Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, H. E. Robert Morris (left) taking a moment to speak to some of the students who will be travelling.
Movement of people within CARICOM will become a right
“Just as we now consider it a right of the state to provide education, water, health services and other amenities, and a right of capital and goods to traverse the region, that freedom of movement of people will be considered a human right.” This was the news communicated by this island’s Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert Morris yesterday.
Morris went on to remark on the importance of the freedom of movement to the regional integration process and to emphasise that the CARICOM Strategic Plan, 2015-2019, has this regime at the centre of its Economic Resilience Priority. “The freedom of movement regime is strongly mooted as an important catalyst for the development of the regional economy, for lifting individual economies from their current state of economic stagnation, and for offering the youth of our countries work opportunities, either as employees or as entrepreneurs, in situations where youth employment, even for the educated, is not often available, with startlingly high unemployment statistics for the young.” However, with free movement, these issues may be tackled.
He went on to say that Caribbean citizens have been promised the completion of the regime for some time, and even though they are advised that it is over 75 per cent complete, they look forward to the day when it can be said that all of the legal, administrative and other provisions are in place, citizen education and awareness has been developed, and that our people, especially the youth see the region, rather than the individual nation state as the arena in which they can exercise their abilities.
Furthermore, the Ambassador reminisced that migration within the region is not a new phenomenon but hopes that migration will be an equal opportunity for persons from each member state. “Of course we are aware that Caribbean people have always been moving, and that migration is entrenched in our history. To a large extent the pre-Independence experience of movement has been one of forced migration. We look forward to the day when freedom to move to learn, to work, to do business, to provide services, with full social service security and safety nets, with provision for the full movement of families will be seen not as a privilege for a few, but a right for all CARICOM citizens.”