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JEF wants changes to CARICOM Free Movement agreement

Published:Tuesday | June 28, 2016 | 11:12 AM
President of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation David Wan.

David Wan, the president of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), is calling for Jamaica to push for quick changes to widen the categories of professionals permitted under CARICOM's Free Movement of Skilled Persons agreement.

Currently, artistes, musicians, media workers, university graduates, medical and sports persons can use their regional skill certificate and travel freely to work in any of the 12 nations that are members of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Wan says widening the list would benefit the entire CARICOM.

The JEF says some countries may be hesitant in supporting any expansion, fearing that locals may lose jobs.

However, he says CARICOM could develop an unemployment insurance scheme to support countries that may be affected by the fallout.

The call comes just under a week before Prime Minister Andrew Holness attends his first CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Guyana.

It also comes as Holness is set to launch the CARICOM review commission he announced would examine the value of Jamaica being a part of the regional bloc.

In May, Holness announced the Review Commission would be led by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

Holness said then that while the decision to examine CARICOM’s value was influenced by uneasy exchanges with Trinidad and Tobago, it had become necessary to examine the country’s contribution to the region versus what it has achieved.

The CARICOM Review Commission is to be launched at a function at the Office of the Prime Minister at 1 o’clock this afternoon.