September 21, 2011

Are the provisions for free movement under the treaty discriminatory?

Free labour movement
Dennis De Peiza


The advent of the free movement of labour under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy brought great hope for nationals of member states, as they welcomed and embraced the opportunity to traverse the region in search of employment opportunities.

It is clear that there was a good intention on the part of heads of government to give licence to the movement of labour as a means of positioning the region to strengthen and develop its economic potential.

All indicators point to the fact that this could be achieved through the sharing and utilising of skills and talents of the region’s human resources. This apparently holds true, given the fact that the free movement of persons is said to underpin all other key pillars of the CSME, except the free movement of goods.

Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas states: “Member states commit themselves to the goal to the free movement of their nationals within the community.” This, to all intents and purposes, seems to be ideal, but it is questionable whether the goal is being achieved.

The movement of people is enshrined in articles 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 45 and 46 of Chapter Three of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. As it stands, the unrestricted movement is limited to university graduates, media workers, sports persons, artistes and musicians.

The free movement of skills and labour meant that work permits were eliminated. With this being the case, it can be argued that there would have been a relaxing of the regulatory procedures to facilitate the ease of movement. It is however understandable why there is yet the need to have some regulatory mechanism (s) in place to guard against those who have malicious and illegal intentions.

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