Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon. Mia Mottley, is proposing that the process to verify Certificates of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification be revamped to shorten the time in which this exercise is undertaken.
This, she suggested, can be done by adjusting existing legislation to allow the burden of proof to be shifted to the applicant to swear to the authenticity of the certificate, and if later found to be fraudulent, to show cause why the document should not be revoked.
“If we do that simple amendment to the legislation, it means that the process which is taking two (to) four months, can now be done within two to three days at most with respect to accreditation,” she said.
The Barbadian Prime Minister was addressing the opening ceremony for the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on Wednesday (July 4) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.
The Certificate of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification guarantees qualified nationals the benefit of moving and working freely across the region.
This document, which is a provision under the CARICOM (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act, allows these privileges without the need for a work permit or permit of stay.
Ms. Mottley lamented that the matter of accreditation and the issuance and verification of skills certificates have impeded the day-to-day lives of too many CARICOM citizens, stressing that “this is of great concern to us… . We have to change and change urgently”.
She pointed out that in her country, between 2006 and 2018, the Accreditation Council issued 2,039 Certificates and verified another 1,122. Out of the 3,161 certificates, 10 were fraudulent.
“In other words, 0.3 per cent of certificates that we spent months seeking to verify, were fraudulent,” she said.
Ms. Mottley stressed that in the age of technological advancements, such as blockchain technology, “we must be able to do better at real-time communication, particularly as we go forward in the issuance of skills certificates and diplomas that will allow for more ease of verification”.
The Meeting of the CARICOM Heads is being held from July 4-6. Among the key agenda items are crime and violence, disaster management and climate change, and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The Conference of Heads of Government, which consists of the Heads of Government of the Member States, is the supreme organ of the Caribbean Community and determines and provides its policy direction.