As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government prepare to receive an overview of 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 deny entry. He noted, however, that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had ruled on the specific circumstances under which they may do so.
To help in remedying some of the problems associated with the movement of CARICOM nationals, training and sensitisation of immigration officials must increase for them to “act more closely in line with the policies agreed to by their governments,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.
As CARICOM marks the 43rd Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, he stated that “we can look back with pride on the progress of our integration process, and forward with confidence to what we can continue to achieve together”.
As a grouping of small, vulnerable states it is integration, that will allow us to achieve the level of development that our people desire and deserve. We have ample evidence over the four decades of the value and benefit of pooling our skills and resources,” he added.