Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Regional private sector and labour movement hold talks with CARICOM leaders

Published:Thursday | July 4, 2019 | 4:30 PM
Gordon Charles, Chief Executive Officer of the St Luca-based J.Q Charles Group of Companies - CMC photo

CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – Representatives of the regional private sector and labour movement Thursday held “positive” discussions with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders on efforts to push forward the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour, and services across the 15-member grouping.

The meeting is as a result of an initiative that is being pushed by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has lead responsibility within the CARICOM quasi-cabinet for the CSME, to get more of the region’s stakeholders involved in the initiative amid concerns about the implementation defect regarding the various measures.

CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, told the Caribbean Media Corporation that the meeting “went very well” with both the private sector and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) being represented.

 “There was a discussion of them organising the regional private sector organisation which will be constituted in the coming months and once that is constituted the conference will be willing to consider making an associate institution of the Community to allow for greater collaboration and participation in the CSME.

“So we had a very good discussion,” LaRocque said.

Gordon Charles, the chief executive officer of the St Luca-based J.Q Charles Group of Companies, was among the private sector delegation that met with the regional leaders.

He told CMC that “our role today was to put forth to the CARICOM leaders a structure upon which the private sector will engage with the CARICOM heads.”

He said Mottley had challenged the private sector across the region to get together and to form some sort of body “that would allow us to engage and to help them advance the CSME.”

He said what the private sector group did was to formally introduce the Caribbean Private Sector Organisation (CPSO), adding that the organising committee, with the assistance of a consultant, put together the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the private sector and CARICOM.

He said another MOU has been drafted between the Barbados government and the CPSO “where we intend to house ourselves and the reasons for that is specifically because Barbados is also the seat for CSME.

“We are now relying on the CARICOM heads to adopt us as part of the regular CARICOM Community,” he added.

President of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank, Dr Warren Smith, told CMC that region’s premier financial institution regards the private sector as having a major role to play in moving forward the ambitions of the CSME.

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