National Consultation Involving Civil Society in Caribbean Development
Jamaica Conference Centre, June 19, 2001
Background & Context
The inaugural national consultation on ways to involve civil society in Caribbean
development was held in Jamaica on June 19, attended by some 75 representatives of the
business sector, non-government organizations (NGO)s, community based organizations
(CBO)s, faith-based groups, professional associations, special interest groups including
those focusing on youth, gender and the disabled, and a range of other non-state agencies.
Some 55 entities were represented. The list of attendees is attached as Appendix 1.
CARICOM Heads of Government, meeting in October 1999, had called for an encounter
with civil society, to "provide for a free and wide-ranging inter-change of ideas aimed at
arriving at a consensus for a strategy for the development of the region and its peoples."
In organising the event, the Association of Development Agencies (ADA) and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs1, identified three specific objectives:
* To identify strategies for development that take into account the needs of the poor and
* To establish new approaches to collaboration and consultation between civil society
and government on development issues, particularly in pursuit of the CARICOM
Single Market and Economy (CSME);
* To strengthen the scope for dialogue and collaboration among the various strands of
non-state actors in promoting regional development.
These objectives informed the approach to the consultation, which included background
presentations, opportunities for question and answer, and workshop discussions with
reports back to the plenary. The day's agenda is attached as Appendix 2.
The initial presentations were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Paul
Robertson (Foreign Policy Coordination & Functional Cooperation); the Minister of
Foreign Trade, Mr Anthony Hylton (CARICOM Trade Issues and the CSME); and
CARICOM Assistant Secretary General, Dr Edward Greene (Vision and Strategies of
Caribbean Development in the Global System). The full text of the keynote addresses by
Ministers Robertson and Hylton are attached as Appendix 3.
The three working groups looked at ways of organising the CSME to maximise the
development potential for Caribbean people, including issues of international
1 ADA is the national focal point for coordinating civil society participation in CARICOM; the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has responsibility for CARICOM affairs.
competitiveness; how to integrate gender issues and the needs of youth into the
development agenda; and at issues of justice, governance and human rights.
Common Issues Arising
All three working groups agreed that ways must be found to have an on-going dialogue
between CARICOM, and the groups and communities making up civil society across
the region. Further, that mechanisms must be developed to ensure that the outcomes of
this dialogue find their way into policy. This reflected a positive summation of several
initially critical comments and questions concerning the timing, level, format and
direction of the consultative process; the extent to which CARICOM is relevant and
responsive to social as well as economic issues important to people within the
Community; the long timeframe for action; difficulties of access to CARICOM; and.the
lack of engagement with ordinary people, who may feel confused at the varied impacts of
globalisation, and for whom issues such as the free movement of labour would be very
There was broad agreement on the need to make the education system more relevant,
including the early introduction of business and trade into the curricula, the incorporation
on gender considerations, and the motivation of students through the use of innovative
teaching methods. Both within and outside of the educational system, the engagement of
youth was a common concern.
The education of the media so that news stories reflect issues as well as conflict, was one
part of a concern for more effective public information, and greater access to
information regarding CARICOM issues and output and to CARICOM itself.
Several issues relating to justice and to law, arose in the various groups, including the
need for CARICOM to support justice in the region; aspects of the Caribbean Court of
Justice including the potential for fast-tracking the trade aspects of the court; the potential
benefits of establishing a Caribbean Commission for Human Rights; and laws to protect
the vulnerable and to define and protect NGO entities.
Other issues arising in specific working groups are set out under those headings.
Working Group 1:
Organising the CSME to maximise the development potential of Caribbean
people/including looking at improving the region's international competitiveness.
Falicitators: Gail Mathurin
Rapporteurs: Maxine Harris/Lisa Bryan-Smart
The relationship of the two topics the CSME, and the broader issue of international
competitiveness sparked discussion: for instance, on how the CSME will relate to wider
groupings such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Businesses Must Focus Outward: The point was also made the way business is
presently organised locally and regionally is not helpful in competing externally. There
was a need to get together, so as to get goods and services out. There was a further need
to take advantage of the wider market opportunities provided by CARICOM and the
ACS; and to 'turn migration around to benefit us', by using the networking and
marketing opportunities provided by Jamaica and Caribbean communities abroad.
The issue of sovereignty was raised, in the context that Caribbean integration must take
account of differences between member territories, while shaping a vision of a common
future. It was noted that the intention was to achieve integration similar to that of the
European Union, with free movement of people and, eventually, the virtual dissolution of
borders; but that this could be a slow process for CARICOM, especially where the
national borders of island states are clearly marked. The further point was made that
while a business could have employees all over the region, the dissolution of national
boundaries required political decision-making; a process in which civil society could
have an input.
Improving International Competitiveness: Several areas were identified in respect of
improving international competitiveness. These included improving foreign language
skills; developing good ethical practices; learning credit analysis; dealing with
differences in culture, perspectives and issues of sovereignty.
Free Market vs. Social Cohesion: It was felt that care must be taken, in managing the
CSME process, to ensure that individualism connected with the marketplace does not
undermine traditional social cohesion, with fallout within the societies.
Free Movement: The free movement of labour as well as goods and services captured
the attention of the group. The consensus was that there was no need to fear wholesale
population movement as a result of the instituting of freedom of movement, as people
with significant ties (jobs, homes, families etc) would think hard about moving; although
the group did note that there would be a need to educate people on the implications of the
policy. It was felt that the problem lay in bringing this perspective to the political
directorates, which were the major stumbling block in this regard.
Role of Business: There were two streams of thought in relation to the role of businesses
in the region. One was that businesses should accept a social responsibility, both in terms
of considering the interests of the consumer, and in terms of recognizing a regional rather
than simply a national interest. The other is that business is about organising people for
an economic purpose, and cannot be expected to do the jobs of government, the churches,
NGOs or community.
System of Education: The development of human capital is important and must be
managed to ensure competitiveness. It was noted that this had implications for the system
of education. It was felt, for instance, that systems should be implemented in the schools
to encourage the early development of a psyche whereby young people understand trade
Educating the Media: It was felt that the media must be educated about issues relating
to the CSME, world trade and it's impact on the region etc, as well as its responsibility
for informing people; so that the media focuses on issues as well as conflicts.
Caribbean Court of Justice: It was suggested that the court could begin with a focus on
areas where there was broad agreement on its usefulness, such as trade disputes; with
disputed issues relating to criminal justice following later.
Inclusiveness in Decision-making: It was noted that ways must be found to facilitate on-
going dialogue involving groups and communities.
Working Group 2:
Integrating Gender Issues, and Youth, into the Development Agenda.
Facilitators: Juddith Wedderburn
Shelli Rai Grandison
Gender: The group began by agreeing to focus on gender rather than women alone, as
the topic had originally proposed; even while recognizing the differing needs of men and
women. It was felt that issues to do with health and employment must be addressed from
a gender perspective.
Education Focus: The group agreed that education was the key to integrating gender
issues and youth concerns into the development agenda. Issues related to health,
including HIV/AIDS, and employment, were discussed, but it was felt that even these
were grounded in education.
The group urged the re-vamping of the education system and process so as to make them
relevant to today's society. The question was asked, 'What are we educating young
people for?' Solutions included the development of innovative teaching strategies, which
can engage students in learning; and teaching teachers how to teach. It was felt that
curricula should take the CSVME/trade liberalisation issues into account.
Media: The importance of the role of the media was underlined.
Parenting: The group underscored the importance of parenting.
Youth: Concern was expressed about young people feeling helpless and disconnected,
and the group called for the development of creative ways to seek out their ideas and
channel these into decision-making. The concerns of young men were highlighted, and a
young male participant spoke out: "Young men lack of a sense of being worthwhile; lack
a sense of a future. There is a need to make young men feel that education is not just a
means of getting by, but a life-long process. Right now, education is seen, by young men,
as punishment. Also, we are socialised to be breadwinners; that we should not cry, and so
Inclusiveness: The group felt that there was a need for more representation of civil
society ideas at the policy-making level. It was felt that civil society had a role in
arranging on-going consultations, which should aim at developing national vision and
consensus on issues; and that there was also a need to seek a mechanism whereby the
fruit of such consultations could be incorporated into policy.
Working Group 3:
Justice, Governance and Human Rights.
Facilitators: Jessica Byron
Rapporteur: Yunena Morales
Governance and Justice: The group defined governance in terms of accountability,
management, transparency, and inclusive participation. It said that governance must be
based on justice, and that CARICOM should ensure justice at a regional level, in a non-
The group felt that a Bill of Rights was essential as a basis for guaranteeing human rights.
It also considered the development of a Caribbean Commission on Human Rights, along
the lines of the European and International commissions.
Popular Involvement: All citizens must be able to see the connection between policy
and people's lives, so as to buy in to the process. However this must involve more
dialogue between citizens and policy-makers, and accountability is essential to future
Youth: Young people must be included in all dialogue.
Public Education: An effective way must be found to educate the public, at a time when
many people do not listen to or read the media. The role of the media itself must be
looked at, in regard to the dissemination of CARICOM issues and outputs.
Access to Information: There is a need for more public information, and for greater
access to information on CARICOM so that civil society can make more informed
decisions and participate in the decision-making process.
Document Production: Groups participating in consultations should produce policy
papers in advance, according to a specified format, so as to be better prepared and make
better use of the opportunity.
Protection: There should be a law to protect the vulnerable, and a better, more effective
Social Workers: The role of social workers in mediating on important issues including
violence, fathering, the disconnection of youth from mainstream society, makes them
social actors who should be engaged with at the regional level.
NGO Criteria: The group urged the development and enactment of an NGO Act, which
would establish criteria for NGO activities, establish who NGO representatives speak for,
and offer protection to registered NGOs.
Other Issues Raised in Question & Answer Sessions:
Accessibility of CARICOM: The vexed question of the accessibility of CARICOM,
especially in the context of the CSME, was raised. Aside from the business sector, NGOs
also questioned how to spur CARICOM interest in and access CARICOM resources to
address the needs of groups such as persons with disabilities; to recognize the
contributions of groups such as the social workers, the insurers and the legal fraternity.
Officials noted that the issue of access is being addressed through several mechanisms:
* Decentralising some processes through the assignment of portfolio responsibilities to
the various heads of government. Therefore a special office dealing with the CSME is
being located near to the Prime Minister with responsibility for that area.
* Task Forces, which are looking at some issues, such as gender, and will report to the
CARICOM Council on Human & Social Development.
* A new, dedicated CARICOM office in Georgetown.
* Using new technology, which will aid access and help the secretariat function more
* Facilitation of regional caucuses using the University of the West Indies (UWI)
Distance Teaching mechanisms.
Resources: The issue of ensuring adequate resources for all subject areas, was raised
with regard to the decentralisation of CARICOM portfolios; as was the modality by
which concerns can be channeled to the Prime Minister with responsibility for particular
Financial Arrangements Within the Community: It was suggested that a Caribbean
Stock Exchange, to widen limited opportunities, was overdue. The point was also made
that there was a need to look at pension arrangements, on a regional basis, particularly in
context of an aging population.
LIST OF ATTENDEES
Ms. Dawn Ashley
Mr. Fabian Bernard
Mr. Richard Billings
Amb. Ellen Bogle
Mr. Keith Russell Brown
Mr. Matthias Brown
Mrs Joan Browne
Mrs. Suzanne Francis Brown
Dr. Jessica Byron
Rev. Samuel Carter
Mr Terrence Cover
Mrs. Joan Grant-Cummings
Ms. Michelle Davis
Prof Neville Duncan
Mr. Graham Glover
Mr. Tony Gomes
Mrs. Una May Gordon
Mr. Delroy Gordon
Ms Shelli-Rai Grandison
Rev. Dr. Sam Green
Ms. Jennifer Henry
Mrs. Marcia Hextall
Miss Lisa Higgins
Mrs. Kim Hoo-Fatt
Mrs. Paulette Griffiths-Jude
Mrs. Laila Ismail Khan
Dr. Patsy Lewis
Mrs. Beverly Sutherland-Lewis
Mrs. Robin Lim-Lumsden
Ms. Gail Mathurin
Mr. Wayne McCook
Ms. Sharene McKenzie
Mr. James Moss-Solomon
Mr. Joseph McPherson
Mr. Kevin Meek
Mrs. Kemorine Miller
Ms. Celia Busby Montenegro
Ms. Marlene Moore
Ms. Yunena Morales
Mr. Jason Morris
Mr. Bryan Noble
Mr. Derrick Palmer
Missionary Church Association in Jamaica
S-Corner Clinic & Community Development Centre
Social Development Commission
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade
Stella Maris Foundation
Environmental Foundation/Social Action Centre
Jamaica Women's Political Caucus
C'Wealth Foundation Citizens & Governance Prog.
Dept. of Government, UWI
Holy Cross Rectory
Coalition for Community Participation in
Centre for Gender & Development Studies, UWI
British High Commission
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce
Jamaica Cultural Development Commission(JCDC)
Missionary Church Association in Jamaica
Association of Development Agencies (ADA)
Kingston Restoration Company
FIT Enhancing Civil Society Project
Jamaicans for Justice
Grace, Kennedy & Co. Ltd.
Jamaica Institute for Political Education
Jamaica Baptist Union
Jamaica Association of Social Workers
Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ)
Disabled Peoples' Association
Mrs. Lorna Peddie
Ms. Jeanne Perez
Mr. Anthony Perry
Mrs. Loretta Reid-Pitt
Ms. Jaquie Tannis-Riley
Ms. Georgia Scott
Ms. Georgia Simmonds
Ms. Lisa Bryan-Smart
Ms. Maureen Spencer
Mr. Patrick Taylor
Ms. Freda Thomas
Dss. Rachele Vernon
Mrs. Judith Wedderburn
Mr. Omar Hughes
Mr. Pat Roy James
Rev. H. Cunningham
Mr. Richard Allicock
Mr. David Lee
Mrs. Miriam Moveton-Campbell
Mr. Paul Fuller
Ms. Lana Finnikin
Mr. Donald Jones
Mrs. Charmaine Constantine
Ms. Maxine Harris
Dr. Edward Green
Ms. Keisha Wright
Ms. Tamoyo Christie
Mr. Claremont Kirton
Mr. O. Green
Mr. Peter Young
Jamaican Self Help Partners
Craige Town Youth Organization
Youth Opportunities Unlimited
Key Insurance Co. Ltd.
Dudley Grant Trust
Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)
Association of Clubs (AOC)
Jamaica Conference of Churches
Jamaica Information Service (JIS)
Consumer Affairs Commission
Sistren Theatre Collective
Combined Disabilities Association
Office of the Prime Minister (OPM)
National Consultation Involving Civil Society in Caribbean Development
Jamaica Conference Centre
19 June 2001
8.00a. m. 9.00a. m. Registration
Moderator: Professor Neville Duncan
9.00a.m. -9.10a.m. Welcome Deaconess Rachele Vernon, Chair,
Association of Development Agencies
Dr. Edward Greene, Asst. Secretary-General
Foreign Policy Coordination & Functional Cooperation
Hon. Paul Robertson,
Minister of Foreign Affairs
CARICOM Trade Issues & the CSME
Hon. Anthony Hylton
Minister of Foreign Trade
Vision & Strategies of Caribbean Development in the
Dr. Edward Greene
Question & Answer/ Discussion
Working Group Discussion1
MODERATOR: Mr. Wayne McCook, Min. of Foreign Affairs
2.30p.m. -3.30p.m. Plenary (Reports of Working Groups)
Discussion and Conclusions
1 Group 1 Organising the proposed CSME to maximise the development potential (national and
regionally) to benefit Caribbean people/ Improving the region's international competitiveness.
Group 2 Integrating Gender Issues & Youth Concerns into the development agenda
Group 3 Justice, Governance & Human Rights
ADDRESS BY DR. PAUL ROBERTSON, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The people of Jamaica share with the peoples of the Caribbean Community a common
history that impels us towards a common destiny. While this was not to be found in the
attempt to create a West Indian Federation in 1958, Jamaica and its sister states of the
English-speaking Caibbean recognized from the earliest stages of independence that it
was vitally important that an effective mechanism be found to achieve the necessary
process of regional integration. It is instructive that the founding fathers and founding
mothers of our Community embarked on the steady pursuit of integration processes not
after years of 'going it alone as newly independent states swept up in the excitement of
their new status'; they did so from the very beginning. Indeed the 1962 meeting to look at
certain important 'common services' was to create the foundation for the strong
functional cooperation programmes of the region. The creation of the University of the
West Indies was a fitting outcome of this first initiative for functional cooperation and it
remains, to this day, a symbol of the best traditions of regional cooperation. The first
meeting of the Heads of Government of self-governing territories and newly independent
Caribbean states Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, which was
hosted by the late Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago in 1963,
represents another very important early step in the process of integration. In addition to
the regular meetings of the heads of government to address matters of common interest,
the region was to address the important question of development and trade by
establishing the Caribbean Free Trade Area in 1965. These processes were to come
together in the establishment of the Caribbean Community by the Treaty of Chaguramas
in 1973, bringing to fruition a decision of the 1972 meeting of heads of government of
the Caribbean Free Trade Area.
COOPERATION IN FOREIGN POLICY
One of the important goals of CARICOM has been the coordination of common positions
on critical foreign policy issues and the management of foreign relations. From the
earliest stages of the community, the leaders of member states have consulted on
important foreign policy issues and taken common positions. While the region does not
and cannot take a common position on every issue, we have managed to establish a
consensus on many very important issues. Caribbean foreign policy coordination began
from as far back as the first heads of government meeting in 1963, when the leaders all
addressed the need for close cooperation with a number of regions including Latin
America and Africa. The consultations at the level of heads, ministers and diplomats have
been refined through the establishment of the Council on Foreign and Community
Relations, COFCOR. Speaking as the minister who sits on this council, I can tell you that
it strengthens our hand on many important international issues. We often coordinate our
position on initiatives in the OAS, the UN and other important international bodies. We
also leverage our bloc of votes on critical matters of concern to the region. The
effectiveness of our common approach to many foreign policy issues is reflected in the
increasing number of requests that we receive from other states for consultation with the
community, as a group, on important issues.
The coordination of foreign policy at the ministerial level is complemented by the close
coordination among CARICOM representative offices overseas. In many places where
one CARICOM mission exists, it serves as a de facto CARICOM presence, assisting
other member states as far as resources allow. In Geneva and in Japan, Jamaica's
missions have provided useful support to other regional countries from time to time. At a
more formal level, the institution of a caucus of CARICOM ambassadors has worked
exceedingly well in key centres including the United Nations, Washington and London.
right now, the government of The Bahamas is demonstrating in a most significant way
the concept of regionalism in representation, by hosting the CARICOM mission to Haiti
in its embassy there and providing critical support services to it. Last week, we opened
the CARICOM office in Haiti after an important visit led by the OAS Secretary, Cesar
Gaviria and Dame Eugenia Charles.
I must pause here to say a word about our role in the international effort to restore
democracy to Haiti a provisional member of CARICOM. This is an especially
important area of CARICOM cooperation and we remain committed to the effort to help
the people of Haiti to find their rightful place within the community of nations and to
pursue their dream of stability and social and economic progress, too long deferred.
CARICOM's coordinated approach to foreign policy and regional relations stands out in
other significant areas, for example our effort to help the people of Montserrat in their
valiant struggles in the face of a devastating natural disaster; this showed the solidarity of
the community at its best. Our positive and constructive engagement with Cuba, our
growing connection with the Dominican Republic and the emergence of the Association
of Caribbean States (ACS), are all tangible expressions of our commitment to the goals of
the truly integrated, wider Caribbean. Within our membership, CARICOM has quietly,
but effectively, assisted member states in moments of electoral challenge in Guyana,
Suriname, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. CARICOM's
moderating influence has also been felt in our response to tensions between Suriname and
The community has, over the years, forged important multifaceted cooperation
arrangements with key partners such as the United States through such mechanisms as
the Bridgetown Accord, and continues dialogue with the new US administration on the
further strengthening of the relationship. It has spearheaded the CARIFORUM
mechanism for cooperation with other regional partners in the wide-ranging arrangements
with the European Union under the ACP/WU agreements. Our cooperation with
traditional partners like the UK and Canada remains a major focus of our foreign policy
initiatives as a region. We have recently re-doubled our efforts to deepen our links to our
neighbours in Latin America and have established a number of joint commissions with
some states and are exploring new arrangements with others. Similar commissions or
other arrangements have been developed with other partners further afield, including
Japan and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), for example. This
network of external linkages, together with our close consultations and joint positions on
important international matters, has enabled us to effectively protect and promote the
region's interests at the hemispheric and the international levels.
From the earliest stages of the integration process, CARICOM has placed functional
cooperation at the top of its agenda. As I mentioned earlier, even before the process of
establishing the community began, the emerging nations of the Caribbean began the
process of creating mechanisms to facilitate functional cooperation. Community
initiatives in health, education, security and justice, telecommunications, disaster
preparedness, environmental security and agriculture have been an integral part of our
regional development process. Several institutions have been created to pursue important
goals and many national initiatives have been made regional in scope, consistent with the
community mindset that is taking root. The most topical initiatives in regional institution-
building are the CSME, that will be addressed later on, and the Caribbean Court of
Justice. The court, when implemented, will be a further step in the deepening and
strengthening of the regional integration process. It will be a landmark in our quest for
true regional independence and will provide the juridicial underpinning for much of the
institutional transformation being undertaken in the creation of the single market and
economy and other important initiatives within the community.
GLOBALISATION AND THE CARICOM RESPONSE
The Caribbean Community, in its mission statement, commits itself to provide dynamic
leadership and service with community institutions and groups towards the attainment of
a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable community, with improved quality
of life for all.
Today, the goals so eloquently articulated in the mission statement are being tested by the
fast-moving currents of globalisation, as the Caribbean Community seeks to find its place
in a world in which change is a constant and barriers are falling all around us. These
developments should inspire us to redouble our efforts as a community, not drive us to
panic. A world of greater openness beings with it a wealth of opportunities together with
its many challenges. The increasing responsiveness of the global community to
humanitarian crises and the evolving role of the World Trade Organization are significant
examples of this trend. Beyond these institutional developments we find increasing
connections of peoples across national borders, driven by the revolution in information
technology, shared cultural experiences and migration and refugee flows. In this global
environment, the mission of our integration movement is even more vital as a means by
which the interests and the aspirations of the peoples of the Caribbean can be advanced.
Our heads of government have not been slow to recognize these challenges and have
already moved decisively to deepen the integration movement. At the pivotal 10th
meeting of heads of government in Grand Anse, Grenada, in 1989, they agreed to work
towards the deepening of the economic integration of the community by revisiting the
Treaty of Chaguramas. They set in motion a far-reaching revision of the Treaty which
was completed in March 2000 with the conclusion of 9 protocols. These will form the
framework for a single market and economy that will set the stage for a new level of
economic interaction within the community. The process also established important
structures through which CARICOM now effects its mission the conference of heads of
government, which is the highest organ of the community; in addition, four ministerial
councils which provide critical leadership in the important functional areas: foreign and
community relations, trade and economic development, human and social development,
and finance and planning. In addition to the organs that I have mentioned earlier, the
creation of technical entities such as the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) and the
introduction of a quasi-Cabinet in which individual heads of government assume special
portfolio responsibilities, provide additional mechanisms to better help us to meet today's
From the earliest stages, CARICOM has recognized the central role of the people of the
region in forging its vision and shaping its agenda. The adoption of the Charter of Civil
Society by the heads of government in their 8th inter-sessional in February 1997,
solidified CARICOM's commitment to a binding partnership with civil society. Indeed,
we must remember the West Indian Commission process through which Caribbean
peoples within the region and in the diaspora were consulted. That process yielded a
landmark document for our region A Time For Action and produced many important
initiatives including the establishment of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS),
which gave life to the dream of widening our regional integration movement. Beyond the
Charter and the work of the West Indian Commission, we come today to the Forward
Together process. Here in Kingston, today, we begin the region-wide process of
consultation with the private sector and other non-state actors to reason together about
where we are going as a region.
We will explore the role of civil society in designing and implementing strategies to
ensure that we realise the goal of Caribbean development in the global system. I hope that
taking into account the steps that CARICOM has already taken, we will have frank and
open discussions on the challenges facing our region at this time. I hope that we will
spend some time dealing with the AIDS pandemic, human resource development, the
fight against illicit drug trafficking, the protection of the environment, the recognition of
the special status of the Caribbean Sea in the context of sustainable development, the
issue of small arms, and social and economic development. I am certain that the dialogue
today will identify many other areas in which CARICOM has made a difference. I am
also certain that it will also identify areas in which we, as a region, have not done enough.
I hope that our discussions will be full, frank and fair, and that out of these consultations
we will be better able to place into the decision-making process important inputs from
our civil society.
The vision for Caribbean development must be driven by constant input from the people
of the region. We must broaden the discourse by building on what is already a strong
participatory tradition and find ways of making consultations like this an integral part of
our CARICOM life. We must ensure that every CARICOM citizen from the forests of
Guyana in the south to the beaches of The Bahamas in the north, understands and feels
himself or herself a member of a team, a part of the work of CARICOM. We must reject
insularity and commit ourselves to the achievement of a true sense of community and a
strong Caribbean identity as we who share this common Caribbean history forward
together to a common destiny development and progress for all our citizens in a truly
integrated Caribbean Community.
ADDRESS BY MR ANTHONY HYLTON, MINISTER OF FOREIGN TRADE
I wish to express a very warm welcome to you who are attending the national
consultations on issues related to the development of the Caribbean region. In my view, a
most important issue before this consultation is the development of the CARICOM
Single Market and Economy.
Since I became Minister of Foreign Trade last year, I have actively sought to deepen my
relationship with various groups in the society in light of the major challenges and
opportunities presented by globalisation. As minister with portfolio responsibility for the
CARICOM Single Market and Economy, I am particularly pleased to have this
opportunity to speak to members of the civil society who have a major role to play in
building a new Caribbean space.
The significance of the CSME must be understood in the context of the rapid global
changes taking place in the world today. The phenomenon of globalisationn' is generally
associated with the increasing linkages between nations and peoples through the
reduction of barriers to the movement of goods, services, culture and people across
Across the world, reaction to the globalisation has been mixed. Many see it as a positive
force, a process of creating a 'global village' that will deliver progress and prosperity to
all the peoples of the world. Others, however, see it as a threat to the weak and powerless
and a tool of the rich and powerful. This is the view of globalisation held by the
demonstrators in Seattle opposing the free market arrangements in the WTO and, more
recently, in Quebec opposing the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Americas
Regardless of what one thinks of the process, the facts are not in question the world has
changed dramatically and the process of globalisation has taken root.
Globalistion is essentially the process of economic expansion across national boundaries.
The modern expression of the globalisation process is unprecedented, because it has
restructured the world economy by reducing the ability of national governments to
directly influence domestic economic affairs, while expanding the role and significance
of the international marketplace and international organizations such as the World Trade
Organisation (WTO). Globalisation is forcing all nations to compete for opportunity -
with the risk of unemployment, poverty and criminality facing those who fail. These new
arrangements have led analysts to suggest that this modem expression of globalisation
involves the most fundamental redesign of the world's economic arrangements since the
Industrial Revolution. In the context of our own history, the changes are as profound as
the transition from colonisation to independence.
It is in this context of globalisation that the CARICOM heads of government, at their
meeting in 1989, agreed that the establishment of a CARICOM Single Market and
Economy (CSME) was the only viable option for our small economies. To achieve this, it
was agreed that the Treaty of Chaguramas would be amended by incorporating separate
agreements, called protocols, into the original treaty. Some nine protocols have been
completed and were approved for implementation sometime next year, at the 12th inter-
sessional meeting of CARICOM heads of government, held in Barbados in February this
year. Already, some of the protocols are being provisionally applied.
The essential features of the CSME are:
-unrestricted movement of factors of production;
- coordination of trade and economic policies; and
-movement towards a single currency over time.
There are several benefits to be derived from the CSME:
- The CSME provides us a stronger power base for international negotiations so that
we can be better able to change and influence WTO rules and other rules for
international trade that affect competitiveness.
-Foreign investment and business alliances are likely to increase as there will be new
rules that will encourage investment.
- Protocol II gives Jamaican businesses a right to operate in any CARICOM country.
Founded on the principle of national treatment and non-discrimination of CARICOM
nationals, it also provided for the free movement of service providers and the free
movement of capital.
- University graduates and other professionals can move freely in search of
opportunities across CARICOM states, thereby increasing the pool of skills from
which businesses can choose.
-In 1997, the Caribbean Community Free Movement of Skilled Persons Act abolished
the requirements for work permits for skilled CARICOM nationals. The legislation
also provides for the free movement of artistes, sports persons, musicians and media
workers. The objective is that, eventually, all CARICOM nationals will have a
CARICOM passport that will enable free movement for all citizens.
-The free flow of business transactions and people within the region will ensure that
consumers and businesses will have a wider range of goods and services from which
- The CSME will provide easy market access to a wide market of approximately 15
million people. When the average annual tourist population in the region is added to
this, the CSME is enlarged to a market of nearly 35 million people.
The revised treaty also establishes two new regional bodies which will be particularly
important in protecting the interests of consumers throughout the region. These are the
Caribbean Regional Organisation on Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and a Regional
CROSQ will coordinate the work within the CSME towards the development and
application of harmonised regional standards, particularly in relation to goods, in order to
ensure international competitiveness and, equally important, to ensure consumer health
and safety. It is expected that this body will become operational during the second half of
The Regional Competition Commission will be aimed at promoting competition among
businesses in CARICOM and consumer interest and welfare. The protection of
consumers and the facilitation of consumer choice throughout the region are key elements
in its mandate. Further, it is expected that an information system using communication
technology will be established, in order to inform consumers about the operations of
The benefits of Caribbean regional integration and cross culture integration are already
evident in our region. Our common historical and richly diverse cultural heritage
provides a pool of resources that are replicated and integrated throughout the region in
differentiated forms. The rapid growth of the Caribbean music and entertainment industry
is an excellent example. The CARICOM regional market provides important demand,
consumer feedback, new forms of knowledge and other key resources that drive fusion
and business development in the region. This creative fusion is evident in our adaptation
of Trinidad & Tobago's carnival, here in Jamaica.
Caribbean integration also facilitates our penetration in the markets of the North Atlantic
with large Caribbean populations. Reggae, jerk, roti, carnival are products consumed not
only by Jamaicans and Trinidadians overseas but also by the large resident Caribbean
populations as well as their friends and associates from other racial and cultural
backgrounds. Ethnic and other niche markets for Caribbean products have emerged and
are increasingly becoming an important source of foreign revenue for Caribbean
In today's knowledge-based global economy, it is these creative activities that will
transform our economies and provide the basis for sustainable development in the region.
With the ending of traditional preferences, Caribbean societies must now develop the
capacity to compete by building new alliances and new institutional arrangements that
can facilitate competitiveness and improve the lives of the ordinary citizen in the region.
The development of creative, competitive industries will provide the basis on which we
can diversify our economy away from the current dominance of a few sectors. This
dominance and over-specialisation makes our whole economy and social fabric
susceptible to vulnerabilities. Long-term development in the Caribbean will require this
diversification and transformation in order to be sustainable.
As trade barriers fall and market access becomes increasingly liberalised, the modern
rules of trade now limit the ability of governments to protect domestic markets and
defend the strategic interest of domestic or regional firms. Civil society organizations
such as consumer groups, community organizations and others, must now consider
forging new alliances with the private sector in order to defend the interests of
stakeholders who face the negative impact of business closures. By exposing unethical
behaviour or inferior standards through a range of consumer awareness activities, civil
society organizations can effectively assist the survival and growth of local businesses.
Although guided by different objectives and concerns, business, civil society and
government share a common interest in ensuring economic development and prosperity.
If local businesses fail, unemployment rises, incomes fall and social upheavals are likely.
Now, more than ever, businesses and civil society organizations must work more closely
with government to create the environment to ensure sustainable growth.
I therefore wish to congratulate the Association of Development Agencies and the
CARICOM Secretariat for their collaboration on holding this consultation and bringing
all these social partners together. I am confident that the discussions will assist in raising
the level of awareness of what we are working to create in CARICOM. I look forward to
your continued participation in the development of our Caribbean regional space.
NOTES OF A PRESENTATION BY DR EDWARD GREENE,
ASST. SECRETARY-GENERAL, CARICOM
CONTEXT FOR THE CONSULTATION
The development of a collective Caribbean strategy is proving vital, and the consultation
is taking place at a critical time; but philosophies seeking to broaden the base of
participation are not new. The discussion today is part of a history which is seeking to
make decision-making systems more inclusive; where we strive for broad agreement and
recognize that we will differ on details.
The consultation is therefore intended to examine the causes of divisiveness and attempt
to establish mechanisms for resolving them, especially in the context of globalisation.
Reasons for having the consultation:
- the clamour of various groups in society for a greater say in decision-making;
- the current quest to establish the CSVME, with free movement for Caribbean people
and businesses as a major objective;
-the Charter of Civil Society reconfirms the need to create a truly participatory
environment consistent with genuine consultation and a process of good governance.
The consultation therefore seeks to advocate for a vision of development that is inclusive
and can be translated into practical policies that:
-make the Caribbean more viable and competitive in a changing global environment;
- invest in human capital with equity, by ensuring more opportunities for education and
health care for Caribbean citizens functional cooperation;
-improve human resource capabilities so that the region can exploit opportunities
created by information technologies;
- provide for uplifting the culture that underpins the educational systems, how we deal
with health and family life, and the emergence of entrepreneurial spirit through access
to new and appropriate skills. Viewed this way, culture is at the heart of development.
It is more than the performing arts. It speaks to the production of viable cultural
products that bring pleasure and cohesion as well as economic and profitable returns.
Within the context of the global environment, it is important to determine how, as a
region, we will manage:
- human resources
What needs to be considered includes:
-New approaches to collaboration and consultation;
-New modalities of governance;
-New relationships between civil society and government.
At the regional level, these have already involved the development of a quasi-Cabinet
where Prime Ministers have portfolio responsibilities at the regional level; and the
Caribbean Court of Justice.
Civil society must seize opportunities to be involved in areas such as HIV/AIDS,
financing for development, labour standards etc
The principal beneficiaries of this discussion will be:
- Caribbean citizens
-Regional civil society including the private sector, labour unions, women's groups,
-National governments and development agencies will benefit by extension.
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THE CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT/SOCIAL
Involve civil society in defining critical strategies to increase the region's productive
capacity; enhance employment opportunities; reduce poverty; develop financial
structures to make capital accumulation meaningful; improve communication.
The key is to strengthen the region's capacity to 'deal' at international levels through
incorporating a strong regional civil society movement into the policy equation; ensuring
that it has a voice at the highest levels of decision-making; developing a formula that
institutionalises the role of civil society while ensuring that its dynamism is maintained.
CARICOM/CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATION IDENTIFIES NEED FOR
CONSISTENT POPULAR INPUT IN REGIONAL DECISION-MAKING
The need to develop mechanisms that ensure consistent civil society inputs into the
decision-making processes of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), was an over-
arching theme emerging from the first in a series of national consultations planned to take
place between June and September this year.
The National Consultation Involving Civil Society in Caribbean Development, held at the
Jamaica Conference Centre, June 19, was attended by 75 persons representing non-
government organizations (NGO)s, community based organizations (CBO)s, faith based
groups, the business sector, and other non state agencies. The Association of
Development Agencies (ADA) and Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs were joint
The opening session of the consultation was addressed by both Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Dr Paul Robertson, and Minister of Foreign Trade, Mr Anthony Hylton, who
respectively addressed the development of regional cooperation in general, and the
specific mechanism of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) which is
presently being implemented.
It is within the context of the CSME process that CARICOM Heads of Government
mandated the present series of consultations with civil society. CARICOM Assistant
Secretary General Dr J. Edward Greene noted that their aim was "to advocate a vision of
development that is inclusive and that can be translated into practical policies," with a
view to making the Caribbean more competitive in the global environment, investing in
Caribbean citizens as a basis for exploiting new opportunities, and providing for the
upliftment of culture which underpins the societies of the region.
Working groups looked at ways of organising the CSME to maximise the development
potential for Caribbean people, including issues of international competitiveness; how to
integrate gender issues and the needs of youth into the development agenda; and at issues
of justice, governance and human rights.
Participants expressed concerns about the need for CARICOM to catch the imagination
of the region's people, for greater inclusivity and accessibility, and for consistent
engagement with groups and communities throughout the region.
In responding to some of the concerns, Minister Robertson noted the pace of global
change, and the need for timely response as a factor affecting efforts at consultation. He
noted that in the face of these changes, particularly in the trade arena, Caribbean states
had no option but to band together and make the CARICOM process work. However the
pace at which the process proceeds is governed by the decision-making of each territory
within the Community, since CARICOM operates on a consensus model.
Specific issues arising from the workgroup discussions included the need to extend
business networks not only within CARICOM and the wider Caribbean, but also in
related ethnic communities abroad; the need to educate the media so that stories focus not
just on conflict but on issues; the need to encourage politicians to move ahead on the
issue of free movement of people within CARICOM; the need to take into account
different views of sovereignty without letting these become divisive. The workgroup on
trade issues also noted the need to manage the development of human capital, and to
introduce issues relating to CARICOM, trade and business into the educational system
from an early stage. In respect of the Caribbean Court of Justice it was recommended that
the initial focus be on issues related to trade, on which there was substantial agreement,
with criminal issues following later.
The workgroup on justice and governance urged consideration of developing a Caribbean
Human Rights Commission, as well as a law to protect the vulnerable, ensuring justice at
a regional level, and the development of a more effective court system. The group also
identified the need for developing more effective ways of educating the public, the need
for more public access to information, the need to encourage groups to document their
positions in advance of consultations. It also urged CARICOM to press for an NGO Act,
which would protect NGOs but also require certain criteria for their operations.
Education was the main focus of the gender and youth workgroup, which urged greater
relevance within the educational system, the more effective training of teachers, the need
to motivate youth and to take youth concerns into account, the importance of parenting
education, the need to consider the different needs of men and women, and the
importance of incorporating a gender perspective in issues relating to education, health
June 20, 2001