Region should be compensated for recruitment of skilled persons
-Carrington tells CARICOM Day reception in Canada
June 19, 2002
CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington says that a case exists in light
of the major recruitment of skilled personnel, especially by developed countries,
for states in the region to be compensated by some sort of grant of capital
resources to enable the training of replacements.
The Secretary-General outlined this position on Monday while addressing the
CARICOM Day reception in Ottawa, Canada, which was attended by
Ministers of Government, members of Parliament and the Senate, High
Commissioners of the countries of the Caribbean Community, and other
"We know that millions of dollars invested by the Caribbean Community in
developing skills and providing training to further our development agenda have
redounded to the benefit of other countries, Canada included," Carrington
He pointed out that "thousands of our trained and skilled workforce have made
Canada their home and contributed their skills and training to their adopted
He remarked that no one has come up with a feasible method of quantifying the
value of this 'export', the region's most precious resource, "neither its cost to the
exporting countries nor its worth to the receiving ones."
Acknowledging that it may be argued that there are limited opportunities in the
Caribbean and incomparable financial returns and working conditions for such
skilled personnel in the more developed countries, he pointed out, however, that
countries in the region should be recompensed so that they could pursue training
Carrington declared that this is a matter which is serious enough as it is felt in
some quarters in the region that it should be considered by the G-8 countries,
(the US, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada) given the
significant number of skilled personnel currently being recruited from the already
The Secretary-General noted that this is another area in which Canada and
CARICOM can cooperate to their mutual benefit.
He said that within the G-8 forum, Canada which currently chairs the group, in
keeping with its undertaking to the Caribbean Community, can put forward
CARICOM's concerns in this regard in the hope that they would be factored
into that group's considerations.
Carrington's appeal was the latest in a stepped up fight by CARICOM for some
type of compensation from developed countries for the loss of skilled persons.
The issue surfaced in two meetings that were held in Georgetown recently: a
CARICOM/UK engagement and a CARICOM/US forum.
Carrington also said that CARICOM was looking forward to Canada's help in
the hemispheric process of assisting Haiti in its social, economic and political
Alluding to the US blocking of funds for Haiti, Carrington said "specifically as
regards the G-8, it is our firm hope that Canada will use its great influence to get
support for Haiti to gain access to the funds - some already approved - it so
desperately needs from the international community."
He said further that to deny Haiti those funds after the government had done its
part in meeting the many conditions set by the international community is unjust
and indeed inhumane.
However, he made it clear that the call for adherence by Haiti to the principles
of good governance is also supported by the Caribbean Community.
"But we are also painfully aware," the Secretary-General stated, "that without
access to the necessary resources, the government's hands are tied in so far as
implementing practical measures to shore up the struggling democracy is
In this context, he said, CARICOM has appealed to the Friends of Haiti and the
wider international community to recognise the need to move without further
delay in obtaining the desperately needed resources on behalf of the struggling,
impoverished Haitian people.
Carrington expressed support for Canada's suggestion for an expansion of
programmes for training in the areas of science, technology, health and
education which can help to replace the successful Canada/CARICOM
Scholarship Programme which ended in 1998 after eight years.
He acknowledged that the programme had contributed significantly to the
building of the region's capacity in key economic sectors such as public
administration, tourism, agriculture, and industry. It can also partially
compensate for the loss being suffered by the region's economies as a result of
the many foreign recruitment drives for certain categories of skills, the
He declared, however, that the Caribbean Community "is not seeking handouts
but rather partners in development in areas of common interest."