Browne: Free movement of skilled workers in Caricom helps Trinidad and Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Amery Browne

MINISTER of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne says new law to expand free movement of skilled nationals within Caricom will benefit TT. He denies it will facilitate voter-padding in Trinidad and Tobago elections.

Last Tuesday debate began in the Senate on the Immigration (Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals) (Amendment) Bill 2022, which Browne piloted, and afterwards it will be debated in the House of Representatives.

The bill amends its parent act to expand the categories of skilled nationals from other qualifying Caricom states who can enter TT under the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) regime.

He said the CSME supports a single economic space for capital, goods and services, and people, with such integration set to boost regional prosperity in the long term. Noting similar blocks in Europe, South America and the Pacific, he said, “No one country can stand alone in a globalised world.”

Browne said the bill expands from five to ten the categories of skilled nationals who can enjoy free movement in Caricom.

“This is good news for us.”

He said the bill helps business – as evidenced by support from the TT Manufacturers Association and the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce – and individuals.

Browne said a European Parliament study for 2010-2018 showed free movement did not cause a displacement of nationals from employment nor create unemployment in destination countries.

“Our people have access to a larger market for employment, investment and business opportunities. People will now have larger doors to open and take full advantage of a regional single economy and market.”

Browne accused the Opposition of fearmongering and creating a red herring by claiming the legislation could facilitate voter-padding in TT’s elections. He said the Elections and Boundaries Commission could attest to a five-year residency requirement in order to vote in TT.