The CARICOM Private Sector Organisation on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Caribbean Community to cooperate on the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), regarded as the most viable platform for supporting the Region’s growth and development.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque signed on behalf of the Community and Chairman Mr Gervase Warner signed for the CPSO in the virtual ceremony.
The CPSO is the latest Associate Institution of CARICOM, having been so designated on the 29 October 2020. Its status is recognition of the need for more structured engagement between the Community and the Private Sector and Labour to achieve economic development and full realisation of regional integration.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the Lead Head of Government in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet for the CSME, laid the foundation for the CPSO’s formation at a meeting of regional private sector officials in Barbados in June 2019. The private sector representatives were subsequently invited, along with representatives of the regional labour movement, to the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in July 2019, at which they signalled that progress was being made towards the establishment of the regional body. They confirmed to the Heads of Government at their 31st Inter-sessional Meeting in Barbados in February 2020, that the CPSO had been established as a non-profit organisation with Headquarters in Barbados.
The CARICOM Secretary-General, in congratulating the CPSO, said while the CARICOM Treaty provides the administrative framework to create the single market and economy, it is the regional stakeholders, such as the private sector who will give practical meaning to it by making use of the opportunities provided.
He noted that significantly, the MOU gives the CPSO Observer Status at Meetings of the Community’s Organs and Bodies on matters related to the CSME. It also creates a follow-up mechanism, through a joint technical committee drawn from the CARICOM and CPSO Secretariats. The Committee is mandated to meet quarterly to keep track of the programme and to review and report back to the CARICOM Secretary-General and the CPSO Chairman and subsequently to the CARICOM Heads of Government.
The Secretary-General noted the pro-active efforts of the CPSO, which has already found itself on regional committees established by the Community including; the Committee on Mergers and Acquisitions policy; the E-Commerce Committee; the Committee on Front of Label Packaging; the sub-committee on the Food Security Plan; and the CET and Rules of Origin sub-committee.
He praised the CPSO’s work on the development of its “Twenty-Five by 2025” document in which it lists priority areas for investment in the Region in response to concerns about the Region’s significant food import bill. This he expects to lead to an implementable Plan of Action.
“The CPSO also submitted to us a risk assessment on how to reopen our economies in this difficult time of COVID-19 which was disseminated to all Member States,” the Secretary-General noted.
Mr Warner express confidence that the private sector’s collaboration with the Community will help to realise the Region’s development goals.
“We are confident that the goodwill that has been engendered and the cooperation fostered, and the resources applied to the fulfilment of the MOU, will set us unmistakably on the path of accelerated development for our Region and in particular towards the achievement of the goal of full implementation of the CSME,” the CPSO Chairman said.