By Benjamin Flowers
Belizeans now have greater access to employment opportunities throughout the Caribbean, through a new system, developed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The CARICOM Single Market Economy Application Processing System (CAPS), allows Belizeans, and members of all CARICOM member states, to upload their qualifications and contact information on to the system so that interested employers can contact them directly.
The option to be viewed by potential employers is only one feature of the CAPS system, built by the Jamaican consultancy firm, A-Z Information Jamaica Limited.
The system is designed to make accessing the CSME, easier for citizens of member states. It was developed by analyzing the online application processes of different territories, in and outside of the Caribbean.
Chief Executive Officer of A-Z, Noel Watson, told The Reporter this week that once the CAPS system becomes fully operational in the next few months, those looking for employment will be able to apply for CARICOM Skills Certificates online.
“The certificates will allow for CARICOM nationals, along with their dependents, to move to any CARICOM nation to live and work,” Watson said.
When the system is fully online, applicants can apply for a skills certificate from any territory in a process which takes roughly 10 minutes. The application will then move through a brisk 6-step process, giving applicants their notice of approval in as quickly as 15 days.
“But there is no reason why member states can’t start taking advantage of the ability to market themselves right now”, Watson added. ‘It’s sort of the Angie’s list for the Caribbean.”
The CSME is a regional integration effort, to give CARICOM nations a singular identity. The concept of the CSME is based on five fundamental freedoms that come with being from a member state: movement of goods, services, capital, skills (people), and the right to establish a business.
Belizeans will have access to job opportunities in 11 Caribbean countries, including: Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
A-Z hosted a two-day training session in Belize at the beginning of the year, teaching 30 persons from the Departments of Labour, Immigration, Education and Trade, as well as representatives from the Belize Coalition of Service Providers (BCSP), how to use CAPS.
The Ministry of Trade, and Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection said this week that follow-up sessions for January’s training are scheduled for later this month.