Petrina Francis, Staff Reporter
DR. ORVILLE Taylor, senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work at the University of the West Indies (UWI) says the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) can result in impoverishment of unskilled workers, as only the most elite will be able to move across the region freely.
The CSM took effect January 1, 2006, and under its rules, specified occupational and professional groups are allowed to work in other CARICOM territories without work permits.
SOME COUNTRIES WILL BENEFIT
Initially, university graduates, artistes, sportspersons and media workers will be allowed free movement across the single market area.
According to Dr. Taylor, some countries will inevitably benefit more from the CSM than others, because they have more skilled workers and a larger percentage of their population is university educated.
"If you have free movement of labour and you allow the elitist to move, you are going to end up with greater impoverishment and immiseration," he said.
Dr. Taylor told a gathering of mostly students that, if unskilled workers are unable to move across the region, this could also result in an increase in crime and violence.
"Inasmuch as the CSM is going to create opportunities, if you do not open it up very quickly and allow semi-skilled people to move, you are going to end up with a situation that scares the entire region," he added.
The senior lecturer was speaking last Friday at the UWI's Research Day, held under the theme: 'The CARICOM Single Market and Economy: The Opportunities and Challenges'.
MARGINALISATION OF WORKERS
Dr. Patsy Lewis, Research Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the UWI, said the countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States have an abundance of unskilled workers which will result in marginalisation because they will not be able to benefit from the free movement of labour.
Claremont Kirton, lecturer in the Department of Government, said agriculture is important to the development of the region.
He noted that the region needs to make agriculture more attractive and to provide more information on the developments in the industry, to the residents of rural communities.