Express Editorial : Daily

ONCE again, as has happened on many occasions during its 46-year history, the leaders of the regional integration movement known as the Caribbean Community (Caricom) were compelled by circumstances facing them to acknowledge shortcomings, and re-state commitments to urgently address them.

Heads of Government, the conference communiqué from last week’s summit in the St Lucian capital, Castries, noted “the lack of urgency expressed by some states in enacting necessary legislation, and putting in place the administrative measures for implementation”.

This has to do with the effective operation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy, a mechanism which was born out of discussions taken at the summit held in Grand Anse, Grenada, in 1989.

It is said to be the engine through which the vaulting ambitions of the movement will take essential flight for the benefit of the people of the region. A fundamental pillar of these ambitions is the free movement of people and of goods through member states, several components of which call for “hassle-free travel” by the region’s citizens.

On this front, last week’s deliberations were to involve the finalisation of arrangements for the acceptance of the “Skills Certificates” of Caricom nationals wishing to move from one member-state to another. What has been the case over the years since this feature was introduced is that several countries demand that a “skills certificate” be issued in the country to which a Caricom national goes in search of jobs, despite being in possession of same from their home country.

This is just one of the lapses which last week’s summit acknowledged as being in need of those “administrative measures for implementation”.

On myriad fronts there have been stumbling blocks in the way of the realisation of the ambitions, aimed as they have been, at creating a more engaged regional public, and enhanced life prospects. This even as the conference keeps enlarging the categories of workers who can benefit.

When he hosted this conference two years ago, the Grenada prime minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, railed against what he called the “knee jerk nationalism” which stood in the way of easier access to some markets, of the goods and services being provided by others.

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Since she has come on board after elections in her country in 2018, the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been seen as possessing an almost single-minded focus on the CSME in getting it fired up to produce the results which its original architects had in mind.

Through her advocacy, it was reported on the ground in Castries last week that the leaders had agreed to the re-engagement of a new private sector organisation, the Caricom Private Sector Organisation, and a re-invigorated Caribbean Congress of Labour. On the basis of discussions during the first working session of the summit, there is a proposal for these bodies to be engaged a “associate institutions” of the integration movement, working through the CSME.

Reporting that they have “welcomed” these latest moves, the leaders are called upon now to demonstrate the required commitment to realising the anticipated tangible results.


IN poll after poll, year after year, Jamaicans are wont to name crime as the country’s number one problem, which is astounding, given that poverty is such a pernicious element of life here and should easily occupy that dubious distinction.

ASK any politician to choose between making a policy decision that is for the long-term good of the country and one that will get him or her elected next time around and you arrive at the raison detre for our 2020 budget.

Sometime ago before the budget presentation by the Minister of Finance I wrote an article entitled, “The race to the bottom”. This article presented a scenario for our small, open economy in which the energy sector was unable to provide the rents necessary to fund the imports required by the on-shore sector; to provide the economic activity that with Government employment, occupies some 96 per cent of the workforce.

When Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, spoke at the Spotlight on the budget event on October 10, and again on i95 Radio on Thursday gone, he repeatedly said (as I am sure he has at other fora) that the country has to go into a different mode of operating—essentially doing more with less and getting better value for money.

THE Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TTAT) recently issued a public notice that the continued broadcast by “any subscription TV broadcaster airing channels ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox must have the legal right from the copyright owner to do so”

Not too long ago, everything we needed to know was taught to us by our families, communities, elders, friends and in schools. Today, with a very changed world, much of that learning is not provided by those groups and what is provided is not geared to dealing with and thriving in our new world.