Prime Minister David Thompson,??delivering an address on the topic ‘The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Integration Movement’ at??a business meeting of the Association of Freemasons last evening.

Barbados is fully complying with the obligations under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

This was reiterated last evening, by Prime Minister David Thompson, as he addressed a business meeting of the Association of Freemasons.

Mr. Thompson said a recent audit completed by the Single Market and Economy Unit showed Barbados was fully meeting the requirements.

The Prime Minister stressed that as a nation, Barbados’ record of support for, and contribution to the building of our regional community, was "unparalleled".

He stated: "All the restrictions have been removed and legislation amended, where necessary. And, where we haven’t amended the legislation, administrative structures have been put in place to realise the objectives."

Mr. Thompson explained that the successful integration of the interlocking elements of the CARICOM Single Market and eventually Single Economy demanded that the country refocused many of its national institutions from a purely domestic vision, to a wider regional horizon.

Mr. Thompson also pointed out that Barbados was assiduously implementing the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and seeking to live up to the moral obligations towards the members of the extended regional family. This, he said, meant that all CARICOM states had to overhaul many existing institutions and policies as well as create new ones.

Touching on the freedom of the movement as stipulated under Article Four of the Treaty the Prime Minister said that this had to be implemented through a phased approach, with the first step being to allow five categories of skilled community nationals to seek employment within their jurisdictions. He explained that nine categories were now in force, five enshrined in the Revised Treaty and four agreed by Heads of Government at the 26th and 27th meetings of the conference.

"Barbados is honouring all its obligations in all nine categories and by January 1, 2010, it will be 10," Mr. Thompson maintained.

The Prime Minister disclosed that between 2000 and 2008, Barbados had accepted over 1,000 skilled CARICOM nationals from across the region.?? He said this country was also in full compliance with the treaty obligations of Articles 32, 34, 36 and 37, to provide for the free movement of non wage earners, either as service providers, or to establish businesses.

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