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CARICOM orders comprehensive review of Single Market and Economy

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2016 | 7:38 PM
Skerrit ... the review will not be about cutting the CSME but strengthening the union, which has been meeting increasing skepticism about its functionality.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana:
The 37th Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government meeting has ended with a major decision to "comprehensively review" the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

CARICOM chairman Roosevelt Skerrit made the announcement at a press conference in Georgetown Guyana at the end of the 37th CARICOM heads of government conference.

The CSME was established under the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and people among member states.

Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica, announced that the review will not be about cutting the CSME  but strengthening the union, which has been meeting increasing skepticism about its functionality.

"It is to take it (the CSME) forward," the chairman told journalists.

The review is expected to be completed by February next year when the political leaders meet in Guyana for inter-sessional talks.

It's not the first time that CARICOM leaders have spoke of problems with the union after a Heads of Government meeting.

But it's the first time a so-called review has been ordered which suggests a desire to respond to the growing frustrations of participants.

Meanwhile, Skerrit announced that there will be an "intensified" public education campaign to educate regional citizens about the workings of the CSME.

Trade and immigration issues between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, two of CARICOM's most powerful members, have for years fuelled questions about whether the union is fair.

CARICOM has also faced criticisms about the slow pace of implementation of agreements.

Twelve of the 15-member CARICOM are participants in the Single Market and Economy.