A groundbreaking case involving member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is to be heard by the region’s highest court today.
According to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the court has convened a hearing today in its headquarters in Trinidad, for further directions in an advisory opinion being sought by CARICOM.
The matter has to do with whether a CARICOM state can decide to refuse allowing regional workers to integrate in that country.
Under the current Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which governs how CARICOM states operate, classes of workers can move freely and work in other member states.
Recently, the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM decided to expand the class of workers.
At least one member state is not happy and is exploring how it could opt out.
CARICOM explained: “It concerns whether a Member State can, pursuant to Article 27(4) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, lawfully opt-out of a decision of the Conference of the Heads of Government taken under Article 46(4) concerning the expansion of classes of persons entitled to work and move freely in the Community and whether the nationals of those Member States which opt-out of a decision under Article 27(4), can nevertheless derive the benefits of the decision.”
CCJ explained that this is the hearing of the first request for an Advisory Opinion on the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, filed at the court.
The case will be closely watched as the movement of workers has been a testy issue for CARICOM for years now.
While several countries have been toeing the line, there have been complaints about a few not recognizing.
Guyanese, for one, has been complaining about treatment at the Trinidad and Barbados airports by the respective immigration.
The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single market and Economy was signed by Heads of Government on July 5th, 2001 at their 22nd meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Nassau, Bahamas.
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