Grenadian students explore role of CSME

By
Updated: September 4, 2015

Nineteen tertiary level students from Grenada are in Belize to find out more about the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. A closing ceremony took place last night and Love News spoke with Salas Hamilton from the CARICOM Secretariat.

Salas Hamilton – CARICOM Secretariat

“To really in a practical, in the field activity, find out what is possible in Belize in terms of CARICOM single market and economy, interview, persons engaged in the ministries, engaged in the private sector, the public sector to understand how it operates in Belize. So I would say that the mission was about exposure, seeing first hand, engaging the process owners in Belize to find out how the CSME is working.

Reporter

“Is this the only group that is experiencing this mission or that will travel throughout the Caribbean region?

Salas Hamilton – CARICOM Secretariat

“No, all of the member states participating in the CSME will have an opportunity for representatives within their institutions to travel and have a diagnosis as well for other member states. Ironically, it is interesting that Belize had gone to Grenada this year and now Grenadian students are coming to Belize. That is the only one that is happening like that. Later this month hopefully we have Antigua and Barbuda going to Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago going to Guyana and throughout the rest of this year, we are hoping to move some two hundred and forty students throughout the CSME.”

Grenada’s CARICOM Youth Ambassador Tahyra Noel is a part of the delegation.

Tahyra Noel – CARICOM Youth Ambassador

“It has been a wonderful experience. It was very informative and it opened our minds to see that CSME can be successful with our help and if we come together with our ideas and strategies and implemented, there is hope for us that there would be a bright future.

Reporter

“Now as a CARICOM Youth Ambassador, you are an advocate for CSME and the free movement of people but what do you believe has changed in the minds of the people that you brought here.”

Tahyra Noel – CARICOM Youth Ambassador

“I think what changed in the minds of the students it that, you  know it is always theoretical  for them but now that it is practical hands on experience for them, it is an experience they can  analyze and make judgment on their own, they no longer have to rely on what their tutors say but what they already experienced. It gives them a greater eye opener to see how can I be impactful and not just what your tutors or persons who have already been in the position say.

 

Che Philip is the Focal Point for the CSME in Grenada. He spoke with Love News.

 

Che Philip – CSME Focal Point

We’ve been able to visit the companies and registrar office, we have been able to visit immigration, border operations, customs, Central Bank, we’ve been able to get access to all of the, and some private sector companies as well. We’ve had access to some important ministries and departments that were able to give us an insight in terms of what was their role in implementing the five regimes of CSME and that’s critical of us because part of the integration process in CSME and CARICOM deal specifically with the five regimes and so that was important to give us perspective.”

Reporter

Now has this changed your view on CARICOM and how the CSME works?

Che Philip – CSME Focal Point

“Well I think it has certainly opened our eyes. It’s very easy to legislate and make decisions in closed meetings. Many years ago and some recently its another thing for those decisions to jump off a piece of paper or document and become living documents in the lives of nationals that were to experience this kind of activity so in many respects I think Belize is much like Grenada but at the same times it’s also very different with its own unique class of subculture, traditions and customs but we all are still part of the Caribbean Community and I think all that is important and the take away for us to be able to recognize that you’re not just limited by your borders  in terms of the prospect of employment, the prospect of being able to establish your own business and be your own service provider. You have the options, the option is not just for 300,000 plus Belizeans but you have 14 or 15 million within a community through which you can access those opportunities.

Guest speaker at last night’s ceremony was Dr. Carla Barnett who served as Deputy Secretary General at the CARICOM Secretariat.

 

Dr. Carla Barnett – Former Secretary General, CARICOM Secretariat

“The rights of establishments as provided under the treaty gives CARICOM nationals the right to move throughout the community so that if a Belizean wants to go to Grenada we can go to Grenada and we can establish a business on the basis that Grenadians will be treated exactly like the Belizean like the Grenadian and vice versa so that there are no restraints, constraints or anything in the way of establishing those businesses. The reality on the ground though is that these rights have been established in the treaty, set out in the treaty so we have that right by treaty but we don’t necessarily have the ability to exercise those rights as freely as we would want to because there’s till remains in some of our countries even though we’ve been removing them some of the restrictions that stand in the way and I know we’ve spent a lot of time looking at those things. There are varying degrees of uncertainty among people in the region about what the implications of rights of establishment means, some people are a little bit nervous about saying anybody can come and set up even though that’s the reality and unless we seek to understand why this is so and unless we work to remove whatever the thinking is that stands in the way of us actually implementing these rights under the treaty the way they were intended we are going to be having these kinds of conversations for a very long time.”