Prime Minister Andrew Holness has called on CARICOM leaders to act decisively, take action and build on the successes of the 39th Heads of Government of CARICOM Conference.
Making his address as the outgoing Chairman of CARICOM in Basseterre St. Kitts this morning (February 26) Prime Minister Holness said the regional group must act decisively to strategically seize opportunities that the changing world circumstance presents.
“During my tenure as Chairman of the Conference, the focus was primarily on overcoming the inertia which has, for too long, characterized our regional mechanisms and significantly impaired our ability to simply get things done. It was also important for us to press for progress on matters which would enable the average Caribbean man and woman to experience CARICOM in a real and tangible way, through the implementation of the free movement regime,” said Prime Minister Holness at the opening session of the 30th Inter-Sessional meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Under his Chairmanship, Prime Minister Holness led action in responding to the concerns of fair treatment of CARICOM nationals. The new Procedures on the Refusal of Entry was adopted and implemented in August 2018.
Additionally, provisions in the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) Regime to allow for free movement of persons, CARICOM skilled nationals and their families through the signature of the Protocol on Contingent Rights was also done. Ten countries have so far signed that Protocol.
According to Prime Minister Holness, the private sector in the region must spur growth and development. He called on regional governments to take all necessary steps to allow for mutual recognition of companies incorporated in a CARICOM Member State and trim the red tape within our domestic space to provide greater opportunity for intra-regional investment, cross-border fertilization and increase private sector interest and collaboration.
Prime Minister Holness emphasized that the region needs a common vision, an unwavering belief in regional unity and a recognition that the real strength of the region comes from all of its Member States working together in one accord.
Prime Minister Holness will now pass Chairmanship of the regional body to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris who will serve for six months.