|Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, addressing the audience at the consultancy. (A. Miller/BGIS)??|
A fresh attempt is being made to harmonise trading in goods and services across the region as an impetus to improving its global competitiveness.
This will be facilitated through the launch of the Canadian $10 million Component 100 Consultancy of the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP), which was officially launched today, at the Island Inn Hotel.
In the feature address, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce,?? said the project would not only assess the legislation and regulations in place, but the "practical administrative realities which face our people, nationals of Barbados and others, as they seek to trade in goods and services to and from Barbados".
"I am convinced that we must do more to facilitate increased commercial activity within the Community as we forge our Single Market and Economy.?? Our region is now grappling with the effects of a protracted global recession and faces an extended period of stagnant revenues from our major foreign exchange earners.?? Thus, efforts to simplify and harmonise business and other procedures across the Community, can only assist in improving our global competitiveness," Senator Boyce underlined.
The Minister also urged the gathering to include young university graduates and entrepreneurs in the discussion and emphasised the importance of having ordinary people at the centre of all the deliberations especially at the regional level.
"The CARICOM Single Market and Economy must become simpler, more accessible and user friendly, even as it becomes more standardised and properly regulated.?? It is not merely for the textbooks and academics, it is about each and every one of our citizens of this region, reducing the gap between the lived reality and our regional institutions," Senator Boyce added.
Given this situation, he maintained that government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations, had a role to play in the success or failure of the integration exercise.
Senator Boyce added that Component 100 was of special interest to Barbados since it would indicate how the island’s business performance could be improved.?? "At the completion of this national aspect of Component 100, the Community will move towards a Regional Manual for the Administration of the CSME.?? This will provide much needed guidance, support, standardisation and regulation across the Community.
Meanwhile, Programme Manager of the CSME Unit, Ivor Carryl, said the consultancy represented a step in a long series of actions which the Secretariat pioneered as part of the implementation of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
He said the CTCP project would go a long way in solving the problem of business facilitation. Additionally, he noted the programme would also foster a culture of compliance.
"…It [compliance] is important because it builds confidence, provides certainty and creates a climate in which everyone believes that we are serious about the integration that we are pursuing," Mr. Carryl emphasised.
The CSME Programme Manager underscored the need to complete all the outstanding legal institutional policies and administrative reforms to ensure that the CSME was of a high quality.
"We must deliver a CSME of substance…there is still too much of it that exists only in words of the treaty.?? This means that we must implement each of the elements of the undertaking that we all agreed to do back in 2001 and 2002 when the treaty took shape," Mr. Carryl added.
He said the project had been criticised over the years and the message going forward must be: "We intend to implement the project called the Single Market and we will deliver an economic space within which we can prosper".