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CARICOM Leaders Agree On Free Movement For All People Of The Region

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CARICOM Heads of Government have decided on free movement for all CARICOM nationals by March next year, going beyond the current CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) regime of free movement of agreed categories of skilled nationals.

The decision came at the historic 45th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government which coincided with the golden jubilee anniversary of CARICOM.

CARICOM Chair, the Hon Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, made the announcement on Wednesday evening at a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting.

“We have taken the decision to seek to have the free movement of all categories of people to live and work. Obviously, there are some legal issues that we have to examine, and we have given the legal people some months to examine those legal issues and to ensure that they could come to us by the 30th of March to take a definitive position on this. We understand that there are some challenges for some, but we are committed to this,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.

“We believe that this is a fundamental part of the integration architecture, and at 50, we could not leave Trinidad and Tobago and not speak about the core of the regional integration movement, that is, people’s ability to move freely within the Caribbean Community. I think we would have served and we have served the Community well at this meeting by arriving at that decision and we hope to see that it is implemented by the 30th of March 2024.

“This is great news. I think that of all the issues that we have discussed and the number of decisions that we have taken this is the decision that we have taken at this Conference, and I believe the founding fathers are smiling from heaven that the present generation of leaders were bold enough to be able to arrive at the decision going forward,” the CARICOM Chair said.

He said that in addition to the free movement, there are some contingent rights that have to be accorded such as access to primary and emergency health care, and education. Hassle-free travel is another area of focus of the Heads of Government.

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley, who holds responsibility for the CSME in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, pointed out that “out of an abundance of caution and to be sure-footed, there are some aspects of the Treaty that will require amendment, and therefore, we are giving ourselves between now and the 30th of March 2024, to make the amendments, because we recognise as well that there may have to be an approach that does not make countries liable to any form of suit with respect to some of the rights. There has to be a minimum set of rights guaranteed for the movement of citizens that will be discussed and agreed upon, that will be captured in the amendments to the Treaty,” and will have to be financed.

She added that Heads are looking to the CARICOM Development Fund to ensure that each country could bring its minimum level of service up to an acceptable period and level.

“So what we are doing is to ensure that the desire of Heads is met by the reality of implementation… That is why Prime Minster Skerrit said the Heads who founded this entity would be smiling on us because in a very real sense, this is what ordinary people want… in a Region that is under-populated, and in a Region that is facing the most difficult crises from climate to recovery from pandemic to debt to all kinds of other problems, if ever there was a time that we need to come together as one, it is now, and Prime Minister Skerrit was correct in saying that this Conference reflected the mood of can do and optimism but realist execution will ground us and that is why we have fashioned it in the way that we have,” Prime Minister Mottley added.

The decision, she said, now gives expression to what “every Caribbean citizen has wanted since we’ve had control of our destiny.”

Prime Minister Mottley also indicated that Heads of Government have agreed to Haiti’s request for a derogation of the free movement agreement given the circumstances of that Member State.

SOURCE: CARICOM Today

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t these leaders realize that the crime infested member countries don’t have a grip on their own internal security and that their citizens are afraid to do business as usual except the criminals. Criminal connections among Caricom countries provide safe havens for criminals. Until we each member state can manage it’s own security, free movement of criminals is just going to exasperate the crime situation in member states. Security is first and foremost. Law abiding citizens are becoming increasingly afraid to leave their homes except the criminals. Rest assured that criminals are one’s going to do most of the movement. They have free money and all the time to in the world. Some of these islands like ours, where any and everything goes are very vulnerable.

  2. So basically criminals are free to escape from one island to another. This is a bad idea in the midst of the worst crime wave in the whole region. A group of politicians with no thinking skills. No policy analyst. No feasible studies have been undertaken. What a stupid group!

  3. Amen, finally CARiCOM is going to implement a policy that will exhibit the true meaning of its purpose. Even if persons are not offered the opportunity to access certain resources of the country, the ability to visit the countries in CARICOM is imparative, and should be available. At a minimum, if a person from a CARICOM state has the economic resources for a long term stay, he or she should be offered the opportunity.

  4. Sorry but they all look lost. One or two don’t even know their national flag. I guess they already started the free movement and moved their flags. None of them look patriotic to say the least. Good but dangerous move. If legal systems are not strengthened and Political biasness or victimization are not weeded out it will see the downfall of social life in the Caribbean Region.

  5. Does this really mean that citizens of Haiti will have unlimited travel to other CARICOM nations effective March 2024? I wonder if this might cause problems.

  6. To the nay-sayers, who are only focusing on the criminals … I am positive and optimistic that CARICOM WILL put measures in place to accommodate the undesirables. This freedom of movement will have, and/or, must have priorities. Of course the evils will be weeded out. Would you welcome a vieux-neg into your home? I don’t think so, as a law-abiding citizen, you will put them out!! Wait and see – all the hoops that will need to be jumped, all the red tape that will be need to be filled out, etc. It will NOT be as easy as all that. As for the “criminals” – their day and time will come where their passports, etc., will have a black “X” on it.

    Please be, and stay, positive. We are only the lay people, leave the “figuring” out to the professionals – they should know their job, and please trust them to do right by it.

  7. Shut up LAB Rat. This is a bad idea with no thinking behind it as someone has said. U can never trust everyone to do right. St Lucia must be ready to protect itself because criminals with their money will go island hopping and this will make an already poor security situation even worst. The region not prepared for this nonsensical policy .

  8. It would be a tragic mistake to listen to those fools, like they don’t know what’s going on right there in their back yard. Right now its a Criminals’ Paradise; if they be given the liberty to travel from State to State, at the hight of this corrupt world – with such advanced/sophisticated/ and coded language that would make it impossible for Law Enforcement to understand, then make it good Bye to this civilization. Already the Governments around are living in a twilight world, just wait if this proposed Bill goes through. I would suggest to send all of our criminals away, spread evenly in the bigger Islands, see how they like it.

  9. All blacks in the Western world in the Caribbean north and south America and those in Africa are from the tribe of Judah, and wherever they may be. The Chidren of the most HIGH GOD ALMIGHTY, THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM ISAAC AND JACOB. FROM THE 12 TRIBES OF BLACK ISRAEL, ALL MUST UNITE AND BECOME ONE PEOPLE. THE LORD SAID IN HIS WORDS THAT HE WILL BRING BACK THEM TO GETHER. FROM SLAVERY AND FROM THE TRIBULATIONS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH FROM ALL THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD. ALL YOU TRIBE OF JUDAH REPENT. FOR YOUR KING IS COMING BACK FOR YOU. TO RULE AND REIGN WITH HIM FOR EVER AND EVER. TURN AWAY FROM ALL EVIL AND KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD ALMIGHTY. AMEN.

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