Youth Crucial To Moving CSME Forward

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

YOUTH CRUCIAL TO MOVING CSME FORWARD

 “You are the future of the Region and the ones best placed to reach the youth of your countries and communicate what is at stake with the integration project.  This attachment programme is meant to deepen your understanding of the CSME and place you in a position to become advocates of the integration project. But more importantly, it is meant to build a network of like-minded young people.”

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – Tuesday, 9 July 2024:       Caribbean youth stand to benefit significantly from the progress facilitated by regional integration. This potential for growth and development makes their role in advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) crucial. These are the views of Leo Preville, Director, CARICOM Single Market at the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Director championed the integral role of youth in the CSME during the launch of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors-CSME Attachment Programme on Monday, 8 July at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.

Eighteen (18) CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) are participating in the programme from nine (9) CARICOM Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the week-long programme, the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) will engage in dialogue and panel discussions and participate in field tours designed to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills about the CSME to educate young people in their Member States.  Some of the activities are a discussion on the role of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in CSME, a visit to the Guyana Free Movement Committee and the Central Bank of Guyana for a discussion on the free movement of capital, and an engagement with Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM.

In addition, CYAs will visit the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Customs and Port Authority and interact with technical experts on CSME-related topics, including coordinating CARICOM’s external trade policy, leveraging our Caribbean Culture for regional development and global impact, and innovation and technology within the CSME.

The CSME’s importance to regional development was highlighted by Mr. Preville as he also mentioned the challenges associated with implementing the programme.  “There is no question that the CSME remains important to the future success of Member States,” he emphasised. “However, there is significant work to be done to make this relevant to our people. Development is a long-term activity and with all the pressure in today’s world driven by access to information, our people see what is available in developed countries and are impatient for the same.”

He explained that this is compounded by the sustained efforts of the developed world to attract the Community’s most skilled people to their economies to support their development. “In the face of all these challenges, there is a need to ensure that the Region’s people do not lose patience and sight of who we are and what we have,” Mr. Preville stated.

The CSME Director challenged the CYAs to utilise their roles and platforms to educate other Caribbean youth about the CSME.  “You are the future of the Region and the ones best placed to reach the youth of your countries and communicate what is at stake with the integration project,” he stated. “This attachment programme is meant to deepen your understanding of the CSME and place you in a position to become advocates of the integration project. But more importantly, it is meant to build a network of like-minded young people. It is meant to drive home the message that we must work together on this development journey. The traditional factors that drove a sense of unity as one people are waning. We need to employ the logic of economics and create a sense of shared vision to weather the storms ahead.”

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