| I am honoured to welcome you to
Antigua and Barbuda and indeed to this final
conference of the Students Engaging the CSME through
Field Promotion project. Antigua and Barbuda is
delighted to have been chosen to be part of this
activity on two occasions. To the students from
Grenada who journeyed to Antigua in 2009 as part of
the earlier phase of this project, I extend a very
warm welcome back. To those of you who are visiting
for the first time, I trust that the experience will
be as rewarding and fruitful as it was for the
students from Antigua and Barbuda, who visited
Belize during the period 13-19 September, 2009.
This activity is being held only two weeks short
of the 5th Anniversary of the start of CSME
Implementation. On 30th June, 2006, 12 countries of
the Caribbean Community declared that they were in a
state of readiness to operate the CARICOM Single
Market and Economy and made the commitment to
proceed to the Single Economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, critical to successful
implementation and effectiveness of the CSME is the
education of the various publics and their
understanding and buy-in to the relevance, the
scope, the benefits and the ownership of the CSME.
The objectives of this project: Students Engaging
the CSME through Filed Promotion, and similar
projects, continue to be to educate the region about
the CSME to win their support for regional
integration and to demonstrate how to use the law,
institutions and economic conditions to seek
employment and to develop business enterprises.
Even with the strides being made at the national
and regional levels, the awareness studies and
assessments of the Public Education efforts are
still calling for increased activities. This is a
herculean task which has some limited support
through collaborations, since even at our national
level there are dwindling resources and competing
priorities. Many Community institutions are
challenged with insufficient financial and technical
resources and the present economic environment
compounds the challenges.
However, as the CSME moves to the stage of “how
to” it is critical that the next generation
understand their reality on cross border operations
and appreciate the facts about new opportunities.
After all, without investment in the youth of the
region, there can be no long term strategy for the
This is why a project of this nature that sought
to engage the next generation in identifying career
opportunities in the field with regard to wage
employment, self employment and starting a business
within the CSME was such a success.
As you will recall, the engagements involved
investigation with the Ministries responsible for
Labour, Commerce, local stock exchange, a company
within the services industry, a large financial
institution, the Minister responsible for issuing
CARICOM Skilled Certificates, Immigration, a Private
Sector Company and a cultural element.
Over 500,000 Euros was spent to initiate
strengthening Community relationships and to provide
practical training to two hundred and eighty three
(283) students from twelve CARICOM Member States
participating in the CSME.
The basic strategy was to ensure that students
from one country would experience the CSME in a
practical manner in another Member State. Many of
the students who participated in the programme were
able to identify potential opportunities for
employment, creation of businesses and some have
signalled their interest in remaining in the Region.
These, coupled with the ongoing efforts to engage
the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, who are now excellent
spokespersons for engaging peers and colleagues in a
“youth friendly” manner, should be a great start to
creatively engaging our youth in a long term
strategy for the region.
Even though it is said that the CSME is still in
the implementation phase, we are seeing real
movements in the region.
The CSME must be a Lived Experience and Create
Benefits for the peoples of the Community and people
must be able to experience the CSME and realize the
benefits, so we remain committed to the development
We extend our gratitude to the European Union and
Delegation of the European Commission to Barbados
and the Eastern Caribbean for the continued support
and assistance in ensuring the successful completion
of this project, the Focal Points in each Member
State, the various Ministries, Private Sector
entities that offered their time and information,
the CARICOM Secretariat for undertaking such an
ambitious project and to the youth, for remaining
committed to the region.
In conclusion, I want to wish you all a very
successful two-day activity. I trust that you will
find a warm and welcoming environment here in
Antigua and Barbuda and that the positive results of
this entire project which has been conducted over
the past 3 years will redound in lasting benefits to
I thank you!