St John’s, Antigua — Antigua and Barbuda’s ministry of trade, industry and commerce hosted meetings last Friday, 6 February, as part of a series of public education outreach activities currently being held in Antigua. The outreach is led by regional consulting firm Deloitte & Touche, as part of the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP) with assistance from Canada.
“The CARICOM heads of government have called for increased awareness activities for the CSME and research within the Community has shown the need for public education to be enhanced, focused and targetted. These meetings are in response to that call,” explained Ashaki Goodwin, the CSME focal point, Antigua and Barbuda.
Goodwin also explained that the CARICOM Secretariat, as part of its mandate from the Community, undertook 17 interventions in member states to further the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). One of its interventions was the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project (CTCP), which among other things, calls for widening of the scope of participation by stakeholders and beneficiaries in the process of decision-making, implementation and operation of the CARICOM Single Market.
“Without the necessary infrastructure and stakeholder buy-in of the Single Market processes and operations, there would be no benefits to be derived,” Goodwin said.
The enhancement of information flows and channels to express the Single Market’s operations, regulatory systems and arrangements as well as the building of capacity at the national level to sustain such flows and channels is intended to gain stakeholder buy in on how to operate within a given structure. Stakeholders and beneficiaries are required to understand and participate in the decision making process.
“This can only be done through education and awareness to stakeholders such as the non-state actors and through continued monitoring and evaluation of the awareness processes,” Goodwin added.
The overall objective of the heightened public education outreach is to provide for a greater flow of information, including sustainable channels for distribution of information on regional integration that facilitates increased participation by stakeholders and beneficiaries.