Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have ended a two-day special summit late Tuesday night convinced that they have developed an improved formula for ensuring the survival of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the region.
'The whole idea of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy had to be confronted and not just kicked down the road,' said host Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, describing the mood of the meeting 'as one of can do and must do'.
'We were brutally frank. There were hurdles we refused to accept,' he added.
Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who chaired the two-day meeting, described the deliberations as being 'intense frank and decisive' noting that the leaders had all re-committed to ensuring its successful implementation.
'We have fashioned a path on the way forward for advancing its implementation in a manner that can be measured and for which we can be held accountable,' he said, noting that the dialogue with representatives of the private sector and labour on Monday 'was of immense value and we were quite pleased to hear their strong commitment to integration and to making the CSME work.
'They submitted solid proposals to make the CSME more effective and the conduct of business within the Community more efficient. We have taken careful note of them. That session underlined the necessity for a formal structured and regular interface between the private sector and labour and governments,' Holness said, noting that this is a key element of the Golding Report and something discussed in the Jamaican Parliament.
The special-two day summit here follows the annual CARICOM summit held in Jamaica in July where Holness, who is chairing the deliberations here had indicated that his leadership of the 15-member grouping would call for member states to take decisive actions to transform the CSME into a facility that will truly serve the interest of Caribbean people.
Prior to the Jamaica summit, the Jamaica Parliament had earlier this year adopted a resolution stemming from the Golding Report that called for a re-evaluation of the integration process, and for member states to commit to implementing a fully functional single market within a five-year period.
Golding had been appointed to chair a Commission that reviewed Jamaica's relationship with CARICOM and the wider Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) region.
The Parliamentary Resolution covered, among...