Friday, January 06, 2006


CARICOM launches Single Market

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) launched the the Single Market component of its Single Market and Economy (CSME) on January 1, 2006. Under CSM, the member states of Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to remove tariffs among participant states. All citizens of CARICOM will reportedly be able to operate businesses, offer services and circulate capital throughout the single market area unrestricted. Plans are also in the works for a regional passport to replace national travel documents in 2007.

An official ceremony for the CSM is scheduled to take place in Jamaica on January 23. Not included in the agreement, however, were Haiti and the Bahamas. Haiti was suspended from CARICOM deliberations following the removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power during a rebellion in February, 2004. Interim Haitian Prime Minister GĂ©rard Latortue has expressed regret at CARICOM's decision to exclude Haiti but expressed confidence that his country will eventually resume active membership within the regional organization. Montserrat, a British dependency, is expected to join CSME by the end of the first quarter of 2006.

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