MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade A J Nicholson says local artistes must ensure that they understand the specific requirements of other Caribbean Community (Caricom) states in which they intend to perform.
Stating that his ministry is aware of some of the challenges that the entertainers face, Senator Nicholson said efforts are being made to address them.
"It is important in this context to also bear in mind that the Revised Treaty allows for a country to invoke Article 226 of the Revised Treaty on the basis of protecting public order and morals but this must be notified to the Council for Trade and Economic Development," he said in reference to the Treaty of Chaguaramas that established Caricom.
"While Jamaica has stoutly defended its entertainers it is important for entertainers themselves to understand the requirements under the revised treaty and the exceptions," Senator Nicholson told the Senate on Friday.
Noting the provision under the Treaty for the movement of service providers, Senator Nicholson said Jamaican entertainers can be regarded as temporary service providers meaning that when they move from Jamaica to elsewhere in the Caribbean they are providing a service in that territory subject to the approval of the relevant authorities. Entertainers are eligible for both skills certificates and recognition as temporary service providers.
Senator Nicholson, who was opening the debate on the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act said while the Bill had come to the Upper House at the "right point in time" — on the heels of the "national euphoria surrounding the ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the Shanique Myrie vs the State of Barbados and the State of Jamaica as an Intervenor" — it was also the opportune time to clarify some misunderstandings relating to the operations of the free movement regime.
Noting that the outcome of that case "will no doubt have had a powerful impact on the public's impression" of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) regime, he said "it is, however, crucial to the success of the CSME regime to manage public expectations of the free movement regime which includes the movement of skilled nationals, service providers and moment in relation to the rights of establishment (the right to establish a business)".
Pointing out that there were two regimes governing movement in the CSME, free movement for the purpose of engagement in gainful economic activity and hassle-free travel/facilitation of travel Senator Nicholson noted that the free movement of skill is limited to ten categories only adding that persons falling outside of these categories require work permits in the respective jurisdictions.
"So not everyone is eligible to move. It is also not a right to permanent residency or citizenship," he noted.
In the meantime, he has warned those who seek to use the arrangement under pretence.
"I must, again, caution that it is not in the spirit of the regime to enter another member state under false pretences, meaning that an individual may travel on a skills certificate which states that they are a plumber but that individual intends to work in a cook-shop or as a security guard.
If found out that member state is within its right to either deny entry or deport the person in question," Nicholson stated.
"I must also reiterate that whenever Jamaican nationals believe their rights under the CSME regime have not been upheld...then they must make a report to the nearest Jamaican High Commission or Consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Press reports alone will not suffice to allow the ministry to represent the interest of Jamaicans who believe their rights have been infringed," he added.