CARICOM Review Commission Insisting Free Movement Must be Guaranteed

The CARICOM Review Commission is insisting that the free movement of people in the region must be guaranteed.

It’s one of the 33 recommendations made by the commission after its review of Jamaica’s membership of CARICOM.

In its report, the Bruce Golding-led Commission says the full free movement of people throughout the community should be subject to exclusions for only security and public health concerns.

The recommendation comes after years of concerns over the treatment of Jamaican nationals seeking to enter some member states of CARICOM.

The report also calls for an integrated capital market for the region including the establishment of the legal framework to allow companies to raise capital by public issues across the region.

The Commission says various laws governing financial services and customs must also be harmonized, especially procedures for the treatment of perishable goods.

The report also calls for the removal of all non-tariff barriers to trade and restrictions on the provision of services.

It calls for agreed protocols for the recognition of professional accreditation and the removal of restrictions on the right to establish businesses and the ownership of land across the region.

The Commission is also calling for the appointment of an oversight body of no less than three, no more than five eminent CARICOM nationals to review CARICOM’s performance and, in particular, the compliance of member states.

It says they should deliver their assessment to the Caribbean public at least once per year.

It also calls for the establishment within the treaty a body of sanctions for willful non-compliance or flagrant breaches of Caricom citizen rights.

All agencies of CARICOM should also be subjected to a performance evaluation every three years which should be made public.

The Commission also calls for an immediate review of the basis for assessment of member states’ financial contributions to the secretariat and the various institutions and agencies.

The report says thereafter, there should five-yearly reviews to ensure that obligations are shared on an equitable basis.

Speaking in the Lower House, Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, welcomed the report saying that a review of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which established CARICOM is required going forward.

He says the report is timely, coming on the eve of a scheduled visit to Jamaica by US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.