CARICOM: CSME Member States Sign on to Contingent Rights Protocol

Caricom Headquarters
Georgetown. Guyana.

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Monday March 4, 2019 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States that are participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) have all signed on to the Protocol on Contingent Rights and most of them are prepared to immediately begin provisional application of the Protocol.

The Protocol covers the rights of persons moving to another country under the free movement of skills regime, as well as the spouses and dependents of those who move to another country.   

The full complement of signatories to the Protocol was acquired at the recently concluded 30th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis, the CARICOM Secretariat said.

Back in July 2018, at the 39th Meeting of the Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica, when the Heads of Government reviewed the operation of the CSME, they reiterated the need to accelerate its implementation and adopted the Protocol on Contingent Rights.

CARICOM Chairman and St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, has announced that all 12 Member States have now signed on to the Protocol and nine of those countries were prepared to provisionally apply the Protocol: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

“This means that the nationals of those countries, their spouses and dependents will benefit from additional rights such as primary education when they move from one Member State of the Community to another,” he explained.

Also at the meeting, the Agreement on the Protocol for Public Procurement was opened for signature.That Protocol can be provisionally applied when seven Member States have signed a declaration of intent. It will enter into force when all parties to the Revised Treaty sign on.

“We’ve also reached agreement on a protocol to deal with public procurement that would open the regional market for goods and services procured by public entities. Two countries signed this agreement during the course of the Meeting,” Prime Minister Harris said.

Another decision that was made in the context of the CSME was the strengthening the consultative mechanisms for engagements with the private sector, labour and civil society. Heads of Government agreed to meet with representatives of national Business and Labour Advisory Committees (BLAC) twice every year. They emphasised that this was essential for enhanced regional decision-making, particularly in the context of the CSME.

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