CSME action plan in place

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – It will be full steam ahead for implementing policies related to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), but with some revised timelines.

Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong, made this clear last, as he spoke with members of the media during a press conference to outline key points coming out of the 40th Regular Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which was held in St Lucia.

He said CARICOM had in place a very “comprehensive action plan” for the full implementation of the CSME, namely a Multilateral Air Services Agreement; an investment code; an incentives regime; an integrated capital market; the mutual recognition of companies, trademarks, and business names; and a range of instruments.

Comissiong noted that the action plan was aimed at intensifying the production of food in the Caribbean, so as to reduce the foreign food import bill, with the plan to be rolled out by Prime Minister Mia Mottley when the heads of meet CSME meet in September.

However, the Ambassador lamented that although some progress had been made in some areas, there was still the question of the establishment of a common currency union, which he admitted was “not yet on the table”.

He disclosed that at a special conference on the CSME in December 2018, a comprehensive work and implementation programme had been outlined.

He added that there was some stocktaking on that programme at the St Lucia conference, with the Heads of Government coming up with some revised timelines for the implementation of that programme.

The diplomat noted that one of the major challenges to implementation was the paucity of legislative drafting in many of the member states, and regional leaders agreed to set up a regional law reform commission to bring together “outstanding legal brains” to assist the entire community in drafting the necessary legislation.