Sunday, October 30, 2005

Making Moves Toward the Caribbean Single Market and Economy

“St. Kitts to Begin Offering Caribbean Community Passports to Citizens”
AP Worldview - AOL News
October 27, 2005

On October 25, 2005, St. Kitts joined Suriname and St. Vincent as the third country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to offer Caribbean Community passports. This move is a major thrust towards the January 2006 launch of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), a non-political trade group modeled after the European Union. The CSME will encourage the free movement of goods and skilled persons throughout the region. Skilled persons include university graduates, media workers, athletes, artists, and musicians.

The 15 CARICOM member states include (1) Antigua and Barbuda; (2) The Bahamas; (3) Barbados; (4) Belize; (5) Dominica; (6) Grenada; (7) Guyana; (8) Haiti; (9) Jamaica; (10) Montserrat; (11) St. Kitts and Nevis; (12) St. Lucia; (13) St. Vincent and the Grenadines; (14) Suriname; and (15) Trinidad and Tobago. Associate members include Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Citizens of St. Kitts will be able to obtain the new passport beginning November 15, 2005. The CARICOM passport is a National passport bearing the logo of CARICOM, the words “Caribbean Community”, and the Coat of Arms and the name of the issuing member state. The passports will be used for intra-regional and extra-regional travel. The Caribbean passport is one move toward unifying the region.

While other members are expected to adopt the new passport by 2007, the Bahamas and Haiti have expressed that they do not intend to participate in the CSME. The Bahamas feels that their structure and financial markets are currently attractive to foreign investment and that CSME membership and their association with some of the more inefficient member states would only weaken their economy. Supporters of the CSME feel that the trade group will enhance the region’s ability to compete with the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

As the January 2006 launch date approaches, it will be interesting to see if any other member states besides Trinidad and Barbados will be prepared to enter the CSME.


Anonymous said...

This seems like a good idea in theory, but to have the individual nations come together and actually embrace this new unified identity may prove to be a daunting task.

Cynthia said...

WOW- This is very interesting. I found it most interesting that the Bahamas and Haiti did not want to join this union. Of all places I would think that the Bahamas would want to be a part of this economic movement. However, I think that it is probably better that Haiti not join at this time, considering their current political turmoil.

I also agree with "Anonymous" in that this may be a good idea in theory, but that it will definitely be a hardship for the nations to actually come together. It will take time to see any lucrative results.

Anonymous said...

This appears to be a good idea. As the economy grows increasingly global, I think it will be imperative for these nations to come together and increase their bargaining power. As evidenced in the bargaining power of the EU.

Janel said...

I agree with all three comments. I think that the fact that some nations are implementing policies toward the CSME is a small step in the right direction. From what I have read, the decision whether to join the CSME is still a live debate in the Bahamas. The lack of participation of the Bahamas and Haiti in the CSME shows the disunity and elitism that still exists in the region. These issues need to be overcome if the CSME is to become possible.