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Caricom council approves regional strategy to reopen economies

by Linda Straker

  • COTED approved strategy for reopening of Caricom economies

  • Graduated model of relaxing restrictions based on transmission risk profile

  • Grenada has 7 sub-committees as part of the Task Force for Rebuilding the Grenadian Economy

The Trade Minister in Grenada, and other Caricom member states which adopted lockdown measures through declarations of States of Emergency as part of a strategy to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in each territory, have agreed to a format on how the region will reopen for business.

The 50th meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which was chaired by Oliver Joseph, Grenada’s Minister for Trade, on Wednesday, 6 May approved the strategy for the re-opening of economies in the Caribbean Community.

The council which is made up of trade ministers and officials agreed to a framework centred on the development and adherence to defined metrics related to the Covid-19 virus, which will guide in the reopening process.

“The strategy recommends a graduated model which sees governments relaxing restrictions in a deliberate, phased and incremental manner based on the transmission risk profile of the pandemic in specified geographical locations, sectors or businesses,” said a release from the Caricom Secretariat.

According to the release, the framework suggests establishing a national public-private consultative mechanism to govern the relaunch of economic activity at the Member State level; minimum standards which must be attained before the relaxation of restrictions and communications to build public trust.

“There is also the proposal for Certificates of Operation to be issued to businesses that have been verified to be compliant in the protocols established for the industry,” said the release. Besides regional ministers and public servants, the virtual meeting also had participation from representatives of the private sector.

Meanwhile, Grenada recently announced that the Cabinet approved the appointment of 7 sub-committees as part of the Task Force for Rebuilding the Grenadian Economy which is negatively impacted by Covid-19 control measures.

The sub-committees have been identified based on the productive sectors, and Cabinet has also approved the appointment of chairpersons for each sub-committee:

  • Tourism and Citizenship by Investment (CBI), chaired by Patricia Maher

  • Construction (Private and Public), chaired by Hon. Gregory Bowen

  • Education Services – St George’s University, chaired by Hon. Emmalin Pierre

  • Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, chaired by Hon. Oliver Joseph

  • Agriculture and Fisheries, chaired by Fitzroy James

  • Wholesale and Retail Trade and Manufacturing, chaired by Hon. Anthony Boatswain

  • E-Commerce/Digitisation, chaired by Richard Duncan

Membership of the sub-committees ranges between 6 and 12 people, and a health sector expert is included on each sub-committee to ensure that the relevant considerations are incorporated into the discussions for rebuilding the economy.

According to the terms of reference developed for the sub-committees, they are responsible for documenting the current situation in their respective sectors; identifying immediate, short and medium-term priorities; developing a phased implementation plan for identified priorities, identifying the resources required for such implementation and the potential risks associated, as well as mitigating measures.

The sub-committees are also expected to examine the prospects for new entrepreneurship activities in each sector and engage non-associated groups/individuals to promote inter-sectoral collaboration.

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