Integration Success Depends on Your Knowledge, Application of Free Movement Regime – CARICOM ASG tells Immigration Officers

FILE PHOTO | CSME training programme for immigration officers
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CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General , Amb. Wayne McCook, on Tuesday told immigration officers that they were on the frontlines of integration. As such much of the success of regional integration depended on their knowledge and application of the Free Movement Regime of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), he said.

Amb. McCook, who heads the Barbados-based Directorate of CARICOM Single Market and Trade, was at the time making remarks at the opening of a Regional Train the Trainer Programme for Immigration Officers. The CARICOM Secretariat CSME Unit is facilitating the three-day online training.

“As Immigration Officers, you are on the frontline of implementing the Free Movement regime. You come face-to-face with persons who have expectations and goals, even life changing decisions that will be impacted by your actions. They are counting on you to implement the provisions of the Revised Treaty and the decisions of CARICOM’s various organs fairly and consistently across all Member States.

“You are the gatekeepers of the CSME and much of the success of regional integration depends on your knowledge and application of the Free Movement regime. As Immigration Officers you literally stand at the front lines of integration. You have the difficult task of balancing the right to free movement of CARICOM nationals with issues pertaining to national security, health, public order and safety,” Amb. Mc Cook said.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Amb. Wayne McCook

Please see Amb. McCook’s remarks below:

Chief Immigration Officers

Other Immigration Officials

Mr. Leo Titus Preville, Programme Manager of the CARICOM Single Market,

Ms. Gladys Young, Assistant General Counsel,

Colleagues of the CARICOM Secretariat

Other invited participants

Good morning and welcome to this three-day Regional Train the Trainer Programme for Immigration Officers which is a continuation of the Secretariat’s focus on building regional capacity in the five core regimes of the CSME.     I am delighted to see so many of you here this morning as the Programme’s success depends significantly on your attendance and participation.

The CSME Unit has thus far in 2022 conducted training for the Immigration Officers of one Member State and is considering the feasibility of conducting a similarly capacity building exercise for another/others. The Unit delivered a sensitisation training session on Free Movement of CARICOM Nationals to Regional Media Workers and in June, will conduct a webinar on the Movement of Services and Right of Establishment under the CSME for the Engineers’ Association of Barbados.

The Secretariat is committed to sharing information and providing guidance on the practical implementation of the CSME objectives set out in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and in the decisions of the various organs. This exercise is an important part of this effort.

Today’s training programme is aimed at further enhancing the knowledge and understanding of Immigration Officers on the CSME in general and more specifically, on the rights of CARICOM Nationals under the Free Movement of Persons regime.  The areas to be covered are Facilitation of Travel, Right of Establishment and Provision of Services, Free movement of Skilled CARICOM Nationals and Customer Service.   The training exercise is intended to be very practical and ‘hands-on’ and so a session has been dedicated to the review of Case Studies applying ‘real world’ examples to our training effort. 

 I strongly encourage you to pay attention to these Case Studies.  As Immigration Officers, you are on the frontline of implementing the Free Movement regime.  You come face-to-face with persons who have expectations and goals, even life changing decisions that will be impacted by your actions.  They are counting on you to implement the provisions of the Revised Treaty and the decisions of CARICOM’s various organs fairly and consistently across all Member States.  You are the gatekeepers of the CSME and much of the success of regional integration depends on your knowledge and application of the Free Movement regime. As Immigration Officers you literally stand at the front lines of integration.   You have the difficult task of balancing the right to free movement of CARICOM nationals with issues pertaining to national security, health, public order and safety.

The CSME is built on the understanding that we as a region are strongest when united and working together.  International and regional challenges demand collective responses.  Global challenges such as food insecurity, climate change and pandemics cannot be faced effectively by individual states standing and acting alone.  Equally, the goals of sustainable development and building strong, vibrant economies in our region can only be met, if we work together for the betterment of all our people. 

The CSME Unit is here today to assist in making this task easier by providing practical information and clarifying areas of the Free Movement regime.  By participating in this exercise you will be equipped to train others and in so doing, help create a framework for building the capacity of our Member States from within. 

I thank each of you for your attention and look forward to daily reports on your progress over the next three days.  Good morning and best wishes to all.

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