Ministry of Trade Facilitates Public Awareness About the CARICOM Skills Certificate

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 11, 2016 (SKNIS): The Ministry of International Trade in collaboration with the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit, hosted the first in a series of consultation and information sharing sessions with a public sensitization forum on the CARICOM Skills Certificate at the University of the West Indies Open Campus on Thursday, March 10.

Mrs. Jasemin Weekes, Director of Trade Research in the Ministry of International Trade, noted that the forum was designed to inform, advise, guide, and receive feedback from the audience.

“[It] is about harnessing your ideas and winning the hearts and minds of the policy makers to make your ideas, their ideas, so that together we can plot a course that would benefit all of us,” said the director, while adding that it was very pleasing to see so many young persons in attendance. “We would want your input and recommendations so as to feed into the ministry’s policies that could guide our government in empowering our people and improving the quality of their lives.”

Director Weekes pointed out that it was imperative for young persons to attend the forum as it is a shared view that they will be the beneficiaries of both the CSME and the integration arrangements. She challenged the young people to take a closer look at the benefits that might accumulate from the opportunities within the CSME, as well as to use their energies and skills creatively in order to help build the kind of community in which they would want to live.

During the question and answer segment of the forum, Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory, explained that in his capacity as Minister of Labour, he has had to deal with matters pertaining to CSME.

“I myself as Minister of Labour have to respond regularly to certain concerns about the freedom of movement and people’s request for work permits,” said the senior minister. “We have to go to work places to see that the workers who are there, who are not citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis and who are migrating in, that they are properly documented.”

Premier Amory expressed thanks to the many persons who played an integral role in ensuring that the event was successful and for initiating such a discussion. He noted that it is critical for all the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis and of the CARICOM region to respond to the international global environment in order to have a better appreciation of what needs to be done where CSME is concerned.

“I think that it is important that we engage more and I think as Minister of Labour, we now have to find a way of carrying this discussion to the rural areas”, said Premier Amory. “We have started and it would be televised, but we have to engage in the interaction to get people to appreciate where we are.”

Mrs. Weekes stated that her ministry is working assiduously to bring awareness to the people of the Federation and noted that they will take the discussions to rural areas and journey over to the sister island of Nevis because the ministry recognizes the importance of being aware. She noted that the series of consultations are geared towards opening up people to wider knowledge as to what the CSME really means and its implications.

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