KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Monday March 10, 2014, CMC – Caribbean Community (CAICOM) Secretary General Irwin La Rocque Monday underscored the importance of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) to the regional integration process.
He told regional leaders meeting here that the next steps in the CSME process would be presented to them at their inter-sessional summit that ends here on Tuesday.
The CSME allows for the free movement of skills, good, services and labour across the region, and La Rocque said the consultation process as well as the work of the Commission on the Economy, established by regional leaders last September, “has validated the continued relevance of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy as the platform from which to build our economic resilience”.
He said the Commission’s preliminary report, which will be considered at the meeting, suggests priority attention to fiscal sustainability, including debt management, and promoting a conducive environment that would reduce regional impediments to investment and trade and spur private sector growth and development.
He said the Commission also recognises the importance of energy, information, communication and technology (ICT) and transportation sectors as enablers of this growth and development.
La Rocque said that with regards to ICT, which he described as both an enabler of socio-economic development, as well as a sector in its own right for creating employment, the sector in both its forms, must be viewed as the new frontier for regional integration and “has to be a significant factor as we forge a path towards growth and sustainable development as well as in our efforts to strengthen that spirit of Community”.
But he said to enhance those possibilities, the creation of a single ICT space within CARICOM “should be pursued vigorously in our efforts to bring technology to the people, while aiding in building our technological resilience”.
La Rocque said growth and development cannot take place without the human resource capacity to sustain it, adding that “a holistic approach to our education systems would address the shortcomings and challenges that have been observed in human resource capacity in both public and private sectors.
The CARICOM Secretary General said that CARICOM’s initiatives in both ICT and human resource development, would receive focussed attention during the summit with the respective government leaders with responsibility for the two areas – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas – would make presentations to the summit.