The Ministry of Community Development in collaboration with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted a "Consultation on Civil Society within
the Context of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)", on
October 19, 2001 at the Bay Gardens Hotel, Rodney Bay, Gros Islet.
Forty-seven (47) persons, representing Government Institutions, Private
Sector Organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations, participated.
Consultation proceedings were chaired by Mr. Cletus Springer, while
addresses and presentations were delivered by representatives of relevant
groups, including Government, NGO, the Private Sector, Youth, Women,
The drive to create a fully functioning "Caribbean Single Market and
Economy (CSME)" by the year 2002, will require the active support and
participation of Civil Society throughout the region. Therefore, the
Caribbean Heads of Government will convene a Regional Conference
early in 2002, to discuss issues related to the role of Civil Society in the
integration process. In preparation for this conference, member states
have been engaging in National Consultations, to receive the views of
their civil societies, given the context of the CSME.
It is expected that outputs from the National Consultations will
contribute to the structure and deliberations of the Regional Conference.
Therefore, "a broad vision of Caribbean Development and the role of Civil
Society in shaping development strategies" formed the basis of
discussions at these consultations.
For the purpose of the National and Regional Consultations, "Civil
Society" includes non-governmental organizations, including religious
bodies, labour, youth and gender movements, the academic community
and Private Sector Organizations, including commercial houses, and the
The St. Lucia National Consultation was the ninth in the region and
comprised a series of addresses and presentations from representatives
of the relevant sectors, as well as plenary discussions. The following
topics were focused on:
(a) The vision and strategies of Caribbean Development in the Global
(b) The role of civil society in the design and implementation of a
(a) Organizing the (CSME) so that the development of the Caribbean
was maximized to the benefit of the Caribbean People.
(b) Integrating Women and Youth into the Development Agenda.
(c) Justice, Governance and Human Rights
(d) Regional and National Competitiveness
1.3 Report Structure
This report seeks to highlight the main issues emanating from the St.
Lucia Consultation. As such, the report is sectioned to reflect important
consultation outcomes. Section II summarizes the content of the
presentations, Section III highlights issues, challenges and suggestions
emanating from the discussions and presentations, while Section IV
present conclusions, recommendations and suggestions regarding the
The Appendices include reproductions of main speeches and
presentations, as well as a list of participants.
The opening ceremony for the Consultation comprised addresses from the
(a) The Minister for Community Development
Honourable Jon Odlum
(b) The St. Lucia Ambassador to Caricom
Mr. Anthony Severin
(c) The Secretary General, CARICOM
Mr. Edwin Carrington
(d) The Minister for Commerce, Consumer Affairs and
International Financial Services
Mr. Mc Donald Dixon deputizingg for Hon. Phillip Pierre)
In addition, representatives from Civil Society groups presented sector
perspectives, as follows:
Commerce Bryan Louisy Executive Director -
Chamber of Commerce
Youth Silas Wilson President National
Women Mrs. Rufina Paul
Community Groups Darnley La Bourne National Trust
2.1 Opening Remarks Mr. Cletus Springer
Mr. Cletus Springer established the tone for the Consultation by
highlighting its purpose and what was expected from participants.
Mr. Springer emphasized the human element in developmental activities
whether at the national or regional level. He reminded those present that
it was well recognized that "development with and by the people" had
proven a lot more sustainable than "development for the people." The
purpose of the consultation therefore was embedded in the desire of the
Governments of the region to operationalize an approach to shared or
inclusive government, and to explore ways to facilitate and incorporate
stakeholder participation as an integral part of governance.
This has become essential in the context of a Caribbean Single Market
and Economy, given that this initiative seeks to enhance the ability of
each nation state to develop in a challenging global economy. Ultimately,
development was about increasing the overall well being of the people of
the region. And regional strategies had to be found, not only to promote
growth and development but also to combat the ill effects of globalization
on the economic health of the region.
It was expected therefore, that the consultation would generate
suggestions and recommendations for approaches which would ensure
that everyone understood and participated in promoting the cause of
2.2 Welcome address by Honourable Jon Odlum
Having welcomed everyone to the Consultation, Hon. Jon Odlum, briefly
reminded participants that "Civil Society" represented the majority of
persons in a nation. As such, the success of Government's initiatives
depended very heavily on the contributions and levels of preparedness
existing among civil society. Therefore, the success of a single market
and economy would require that persons make adjustments and
sacrifices, as necessary.
Doing this would entail synchronizing our attitudes to the concept of
economic integration, and being prepared to make changes where
required, to ensure that everyone benefited from economic integration-
the individual, the family, the organization or the firm, the nation, and
Understanding the concept of a single market and economy was therefore
crucial to ensuring that the appropriate approaches are employed at all
2.3 Presentation by Mr. Anthony Severin
In his presentation, Mr. Severin indicated that one of the main problems
facing CARICOM, was that the members of CARICOM, or the persons
whose interests CARICOM served, questioned the relevance of CARICOM
to their daily lives and aspirations.
Mr. Severin explained that National Governments were often faced with
the challenge of "balancing community interest with National Interest."
So while citizens complained that the Governments were not doing
enough to ensure that CARICOM worked effectively, they also
complained at the presence of goods and services from other member
states, in their own local markets.
Moreover, there was often acute resistance, hindering the efforts of
CARICOM regarding the free movement of labour, goods and services
within the region.
Participants were reminded that their suggestions, concerns and
recommendations would be submitted to the Secretariat for final
"placing" before the Heads of Government at the "Forward Together
Conference." Therefore the "views" from this process are expected to
have far-reaching effects.
Participants were encouraged to faithfully represent the interests and
views of their respective constituencies and to effectively discharge their
responsibilities of ensuring that civil society understood the concept of
free movement in a single market and economy.
2.4 Address Mr. Edwin Carrington/CARICOM General Secretary
Mr. Carrington began his presentation by suggesting that all of the
national anthems of the members of CARICOM be presented in one place
(book, CD, etc.), so that the citizens of CARICOM could learn and
participate in their expression whenever there was need to do so.
He highlighted that the purpose of the dialogue was to increase the level
of effectiveness in managing the relationships and partnerships between
Civil Society and Government.
Mr. Carrington opined that world trends made the continuous and
consistent involvement of Civil Society, an imperative for good
governance. Civil Society, he noted, would be especially instrumental in
making economic integration more viable, given the goals of increasing
collaboration, as well as establishing a cohesive system for the movement
The integration process necessitated that CARICOM review its processes.
This review had produced nine protocols which formed the legal basis
and regulatory framework for the functioning of the CSME. The
integration process also included the establishment of a 'Caribbean
Court of Justice', responsible for the arbitration of trade disputes which
may arise from the implementation of the Protocols. This 'body' would
also serve as the final court of appeal for both civil and criminal matters
in the region.
In making the region more coherent, wider participation was enabled
through the establishment of a "Regional Negotiation Machinery" in 1997.
In readiness for the implementation of the CSME, CARICOM had also
provided for 'hands on' involvement for its Heads of Government by
forming a "Quasi Cabinet" comprising Prime Ministers across the
Community. The members of this "Quasi Cabinet" were allocated
portfolios given their respective areas of expertise (details are provided in
Appendix A (ii)).
Mr. Carrington encouraged faith in the integration process by
highlighting the region's integration successes, as well as the fact that
the region had the quality of the resource needed to make the CSME
work. The skills, abilities and experience already exist. What was
needed was dialogue with all stakeholders to make it beneficial to all.
Like the National Governments, Civil Society had its responsibilities.
A summary of challenges and suggestions from Mr. Carrington's address
Intensification of economic difficulties following the events of
September 11, 2001. Sectors most affected were: Tourism, Aviation
Industries, and Financial (off-shore) Services.
Increasing demands on regional and national security systems,
straining current physical, legal and financial resources.
Increased urgency for implementation of policies regarding crime
prevention and management.
The likely position of the EU and the USA on money laundering
activities (mandatory reporting by various financial and non-
Mr. Carrington suggested that St. Lucia Civil Society include in their
deliberations, suggestions and recommendations regarding St. Lucia's
response to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 in light of the identified
2.5 Feature Address Mr. Mc Donald Dixon
Since the 1973 "Treaty of Chaguaramus" did not provide for the full
economic integration of the region, the CARICOM Heads of Government
signed the Grande Anse Declaration in 1989, with the primary purpose
of establishing the CSME.
The CSME was conceptualized as an arrangement, whereby goods,
services, people and capital could move without restrictions (technical or
legal) among member states. It would also provide for the harmonizing of
Banking Policies regarding foreign exchange and interest rates, tax
regimes, and a common currency.
The nine protocols which amended the Treaty of Chaguaramus, provided
the legal basis for the establishment and operations of the CSME.
Protocol II which dealt with the "Right of Establishment, Provision of
Services and Movement of Capital," would have the greatest impact on
Civil Society. It behoved us therefore, to understand fully the terms of
Protocol II and their likely impacts.
Mr. Dixon was of the view that the CSME would yield many benefits to
the CARICOM Community. Within this framework member states would
be stronger politically and economically. Six million regional inhabitants
would have more opportunities for employment, investment, production
and trade. In addition, the CSME would provide a stronger platform for
the region to interface with the rest of the world, while enhancing its
ability to compete more effectively in the global arena.
Many enabling factors already existed. These included a common
heritage, similar cultures, religions and political systems. Intra-regional
relationships also existed, fostering pride and acceptance of regional
music, sports and trade. Integration was therefore familiar to the sub-
region. The OECS for example, already shared a common currency, and
a judicial system. Notwithstanding, the issues of reciprocity and equity
were to be fully considered before the CSME could succeed in the
St. Lucia could contribute to its success by being vigilant and self-
sufficient; by developing wide and deep linkages among our primary,
secondary and tertiary industries, and increasing our overall productivity
so that we could compete effectively in the regional and global market.
Highlights of concerns and suggestions for improvement follow:
*The challenge for St. Lucia would involve surmounting uncertainties
regarding the level of commitment and willingness of all members of
the CSME to act in the spirit of "reciprocity".
Wide disparities in the quality of goods and services among member
states, creating competitive inequities existed.
Suggestions for Improving Competitive Edge:
Increase the capacity of CSME members to compete internationally
by upgrading the infrastructure of the productive sector:- (Tourism,
Agriculture, Manufacturing and Financial Services.)
Foster a willingness for collective action, to achieve economies of
scale, and collective bargaining.
The Private Sector and other sectors of Civil Society, could increase
their productivity by utilizing the facilities, such as fiscal incentives
and finance schemes, provided by Government.
Every effort should be made to ensure that goods and services
produced in the region, are not only affordable, but also fully
acceptable to local and regional consumers.
From Mr. Dixon's address, it appeared that the challenges facing St.
Lucia, given a CSME, involved the acceptance and willingness of the St.
Lucian populace to mobilize the requisite attitudes, skills, commitment,
productiveness, and vision, to benefit fully.
The full address is included as Appendix A (i).
2.6 Perspectives from Civil Society Representatives
(i) Commerce Bryan Louisy
Mr. Bryan Louisy, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce
presented "Strengthening the Involvement of Civil Society in the
Caribbean Community The Vision for Development from the perspective
of the Business Sector." (Appendix A (iii))
The presentation highlighted "competitiveness" as most critical for the
Business Sector, given its direct impact on the economies of CARICOM
Countries. Citizens of CARICOM Countries will measure the success of
the CSME by the benefits derived from integration. Therefore, the CSME
must focus on achieving global competitiveness. Competitive strategies
must seek to gain competitive advantage instead of comparative
advantage, to reduce the region's dependency on natural attributes and
Converting comparative advantage to competitive advantage will require
the appropriate quality of human resources and institutional frameworks.
Developing the human resources will need to be in the direction of
investing in skills and abilities which will command high wages and
ultimately reduce poverty. By increasing the human capacity through
education and technology, the region could strategically position itself to
offer goods and services at prices that yield high returns.
Adjustments in the Education System should focus on aligning skills and
education to the requirements of the market place.
While the CSME will yield many benefits, some constraints are envisaged.
(a) Varying levels of unpreparedness among countries;
(b) The attitudes of operators and beneficiaries;
(c) Unwillingness on the part of the political directorate to keep the
(d) Intra-regional competition may cause economic and social decline;
(e) Policy makers may vary in their desire to promote unrestricted
movement of capital and labour.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the CSME will only succeed if everyone
benefits. Every attempt must therefore be made to ensure that a
situation, where only a few benefit at the expense of others does not
come into existence.0
(ii) Youth Silas Wilson
The Presentation (Appendix A (v)) by the Youth Representative focused on
the non-governmental organizations and their purpose of assisting in
improving the quality of life of the marginalized. Given the importance of
that role, the presenter felt that NGO's should receive more financial
support from Government. It would be well earned support given that
NGO's helped to bridge gaps between the poorly represented and the
powerful. NGO's also served as change catalysts in the development
process. Strengthening NGO's therefore, will increase the nation's
chances with economic integration.
The creation of a CSME will impact quite heavily on the youth. Young
persons are most prone to unemployment, social maladjustments, crime,
etc. Often these social problems have resulted from education and skills
deficiencies, and poorly functioning homes. Therefore, any strategy for
development must include a specific focus on youth development, given
that the youth of the region forms the largest portion of its population.
Integration then must involve the masses. Improving or facilitating the
productivity of the masses will contribute to the success of the CSME.
(iii) NGO's Darnley La Bourne
This presentation (Appendix (iv)) examined the role of Civil Society in
governance and national development.
The approach to 'governance' in the region has fostered the view that
development is engineered by and revolves around National Government.
This outlook has served to marginalize the citizenry in general and civil
society in particular, effectively excluding a massive resource
underpinning the society, including a cultural heritage, productive
sectors and indigenous technologies. This marginalization of Civil
Societies impacts poorly on nations by hindering the development
Development is everyone's responsibility. The role of Government and
Governance is to organize and facilitate the development process, while
other sectors of society operationalized to achieve development.
The development strategy therefore, should provide for strengthening of
Civil Society to participate more effectively in "governance" through
Civil Society must be given every opportunity to consult at the national
and regional levels. Regional governing bodies should formalize this by
creating the appropriate mechanisms.
Civil Society, for its part, must pursue a development path, inclusive of
all sectors. This will lead to the discovery of creative potentials existing
among persons and mobilizing community and national spirit, towards
the utilization of a development model which is participatory, equitable
This new model of development would enable popular participation in the
process of decision-making and governance.
(iv) Women Rufina Paul
In an impromptu presentation, Mrs. Rufina Paul sought to provide a
National or Regional development plans could be made more effective by
reviewing the methods Caribbean women used to raise successful and
well integrated families and citizens. These methods were of particular
importance given that the majority of homes were matriarchal in nature,
often without the viable presence of a male counterpart. In such
situations women had learnt to optimally utilize limited resources to
manage homes and households successfully.
In the case of the 'working woman', the challenge was even more severe.
Her most productive hours may be the pre 8 o' clock hours, where
husbands or mates were prepared for work and children for school.
These women themselves would then put in their time at work and
return home to continue the productive activity of nurturing a family.
Male counterparts are exposed (via the home) to the methods employed
by women; however they often failed to successfully transcribe women's
views and methods.
The troublesome phenomenon though, was that women themselves did
not exhibit faith in their 'home management' methods. Professionally,
they tended to operate as their male counterparts, going against their
nature as it were, thereby depriving the organizations of the benefits of
their 'productivity achieving experience and methods."
Looking at the "woman's formula" could provide insights which could be
applied to the formation and implementation of the CSME.
These presentations comprised the first half of the Consultation.
Section III of the report addresses the issues which emerged from
Discussions from participants seemed to indicate a wide acceptance of
the inevitability of the CSME. Given global trends especially in the
aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, participants readily
embraced the integration concept as a means of achieving economic and
social advancement in a highly competitive global arena. It was also
generally accepted that the survival of firms and the development of
nations depended on their ability to garner resources through trade to
fulfill their developmental needs. The events of September 11 had also
irrevocably changed the world in a manner that intensified the
development challenges of developing nations. Limited resources also
challenged the region to find innovative ways to decrease its vulnerability
in the face of current occurrences.
Inter-country relationships had to be strategically managed to ensure
that the most beneficial alliances were effected. Integration was therefore
seen as one method which would strengthen the Community's ability to
provide for the welfare of its citizens, as well as strengthen its negotiating
ability internationally. Integration had worked for more developed
countries and could be expected to work for the Community.
Participants recognized a need for a full understanding of the integration
process, via the CSME, including how it was expected to function; what
would be the responsibilities and obligations of members; what were the
likely 'fall outs'; how would individual nations and citizens benefit, and
what role would civil society play.
In addition, participants identified several factors which may impact or
hinder the effective functioning of the CSME. It was further recognized
that an acceptable level of readiness for a CSME may require some
attitudinal adjustments and cultural reorientation among the citizens of
The factors identified for further discussion and action are as follows:
1. Human Resource Development priorities
2. Civil Society Participation and Governance
Culture, Youth, Business Competitiveness, National Isues.
3. Justice and Governance.
3.1 Human Resource Development Priorities
While it was generally agreed that many capabilities for social and
economic advancement were available among our citizens, it was felt that
the education system should be revamped to ensure that the most
appropriate capabilities were developed and fostered.
Participants had the following concerns with respect to the education
The education system seemed focused on academic achievements
and not on employable skills, whether it be for the job market or
for self-employment. Therefore, school leavers were not adequately
prepared for immediate absorption into the productive sectors of
The education system had been slow in utilizing Information
Technology as an instructional tool and was not educating
students in Information Technology, to any meaningful degree.
Teachers continued to use traditional "talk and chalk" methods in
their deliveries, thereby doing little to stimulate interest among
students. Teaching methods were predominantly teacher-centered
instead of learner-centered.
Teachers continued to be disenchanted with low status, lagging
remunerations and poor conditions. This gave rise to a massive
exodus of qualified and experienced teachers to North America and
the United Kingdom.
Low wages and poor conditions in the teaching service did not
attract the best quality among employment seekers. Therefore
persons entering the teaching service needed themselves to be
trained in "content" as well as "technique".
Teacher Training as provided by the St. Lucia Teachers' Training
College focused more on providing content and not on the "delivery
of education and instruction." Although some improvements had
been made in that regard, the focus seemed more on preparing
teacher trainees for university.
There was also an unwillingness among private sector
organizations to invest in training their employees in areas that
were specific to them. The business sector also did little to
influence education programmes and curriculum development.
Employee development did not appear to be a responsibility which
the business sector valued.
No avenues were provided for exploring the viability of ideas
emanating from students' projects and science fairs.
Although there were many attempts at harmonizing the needs of
the workplace and the education system, little had been done to
provide the necessary structures whereby recommendations and
suggestions could be implemented. All the benefits of good
planning and the laying of the ground work were lost because of
poor "follow-through" or "follow-up".
Some degree of seriousness and commitment was required by all
stakeholders, (education policy makers and administrators, educators,
parents, the business sector and other relevant groupings), in order to
improve the effectiveness of the education system.
Suggestions for Improvement:
According to participants the Education System could be improved by the
1. Better alignment of the Education System with the economic
needs of the nation given the context of economic integration.
2. Education programmes and support systems for parents to ensure
that the young citizens of the nation develop the attitudes and
values conducive to economic, social and cultural advancement.
3. Instruction techniques that are learner-centered.
4. Increased focus on "Teacher Training" to develop teaching
techniques that will aid in the total development of students.
5. Development of a mechanism which will enable the sharing of
expertise in specialized areas among the schools of the region. In
this way "strengths" among teachers will be maximized to
minimize the impact of "weakness" among teachers in critical
6. An increase in the number of specialist teachers in primary
7. Distance learning programmes for making tertiary education more
accessible and affordable.
8. Utilisation of the internet for education and instructional purposes.
9. Education and Training Programmes geared towards developing
multiple skills in individuals.
10. Commitment and will on the part of all stakeholders to make
education relevant and responsive to the changing environment.
3.2 Civil Society: Participation and Governance
There was a general preoccupation among participants on the
impact of a CSME on the various sectors comprising "civil society".
Special consideration was solicited for highly marginalized groups,
such as the disabled and the economically disadvantaged.
The efforts of those engaged in working "behind the scenes" for the
well being of groups not normally provided by mainstream policies,
were not recognized by National Governments. The disabled for
instance, had their Associations, which needed sustained support
The increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS among the 'productive
citizens' and youth of the region was raised, as a 'new disability'.
It was also felt that retirement schemes needed to be vigorously
promoted among the nations of the CSME, to lessen the burden on
'productive citizens.' Preparing for retirement did not seem to be a
priority for the average St. Lucian citizen.
There was also the issue of rampant 'indiscipline' among our people.
There seemed to be little regard for protocol, respect for authority or
for one another. A serious effort was required to address the issues
of indiscipline in the region.
Suggestions for Improvement:
Provisions for the disabled should be included in national political
agendas and discussed on political platforms. The contributions of
the disabled should be given wider coverage and recognition.
Incorporate in the discussions at the regional conference "the role of
women in the CSME forum". This could be done at the NGO level,
since the voice of many NGOs was also the voice of women who
managed and operated them. Women played multiple roles:
nurturer, child bearer, home manager, producer, and community
organizer. Therefore, avenues were needed to effectively channel
Apply a unified approach in addressing problems associated with
the incidence of HIV/AIDS.
The contributions of women could be facilitated through the
provision of ancillary support services, such as childcare, and
business generation activities. Therefore developing the micro
business sector through the establishment of a Small Enterprise
Development Corporation (SEDCO) was a step in the right direction,
since it could provide support for the development of the income
generating capacity of women.
3.3 Culture and the CSME
Understanding national 'cultures' and how they impact on national
economies, will assist in an understanding of how these cultures will
impact the functioning of the CSME. This is of critical importance, since
culture is what determines the values, attitudes and perceptions of
people. Some paradigm shift may be required to broaden the concept of
'local' to include the CARICOM community. This will increase the level of
acceptance for goods, services and labour originating from other member
The CARICOM initiative of documenting the History of the Caribbean and
its experience with integration, should assist in reducing fears that
economic integration could have a more negative than positive impact on
individual nations 'fears', born of our Cultural orientation that 'others'
will come in to take away what may be rightfully ours. Clearly there will
be need for focused strategies to engineer the development of a 'culture',
which will embrace initiatives of regional growth for the ultimate benefit
of all community citizens.
A policy on "Culture", containing an action plan for the way forward has
already been approved by the St. Lucia Cabinet of Ministers. Dr. Keith
Nurse was engaged to research the impact of 'Culture on Economic
Development'. One finding was that existing data were not yet compiled
in a manner ready for proper analysis, presentation and discussion, and
for decision-making. Dr. Nurse's assignment would result in the
documentation and recommendations for incorporating cultural factors
in plans and strategies for economic development.
3.4 Youth and the CSME
It was felt that youth organizations had much experience with mobilizing
young persons for various purposes. However, youth organizations were
still unclear with respect to approaches at galvanizing the youth towards
advancing the cause of the CSME. The CARICOM Secretary General
invited youth representatives of St. Lucia to Guyana to deliberate further
on methods of youth participation in advancing the CSME.
3.5 Business Competitiveness and the CSME
It was felt that a major constraint to a firm's ability to employ
productivity improvement measures, was the level of 'powerlessness'
of the Business Sector to influence trade policy. The Political
Directorate seemed always to flag 'National Interest' to explain
unwillingness to accept suggestions, forwarded by the Business
While attempts were made to obtain the views of the Business
Sector, through Government appointed 'Boards', representatives or
Board members served only as mere advisors, giving advice which
was often not heeded.
There was no institutionalized mechanism mandating that the views
of the Business Sector be incorporated or heeded in formulating
Recommendations for Improvement:
It was well recognized that 'high productivity' firms would be more
successful within the CSME. Therefore, the focus would need to
include assisting firms to understand and organize for productivity
improvement, which will lead to lower unit costs, better quality
goods and services, and higher surpluses for higher wages, and
Firms would need to consider factors of ownership and
organizational structures and how they impact on the motivation of
employees who must operationalize efficiency measures. It was
unlikely that workers would support measures of increased
competitiveness and productivity unless they could share in the
3.6 The CSME and the St. Lucian Nation
The key concerns seem to revolve around the following questions:
* Was St. Lucia ready for integration at the CSME level?
Had St. Lucia as a nation examined the ramifications of the likely
impact of economic integration?
What was the Vision of "Civil Society" for a CSME, and how would
this vision be incorporated in the implementation of the CSME?
In what specific ways would St. Lucia benefit?
Given a CSME, what would be the future roles of CARICOM and
How would St. Lucia balance issues of 'compliance' regarding its
membership in the OECS, WTO, etc., while at the same time, be an
active member of the CSME? Will interests of the OECS, for
example conflict with the CSME agreements?
How would St. Lucia deal with possible negative impact from
opening its economy?
Is it not a situation where only the most capable or those with the
comparative advantage would survive?
Will those with the comparative advantage be singled out for the
development of those advantages, while others sought to benefit
from these developed advantages through unrestricted movement
of capital and labour?
Or will those with the advantage use this advantage to compete
with other less advantaged members of the CSME?
Could economic integration work without political integration?
The discussions did not produce responses for these questions.
Nevertheless, they highlighted the need for a greater understanding of
the concept of the CSME, as well as the instruments which will guide its
Participants also recognized that Civil Society needed to understand its
responsibilities regarding the way forward and their individual roles in
promoting the single market in their constituencies.
At this point, participants were informed of the Single Market Unit in
Barbados and its responsibility for examining issues of speedy
implementation as well as generating public education programmes
regarding the CSME.
3.7 Issues of Justice and Governance
In the view of participants, the quality of Governance depended
upon the level of vigilance exercised by the electorate as well as the
quality of politicians who form the government.
Participants identified the need for some mechanism which would
assist the electorate to assess candidates presented, based on some
qualifying criteria. The system, as it existed, forced persons to vote
for candidates based on the party they represented, even though the
candidate may not meet the personal standards of the electorate.
It appeared that the responsibilities of the ombudsman included
facilitating the adjudication of administrative injustice. However,
the ombudsman was appointed by the political administrator. How
then could one expect the 'hired' to be impartial in adjudicating
claims of 'injustice' involving the hirerr' and a third party?
Participants were informed that a "Caribbean Association of
Ombudsmen" had been formed, and that the Association was willing
to assist in promoting good governance in the Caribbean. However,
the Association was asking for recognition and to be empowered to
ensure its effectiveness.
There was also a concern with the way information flowed between
the government and the governed. It was felt that governments
lagged in their responsibility of providing the populace with
information on matters affecting their lives.
Suggestions for Improvement:
(1) Citizens must accept that "good governance" will require their
involvement and vigilance. CARICOM therefore, needed to
spearhead the drive to establish mechanisms to teach citizens to
make critical assessments and for increasing the involvement of
citizens and civil society in governance.
(2) Participants suggested that civil society could be given an
institutionalized role in the appointment of Ombudsmen.
(3) A mechanism was required whereby the government could obtain
the information it required from non-government sectors in order to
make good decisions.
(4) Include "not proven" as an outcome of a court trial. A trial usually
ends with a verdict of guilty or not guilty. Quite often on the local
scene, known criminals escaped justice, simply because a verdict of
'not guilty' was handed down on legal technicalities. A 'not proven'
outcome would enable the authorities to organize a re-trial. This
is especially critical in St. Lucia given the regularity with which the
state has lost serious cases because of police ineptness.
The opinion remained, that it is difficult for civil society to increase its
involvement in governance given our structure of democracy.
The following seeks to summarize participants' views, suggestions and
recommendations as expressed during the consultation.
Economic integration seems inevitable given global trends. However, a
level of unpreparednesss' seems apparent among the populace.
Questions yet to be answered were as follows:
1. What would be the role of the OECS in the CSME?
2. How would the CSME impact on St. Lucia?
3. What form will the CSME take? Would it be a 'single' unified
economy or would it be an amalgamation of individual
Preparing the 'masses' through education would need to precede full
implementation. The education process should aim at fully informing
the populace on how the CSME would function, the instruments
governing its functioning, avenues for arbitration, likely benefits and
impact, expectations of the CARICOM Community, expectations of
member states (in our case the expectations of St. Lucia) and avenues
and mechanisms for facilitating the involvement of the citizenry and civil
Participants felt that the CSME will expand the productive capacity of the
region by increasing the opportunities of citizens for greater expression,
fulfillment and growth.
The role of Civil Society in advancing the CSME would include inter alia:
Information dissemination and education
Honest representation of the interests of those represented
Active vigilance of policies and decisions impacting on the lives of
Structured and systematic advocacy on issues of national interest
Demonstrated commitment and will at assisting in the shaping of a
'culture', conducive to progress through integration.
However, the work of civil society could be enhanced by appropriate
empowerment and recognition from the relevant authorities and
beneficiaries. In addition, Civil Society expects the following from
Openness and honesty
Structures and institutions which will facilitate and enable
involvement and participation in governance.
Participants also made the following recommendations.
1. Establish a working committee to spearhead the promotion of the
CSME, in each member state. The broad purpose of the committee
would include educating the public on economic integration and
more specifically on the concept of a Caribbean Single Market and
2. Establish a mechanism to officially recognize the role of Civil
Society in national development and governance.
3. Align the education system to the needs of individuals and sectors,
which must function in a world characterized by globalization and
4. Increase access to "Distance Learning."
5. Focus on Productivity Improvement Strategies to develop
competitiveness of firms.
6. Establish a legal process which will effectively facilitate the speedy
or prompt resolution of trade and other civil disputes arising from
the functioning of the single market.
7. Provide the opportunity for the women's 'viewpoint' to be heard at
the "Forward Together Conference" slated later for Barbados.
8. Increase the involvement of the business sector in determining
human resource development priorities for the nation.
9. Create, develop and sustain private/public/NGO partnerships, for
dialogue and active participation of Civil Society.