Arthur says   450 restrictions to be removed
October 14, 2005

Arthur says 450 restrictions to be removed

Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados, Lead Prime Minister for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, has announced that a timetable has been put in place for the removal of the 450 restrictions to the single market and economy that exist in the Caribbean.

Arthur, at a meeting with private sector and other civil society stakeholders at the Methodist Church Hall on Monday October 10, said the restrictions that exist across the Caribbean are currently being examined as St.Vincent and the Grenadines and other countries of the region put the necessary mechanisms in place to fully embrace one Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) by year’s end.{{more}}

Some of the restrictions are simple administrative matters to be removed said Arthur adding that others will have to removed from the Constitution. He described some of these restrictions as being difficult to remove.

Arthur’s visit here has fulfilled a mandate that was given at the 26th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, that the Lead Prime Minister for CSME should visit the OECS Member States.

The purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit was to identify issues and measures, which relate to special and differential treatment provisions, contemplated by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and assess member states status of readiness to meet the December 31, 2005 deadline for the Single Market.

Prime Minister Arthur’s delegation to St.Vincent and the Grenadines comprised Dr. Edwin Carrington, Secretary General of CARICOM and other officials.

Prime Minister Arthur is of the view that unless the people of the Caribbean are demystified about what the CSME is about and unless there is a sense of ownership of both the process and the substance, there will be great difficulty in having the idea successfully accepted and implemented.

“There is a tendency in the Caribbean to confuse the CSME which we are seeking to bring into existence at the start of next year with the pre existing forms of integration which did not seek to make the region a single market and economy,” said Arthur.

The Prime Minister explained that the Caribbean region has had the experience of integration as far back as 1968 when the countries of the region came together and agreed to remove import duties and other restrictions on the movement of goods (CARIFTA). He further stated that in 1973, the idea of CARIFTA was broadened and in addition to removing restrictions on the movement of goods, arrangements were made for the erection of a common external tariff on goods coming from outside the region.