The Caribbean Single Market

It's rare to find Caribbean bloggers across different islands talking about the same issue at the same time, but one would have thought that yesterday's historic signing in Jamaica of the document ratifying the Caribbean Single Market (CSM), might have created a little buzz. That, however, is exactly what it did — created a little buzz.

There was no word on yesterday's event, notably, from the pro-business blog (the CSME, the Caribbean Single Market & Economy, scheduled to be in place by 2008, is the final stage of the CSM process, and will involve a single currency and a common economic policy), which launched back in June 2005, stating very optimistically that:

The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) involves the free flow of labour, goods and capital among participating Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members states. The emergence of this single market means that legal and administrative restrictions affecting trade, labour and technology within the CARICOM region will generally be a thing of the past.

That post, which attracted 27 comments, went on to say that:

one of the greatest advantages is that it will encourage intra-regional trade and allow CARICOM states to negotiate as a single entity. This will afford them a better opportunity to influence policies concerning global trade. Perhaps the region may soon be a force to reckon with in the next round of World Trade negotiations. has posted only a few items since then, the last being an ackowledgement, on December 31, 2005, of the CSM's official coming into effect on January 1, 2006.

I could in fact find only three bloggers talking about yesterday's signing. Simone Champagnie, a Jamaican living in Florida, noted the event on her blog and linked to an article drawing parallels between the CSME and the failed West Indies Federation of the 1960s. Calling the CSM “the Caribbean version of the EU”, Jamaican blogger Leon wrote that:

While it seems beneficial in theory, I doubt it will be so in practice. I believe some countries will gain much greater benefits than others. . . . . Remember the great economic miracle that globalization was promised to be? . . .   I think countries like Barbados and T&T will use the CSM to invade Jamaica's private sector. There are already a few Trinidadian firms here, most notably RBTT and the formerly Jamaican-owned Carib Cement. Most countries prefer to employ nationals over foreigners. The opposite is true in Jamaica, and the CSM will make already scarce jobs even more so. But in the words of the immortal Bob Marley, “Time will tell.”

And MediaCritic in Guyana accused Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo of being a “non-integrationist” for declining the invitation to attend the historic meeting, then running off to Cuba the next day:

Your visit to Cuba Sir, is a slap in the face of the entire regional integration effort. You have, in one swipe, spat on everything CARICOM, on all the efforts of those before to reach this Single Market.


  • I am also very surprised that this historic achievement, namely CSME has received only limited publicity in the USA press, if any. Then again why should I? It is a positive step especially for a region that that is being strangulated by crime and declining economic opportunities. The signatories should denude themselves of the parochial sentiments, an endemic malady of caribbean politics, and commit themselves to the success of the CSME. Already there are a few sceptics who are looking on at the side-lines,perhaps not realy certain as to the effects of this particular economic regime on their domestic economy. In the final analysis, there are not many options available.

  • Bah. Guyana gets more leverage from Latin America than CARICOM, and Cuba is on the Latin America language axis – Spanish.

    Doesn’t anyone remember how long it takes for Guyana to get assistance for flooding? The pumps got there after the water receded…

    As far as CSME – well, I’m waiting to see what happens. It’s all speculation at this point, the proof will be in the geopolitical pudding.

  • […] Several minor Caribbean blogs discussed signing of the Caribbean Single Market Economy pact as detailed by Georgia Popplewell at Global Voices – who made what is probably the most telling find… […]

  • Looking back on this, maybe the Caribbean blogosphere is smarter than CARICOM. :-)

  • Okera

    I do not think it is such a good idea for the smaller countriesto get involved the,the bigger countries have a disadvantage to us, they are the ones with the universities, and it is also cheaper for citizens of these countries to get degrees.Small countries need to step up to the plate and ask questions such as:Will our students have equally education prizes or will it still be a citizen payment scheme. I think people should more time to air there concerns on the issues afterall it is us it will be affecting not the ministers electedto represent us.

  • monologist

    I think Media Critic is in his right to critque Guyana’s president, but perhaps just like the Federation the Guyanese president has already pictured a flopped CSM.

    And seriously, I hardly doubt this would even help Guyana in anyway, so why even attend?
    It’s best to form ties within our South American region too,

  • Orlon

    the csme has many compexities that still needs to be sorted out and brought to a level that even the common man can understand.Those doing menial jobs may want to upgrade their status to.Every one needs to be compliant.The csme would only work if the transport system used is very efficient but for this to happen there must be many tests and they must be repeated to achieve a more suitable outcome

  • troberts

    CSME is a great idea but there is still information that needs to be put in terms in order for the average citizen to understand it. I would love to see CSME provide training, job classifieds, housing information etc. for all who want to participate.

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