Press release 159/2010
(14 April 2010)


(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) “Contrary to a view that holds some sway, valuable strides have been made in facilitating the free movement of CARICOM nationals to facilitate their travel and to undertake economic activity within the Community.” This is according to the CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington who addressed the Opening Ceremony of the 19th Meeting of the Council of Human and Social Development in Georgetown, Guyana, on Wednesday morning.

The three-day Meeting which focuses on Labour is being held in conjunction with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Seventh Ministerial Meeting under the theme, Coherence for Human and Social Development in the Caribbean Community: the Contribution of Labour Ministries and the Decent Work Agenda.

One challenging issue that will be deliberated at the COHSOD meeting is that of free movement of labour and intra-regional migration. The COHSOD will need to consider those wage earners who do not fall within the ten eligible categories for movement under the CSME and still need permits to work in other participating Member States.

Enumerating the strides already achieved in the free movement component of the CSM, Secretary-General Carrington noted that the conditions for the acquisition of skills certificates had been established and were being applied and that the categories of wage –earners for free movement within the CSME had expanded and would continue to expand.

In this regard, the CARICOM Secretary-General pointed out that the available data on free movement had indicated that more than 6, 000 skills certificate had been issued between 2006 and 2008. That figure, he said was likely to be much higher for the period up to 2010, because of the expansion of the number of categories of wage earners who could now move across the region, both for economic activity. At the 30th regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government, held in Guyana in July 2009, certified domestic workers were included in the number of categories for movement under the CSME.

“When the issue of contingent rights is settled - and we hope that would not be too long - the number of persons gaining free access is likely to increase significantly,” Secretary-General Carrington stated.

Despite the strides made under free movement of persons for economic activity however, the CARICOM Secretary-General acknowledged that there was still much work to be done in accelerating the free movement of CARICOM nationals in a bid to advance the Single Market. He noted that there were still some Member States who needed to effect actions that would speed up the process for granting skills certificates and also to comply “more readily with the requirements for approving or accepting those skills certificates.”

The 19th COHSOD Meeting continues with deliberations focussing on Technical and Vocational Education and Training; the contribution of ministries of labour in advancing human and social development through the Decent Work Agenda; issues relating to the harmonising of labour laws within the Caribbean to facilitate the regional integration movement; new challenges for social security systems in the Caribbean and the role and function of labour market information systems in the regional integration process.


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