Regional private group signs MoU with Caricom

Regional private group signs MoU with Caricom

Friday, December 04, 2020

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (CMC) — The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Private Sector Organisation (CPSO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the 15-member regional integration grouping, pledging 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.

A Caricom Secretariat statement issued here on Friday said that the MoU was signed by Caricom Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque and CPSO chairman Gervase Warner during a virtual ceremony on Thursday.

It said the CPSO is the latest associate institution of Caricom, having been given the designation on October 20 this year.

“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,” the statement noted.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has lead responsibility within the quasi-Cabinet of Caricom 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 summit last year in St Lucia, at which they signalled that progress was being made towards the establishment of the regional body.

During the Caricom Inter-Session summit in Barbados in February, the CPSO confirmed the establishment of the grouping and that it is a non-profit organisation with headquarters in Barbados.

La Rocque, 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, which allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the region.

He said 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 leaders.

The Secretary-General 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.

“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.

Warner said he is confident 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.

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