Montserrat to join Caricom Single Market and Economy(CSME)
Statement by the The Honourable Premier of Montserrat Mr Reuben T Meade at the 35th Regular 35th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) meeting at St Johns, Antigua & Barbuda 1-4 July 2014.
The Montserrat Premier also signed the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) of which Montserrat has been up to this point a de facto participating member.
The Department of Trade is the focal point for CROSQ matters on Montserrat. (For further information on CROSQ go to www.crosq.org)
As a founding member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Montserrat has continued to retain full membership of CARICOM and remains an up to date subscriber to all of the specialized agencies in our region and the CARICOM Secretariat. Montserrat also participates fully in the Common External Tariff (CET).
We have legal provisions for the automatic grant of 6 months stay under the freedom of movement obligations and CARICOM skills certificates are also honoured in Montserrat, but we do not yet have in place the institutional arrangements to issue those Certificates.
Montserrat also issues land holding licenses to CARICOM nationals as an administrative procedure in seeking to comply with CARICOM’s right of establishment obligations, and we intend to remove all impediments except for those related to cost recovery; and of course our compliance with the movement of capital obligations is assured within the framework of the East Caribbean Currency Union.
Montserrat therefore proposes for the Conference to be alerted of the Government of Montserrat’s intention to accede to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and to participate in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
We are fully competent to do so on entrustments received from our main sponsor the United Kingdom Government for our continued full participation in the regional integration movement.
You may also be aware that as at January 1st of this year 2014, a new Direction was issued by the European Union, which is equivalent to the CARICOM-EPA and creates an opportunity now for the French and Dutch Departments in the Caribbean to also join in our Regional Integration Movement.
We in Montserrat are clearly ahead in this team effort and it’s strengthening by actions from our internal and external partners, including the private sector globally is encouraging.
In Montserrat, we continue to view the regional integration movement as presenting an over-arching economic platform that can be beneficial to our peoples.
It provides space for employment creation and extending opportunity for joint ventures and increased functional cooperation among our governments and people.
It is our intention therefore to bring the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (CSME) Bill to our parliament for its first reading before September of 2014 and we anticipate the enactment of the Bill by the end of this year 2014.
Montserrat will also proceed to engage with the CCJ and CDF to ensure concurrent accession to these entities, which are inextricably linked to the Revised Treaty.
Montserrat therefore intends to deposit an Instrument of Accession to the Revised Treaty by the next meeting of the Conference.
In order to forestall any legal action that may be taken against Montserrat in relation to its CSME Obligations, pending the completion of legislative and administrative arrangements for implementation, we invite the Conference to:
(I). Approve that Montserrat shall enjoy reasonable time-frames to put in place the institutional arrangements to comply with its Treaty obligations following upon Accession to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas for participation in the CSME;
(ii). That these reasonable time-frames are agreed with and implemented in consultation with the CARICOM Secretariat, particularly the Office of the General Counsel.