St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister shares country’s position on full movement of CARICOM nationals

Posted on 03/08/2024

By Devonne Cornelius

Basseterre, St. Kitts, Mar 08, 2024 (ZIZ Newsroom): The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states are actively discussing the full free movement of CARICOM people.

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, presented the country’s position to members of the media during his Roundtable discussion. 

“Anything we do is in the best strategic interest of St. Kitts and Nevis…so St. Kitts and Nevis’ position is we are obviously asking for more information and data; how this will be implemented and bring our own issues forward and how will this affect St. Kitts and Nevis. Those are the discussions going on,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew said

Mr. Devonne Cornelius, journalist and on-air personality at ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.

“We would want to see an integrated region,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew added, noting that “it has to be done in a way where each country will see better and not be in a worse position or in a position where the citizens are not convinced that it is to the benefit of them and for their country.”

CARICOM Heads of Government are expected to meet by March 15, 2024 for anticipated sign-off on the arrangements to facilitate the free and full movement of CARICOM nationals. 

During ZIZ’s ‘The Edge’ talk show on Thursday (March 7), St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to CARICOM His Excellency Larry Vaughan presented a number of recommendations made by the Intergovernmental Task Force on the issue of full free movement of CARICOM nationals.

Mr. Vaughan stated that the task force is recommending a three-year transition period that will enable the member states to take the required steps to adopt free movement for all CARICOM nationals to live and work indefinitely.

Furthermore, he stated that the suggestion would provide all member states with a seven-year transition period to implement the basic guarantees offered to CARICOM nationals.

“Basic guarantees to be afforded to all CARICOM nationals include to the right to work, to reside, to access primary and public secondary education and emergency healthcare and also a guarantee of primary healthcare subject to agreement being reached on the definition of primary health care so there is still some work to be done to determine what will fall within the parameters of primary healthcare and then to determine what that would be.”

Mr. Vaughan additionally points out that “there would have to be a notification period where notification occurs between the member states and then we can then move into it. So March 31 isn’t carved in stone, in that everything will just fall open.”

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley who is the Lead Head of Government with responsibility for the CSME in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet told representatives of the media that the Community is on track to fulfill the mandate Heads of Government gave at their historic 50th anniversary Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in July last year for free and full movement of CARICOM nationals. 

She was speaking during a press conference of the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.