The CSME aims to harmonise rules for the movement of capital, goods and services, as well as skills among the member countries of the regional trading bloc.
Phase two of the CARICOM-Canadian International Development Agency Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) aims to drive the process by “harmonising legislative and administrative systems and processes” among CARICOM member states.
A key feature of the initiative, implementation of the Component 100 of the CTCP, was the focus of Monday’s launch.
A-Z Information Jamaica was tasked with reforming the administrative practices of member states to ensure uniformity and acceptance of best practices.
“The whole movement of service providers has not been formalised,” said chief executive officer of A-Z Information Jamaica, Noel Watson.
Professionals such as accountants and consultants who travel to Caribbean territories to work declare themselves to be on holiday, “because there is no sort of legislative framework under which we can pass through as a service providers”, Watson told Thursday Business.
Under the CTCP, he said, passports will be stamped with a certificate “so when you move to another country they will recognise you as a CARICOM service provider and give you access under that regime and you can actually go and work as long as you have a contract”, Watson said.
To qualify for free movement, persons will need to hold a national skills certificate, and service providers must offer proof that they are certified to do the job, Watson said.
The CTCP is expected to enhance the functioning of the services and labour markets through standardised licensing, certification and mutual recognition of licences and certificates, as well as bolster stakeholder participation in decision making and implementation of the CSME.
The beneficiary member states include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.
There is a separate project to ensure that Haiti is able to implement its “obligations” under the Caricom treaty, following which it will be added.