Excerpt from column published in the Jamaica Observer - 9 July 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
|Photo: Dave Reid|
Were it not for ‘the big
dance’ in Russia, we would have been all over the arrival of newly elected
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, especially as Jherane Patmore of
WE-Change pointed out on Twitter, she was the lone woman among her colleague
prime ministers. No shrinking violet is
this landslide winner, and so she stood up for the many brothers and sisters of
CARICOM who have felt unwelcome in certain countries.
There would have been a buzz also around Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ assuming the Chairmanship of CARICOM. He stepped up well-prepared, as our brilliant former Prime Minister Bruce Golding had chaired the Commission to review Jamaica’s CARICOM relationship, which produced a substantial report including 33 recommendations for strengthening CARICOM. JIS notes:
“Among them is that member states should facilitate the full, free movement of people within CARICOM, except in cases of security and public-health risks. They should also push for the harmonization of customs laws, regulations and procedures, among other things.
“Another key recommendation is for Jamaica to seek a clear, definite commitment from all member states to a specific, time-bound, measurable and verifiable programme of action to fulfil all their obligations and complete other requirements for the CSME to be fully established and operational within the next five years.”
For too long we have overlooked the many opportunities and underestimated the value of synergizing our efforts for the greater good of the region. Thankfully, our PM signed three Instruments relating to education and security on the last day of the Conference as follows:
1. Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security as an institution of the Community.
2. Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Examinations Council.
3. CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty.
We cannot begin to measure the gains of families, communities and countries created by our coming together to establish the University of the West Indies. Imagine if we were to take this to the grassroots level, how much more we could be learning from each other. I am happy to hear that the citizens of Haiti, a member of CARICOM, will now have the right to stay in member countries for up to six months. In Jamaica’s case, I believe we should welcome them to stay as long as they wish so we could pattern their gentility and have them instruct us in creating exquisite craftwork.