CARICOM fast tracking single market implementation
When The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meet in Trinidad and Tobago in November this year, their focus will be on advancing the areas that would help to create enabling measures for a competitive single market. This includes an investment policy, an investment code, an incentives regime, as well as an integrated capital market and securities legislation.
According to CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, his regional counterparts have indicated that these matters would be ready for full adoption at the 40th meeting of the conference in July 2019.
"These mechanisms will enable strong support for a successful CSME (CARICOM Single Market and Economy)," Holness said last Friday night at a press conference following the three-day summit of CARICOM leaders at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.
Ahead of the November meeting, the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CSME will have quarterly meetings beginning in September in Barbados to speed up the implementation process. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley will host the meeting.
Speaking last Friday at the press conference, Mottley said that the Council of Finance Ministers (COFAP) met for the first time in five years at last week's Heads of Government Conference. She reported that they agreed to meet in Barbados in September to deliberate on critical competi-tiveness issues within the single market such as the integration of the capital markets within the regional bloc, the financial services architecture, the common policy for investment and the code for investment.
"These things are critical towards being able to make the market work more effectively for those who want to invest across the region," Mottley stated.
With collective savings of just under BDS$9 billion, Mottley argued: "I would like to believe that our citizens will have an opportunity to gain a larger return than what they get now if they put their money in a bank account. In a bank account in Barbados, they are getting for savings 0.1 per cent. We are effectively paying the banks to keep their money."
She reasoned that if there were opportunities in other jurisdictions across the region, then CARICOM nationals should be able to mobilise their savings and make that investment and vice versa.
Mottley told journalists that the just-concluded conference in Montego Bay mandated that those agreements must be in place for signature before next July.