Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 19, 2015 (SKNIS): Honourable Lindsay Grant, Minister of International Trade, Industry and Commerce and Consumer Affairs underscored the importance of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) regional integration initiative, noting that it is vital for CARICOM member states.
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis through the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs is a proud participant in the regional project named Students Engaging the CSME through Field Promotion,” he said, adding that the European Union (EU) funded project allows for tertiary level students from all participating member states of the CSME to visit another CSME Member State to assess its operation, while engaging the public and private sector stakeholders.
Minister Grant spoke of the Federation’s participation shortly after it was implemented.
“St. Kitts and Nevis would have benefited from this project in 2009 when 25 students participated in the field study in St. Lucia,” Minister Grant said. “During the very same year, St. Kitts and Nevis hosted 25 students from Barbados to undertake a similar exercise.”
He stated that another phase of the CSME field study has been reintroduced this year and said during this phase St. Kitts and Nevis agreed to host the delegation of students from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The International Trade Minister made mention of the students who are expected to travel to Trinidad and Tobago shortly to participate in the CSME project.
“They are currently being engaged in briefing session with the ministry of International Trade to prepare them for this important assignment so as to enable them to make a comparative analysis of the implementation process of the CSME in both St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago,” he said.
Minister Grant said the youths within the CARICOM region have a “critical role to play in the success of the regional integration movement as this field study offers that opportunity for the participants, allowing them to obtain first-hand experience of the opportunities and challenges which the CSME represents.
This undertaking, he said, is quite relevant as it helps to dispel the myth by many that the CSME does not afford Member States benefit.
“It is important to note that too often the CSME is not necessarily understood and appreciated and you the younger generation should be the ones to lead in the education process and to help to dispel these very said rumors,” he said.
Charleton Edwards, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade, said that regional integration is very important.
“In a globalized environment, coming together, pulling your resources together becomes critical for our survival,” he said. “The element of competition creeps in because of the dynamic nature of globalization and of course we have to subscribe to the rules-based system World Trade Organization (WTO).”
He said what can be done to ensure that there is a strong and vibrant integration movement is to make sure that everyone understands the rules of the game. “We must also understand special attributes that are available in the region.”
The Permanent Secretary said it is for us as people in the region to begin to embrace and understand what globalization means to us and how we intend to integrate as a people to make sure that there are growth and prosperity in the region.