CCJ cements rules-based system in CARICOM, says secretary-general

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Deliberations of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ministers of trade during their special session on the strategic direction of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) should be informed by a recent judgement by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which has cemented the Community’s rules-based system.

CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque
CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque

This is the view of CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque, which he shared in an address to the opening ceremony of the special session on Friday morning in Georgetown, Guyana.

The implications of the decision of the CCJ in the Shanique Myrie case on Community relations was due be discussed at the COTED meeting at the weekend.

According to LaRocque, the judgement has far-reaching implications for decision-making and implementation, the nature and effects of Community law, obligations of member states and the rights of Community nationals. The judgement, he added, engendered confidence in Community arrangements.

“Each and every member state party to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas has agreed to certain rights and obligations, and if the Community is to deepen its integration process, we all have a responsibility to ensure that we meet our obligations to each other. However, we must equally be aware of the constraints which may hinder our member states from fulfilling those obligations and responsibilities,” the secretary–general said.

In recognition of the challenges and limitations that faced member states, the secretary-general said that the region had collectively to endeavour to put all member states on a sound footing to tackle the hard economic realities. For the Community, he said, enhancing competitiveness and expanding trade were crucial elements to propel growth and improve the welfare of the region.

The time was also opportune, the secretary-general said, for a review of the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and whether the approach to it was adequate to address the immediate concerns of member states.

“Just as we have agreed that the revised treaty must now be reviewed in order to advance our integration arrangements, we have to examine the role of the CSME in addressing the economic challenges of member states. I remain convinced, however, that the CSME is our best option for addressing our economic challenges.” LaRocque said.

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