The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industry (TTCSI) is concerned with the recent developments in CARICOM member states as it relates to the deportation of nationals of other member states. While we make no attempt to address the issue of immigration, and we respect each nation’s right to protect her sovereignty, TTCSI is extremely concerned as it relates the movement of persons, especially persons who come to a country to provide their services for a period of time and then leave.

We firmly believe that in order for the economies of the region to expand, CARICOM governments must sort out the petty and niggling issues which act as distractions and stoke emotions rather than creating a beneficial reality. From patties to people, movement – relatively free movement – must take place for our tiny economies not to be sunken by the tidal waves of globalisation’s wake. Ultimately, it is co-operation rather than division that will ensure we stay afloat.

In particular, we are disheartened that the “Certificate of Registration as a CARICOM Service Provider” is not being utilized by CARICOM Nationals and furthermore, not being pushed by the various Heads of Governments in the region. The Certificate verifies that a person is a service provider and allows the immigration official to extend the person’s stay in the country for as long as necessary to provide the service. If the service is not completed in the given time an extension can be secured.  It is, therefore, an important instrument in the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market.

The TTCSI would like the issue of the Certificate of Service provider to be discussed at the upcoming CARICOM Regional Symposium on Services. In addition, the TTCSI is calling upon the Heads of Government at their next meeting, to address the issue of immigration and, among other things, summon the political will to fully implement the infrastructure to support and make a regional success of the CARICOM Certificate of Service Provider.

The TTCSI is ready and willing to help the process along, as it will not only assist service providers in exporting their services but also allows for greater CARICOM integration.