CSME Consultation Meeting held in Belize

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The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) is a multi-sectoral, supra-national regional integrated development strategy first created in 1989. In two large phases, the latter of which ends in 2015, it intends to move the Caribbean toward a single system of marketing and economy including one common currency and promoting the Caribbean brand to the outside world. More than 20 years later it is moving steadily toward the full goal but there remain numerous challenges including getting the twelve national governments involved to work together. On Tuesday in Belize City consultants representing the CARICOM secretariat met with local stakeholders for the latest round of consultations on two issues: harmonizing regional economic information particularly on the movement of people and capital and promoting the CSME in member states. We get more from Jamaica’s Dr. Noel Watson, CEO of the consultancy firm A-Z Information Jamaica Limited who is leading the discussions.

Dr. Noel Watson – Consultant

vlcsnap-2013-10-02-08h22m50s216“Over the course of this week, we are here to talk to critical players that I’ll help to facilitate this free movement of people, free movement of clothes, the rights of establishments, meaning, you can set up companies, you know, we saw the Governor  here, we are here to  talk to people in the financial sector about movement of capital and we also want to talk about movement of services.   So, what we’re going to do during this particular week is meet what we call our process owners.   So for goods, there will be Customs, the Bureau of Standards, and all those people that give you licenses to export and import; for skills, we are going to meet with Immigration, Labour and all of those organizations that deal with the people moving from country to country; for services, we are going to meeting with the Coalition of Service Industries, or service providers, the capital as you know, we’ve been talking a lot about the finance and the Governor and the finance people to look at how capital moves in the region or their jurisdiction”.

The latest session discusses creation of “best practice models” and delivery of “technical assistance to implement CSME work plans – reform administrative practices and procedures.” It says a lot but Dr. Watson explains that it is all about getting the Caribbean to work – together.

Dr. Noel Watson – Consultant

“This step that we are involved in, I think that it will be a critically…step getting us in the acceleration process, because people are going to be accessed and be able to access their eyes online…and as you know, web technologies are taking over the world.   And so, once people can see and do what they have to do using their phone or their tablets or their laptops, or whatever device they have, they are going to have greater participation.   So we feel the process is going to go for a while, but this is going to facilitate the movement of people, the movement of services, the setting up of companies and even the movements of goods; and increase awareness, so that we are more and more people in the region can participate”.

Dr Watson told us that Belize must take advantage of its opportunities to reach out to its sister CARICOM nations through use of technology. He also tells us more about the new regional database that was developed with the intent of easing Caribbean business.

Dr. Noel Watson – Consultant

“Well, you know, what I find is that Belize is so well integrated generally are like the rest of CARICOM.  Now, the distance, you know, going through Miami can pose a little bit of problems, but the thing is now is tha our solution is technological and Belize has an internet access and so, should be able to use the technology, communicate and access overseas, and so, I don’t think is going to have any more problems than any other country.  It is just that we have to make sure that Belizeans see the up-tunes in CARICOM as opposed to those in the United States, or those in the Central American Common Market or other competing markets.

Reporter:  

“Now, finally would you discuss this reasonable database?   Tell us what it is and what is it implemented for?

Dr. Noel Watson 

 “The Regional Database in going to be a product of the system because it is going to provide information of member states in the central repository and will allow people from all member states, all twelve of the CSME Member States that we are dealing with to be able to access this information to countries, by basically logging on to a window, community system and as long as they are authorized, thgey can come on and quire the Database, find out what is happening in the Region, look for opportunities, look for challenges and be able to strategize on how to deal with stuff”.

Implementation of the database should be completed in the early part of 2014 with regional implementation complete by next May.

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