOM Secretariat has the responsibility for bringing together immigration officers, CARICOM Ambassadors and other stakeholders to address the issues stymieing free movement, the CARICOM Chair said. (more…)

Trinidad accords special priority to CARICOM – PM wants security, CSME on forefront

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Dr. The Hon. Keith Rowley, delivers his inaugural address at the opening of the 37th meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana, Monday 4 July 2016
Dr. The Hon. Keith Rowley, delivers his inaugural address at the opening of the 37th meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana, Monday 4 July 2016

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr, The Hon. Keith Rowley, on Monday said that his country’s continued commitment to CARICOM has precipitated the refocusing of the ministry with responsibility for foreign policy, to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs.

Delivering his maiden address to the Conference at the opening of the 37th Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government on 4 July 2016, at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown, Guyana, he said that even before he took office, cognizance was taken of the need to accord special priority to the Caribbean Community . With this mind, his government paid particular attention to enhancing Trinidad’s relationship with the Community.

In pledging to continue the legacy of former Trinidadian Prime Minister, the late Patrick Manning, whom he described as “a Caribbean man who was committed to excellence and to the Caribbean Community,” Mr Rowley said his government had agreed to reopen a High Commission in Barbados. That, along with its mission in Jamaica, will ensure that Trinidad and Tobago had bilateral accreditation to all CARICOM Member States and an Ambassador to CARICOM.

As lead Head of Government with responsibility for crime and security in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, he also signalled his government’s intention to “take an active role in all matters pertaining to regional security.” (more…)

CSME remains only viable option for economic growth – CARICOM SG

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CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque addresses the opening ceremony of the 37th Regular CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting Monday evening
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque addresses the opening ceremony of the 37th Regular CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting Monday evening

As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government prepare to receive an overview on the CARICOM Single Market and Economic (CSME),  Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque stated that it remained the only workable option for economic growth.

Our Member States remain resolute that it is the only viable option for sustained economic growth. While we have made progress, there is no denying that we could have been further ahead, although challenges remain in some areas. We must do what is required to move the process forward,” the Secretary-General said at the Opening Ceremony of the Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM at the National Cultural Centre, Georgetown, Guyana

The CSME is a key agenda item the Heads of Government will consider when they hold discussions Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.

Acknowledging the challenges related to the free movement regime and the facilitation of travel, he also reiterated the right of Member States to o deny entry. He noted, however, that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had ruled on the specific circumstances under which they may do so.

(more…)