CARICOM officials discuss free movement of skills within the region

Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Commissiong and local officials joined a video conference at the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade to discuss the free movement of skills and the facilitation of travel for CARICOM nationals. (C. Lashley/BGIS)
By Cathy Lashley  – 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) — Barbadian and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) officials met on Thursday via video conference to see how best to look at the free movement of skills, and the facilitation of travel for CARICOM nationals.

The video conference link-up was held at the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade and was a follow-up on initiatives taken by CARICOM heads of government.           

Barbados’ ambassador to CARICOM, David Commissiong, explained that the meeting was designed to bring together the relevant officials from all of the member states of CARICOM, so that they could come up with practical and workable actions and procedures, as it relates to the free movement of persons; the rights of establishment, and how service providers could move and work within the region.

He said the initiatives also reviewed the ten categories of skilled nationals who were entitled to move across the region to live and work; self-employed service providers; and business persons and entrepreneurs who were entitled under the rights of establishment to take their enterprises to other Caribbean countries.

Underlining the importance of the video conference, he added: “This is the heart and core of CARICOM. CARICOM is about facilitating business people, [and] workers, to move across the region to pursue career opportunities, to pursue business opportunities, and by so doing, to raise productivity within the region; to raise employment levels and to raise investment levels within the region.”

The CARICOM ambassador further stated: “But you know heads of government can make decisions, can put programmes in place, but then those programmes have to be properly [and] efficiently implemented, and this is where officials at a lower level in the structure have to come to the table.

“They are the ones who have to work out all of the administrative procedures; they have to ensure that those administrative procedures are practical; that they are in fact facilitating what they need to be facilitating, rather than putting obstacles in people’s way.”

Other CARICOM nations participating in the conference were Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The meeting was chaired by the CARICOM Secretariat and there was also participation from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.

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