Declaration of St. George’s – Towards the Reduction of Intra CARICOM Roaming Charges

Declaration of St. George’s – Towards the Reduction of Intra CARICOM Roaming Charges

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has moved a step further towards the total elimination of roaming charges for CARICOM nationals in the region with the signing of a declaration towards the reduction of Intra CARICOM roaming charges.

The implementation of the reduction of roaming charges, so CARICOM residents can use the internet, make calls, and send texts at reduced rates whilst abroad, should be operational anytime between the 1st of April to the 30th of September 2022. The implementation framework has specified this approximate period to allow the mobile sector sufficient time to implement and administer the various technical and financial mechanisms pertaining to the sanction and develop a substantive public awareness campaign.  

The Government of Grenada hosted the official signing ceremony on the 23rd of February 2022. Dr. The Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and Head of Science and Technology in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet signed the Declaration of St. George’s – Towards the Reduction of Intra CARICOM Roaming Charges alongside Mr Kieran Mulvey, Director of Government Affairs, Digicel Group, and Mr Kurleigh Precod, Vice President South Caribbean, Cable and Wireless Communications.    

In July of 2021, Prime Minister Mitchell, met with a team of telecommunication advisors from Digicel and Caribbean Cable and Wireless to discuss the elimination of roaming charges in the Caribbean and was an active force in driving this initiative forward.

This declaration essentially means that our citizens will have options to use their mobile phones as they move freely within the Single Space at reduced costs. Our citizens will be able to travel without the fear of incurring the normal exorbitant charges for voice and data usage as they conduct business or keep in touch with loved ones. We firmly believe that this critical reduction in roaming charges will help drive digital commerce, regional integration and economic development, and will have an even greater impact when total elimination is achieved… it would make roaming charges more transparent, predictable and affordable within this Single Space.” Prime Minister Mitchell said.  

Prime Minister Mitchell acknowledged key persons within the CARICOM Heads of Government that brought the Declaration into existence. The structure comprised a Prime Ministerial Council including Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados in addition to himself; a Ministerial Strategy Group, made up of ICT Ministers from four CARICOM Member States, headed by the President of the CTU, Honourable Melford Nicholas, the Minister responsible for ICT in Antigua and Barbuda; an Advisory Working Group, made up of senior technical officers of three CARICOM Member States and senior officials of the CARICOM Secretariat and the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL); and a Negotiating Team, led by the Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) Secretariat.[1]

The declaration branded after the capital of Grenada where it was signed, was an event that will have great significance across the region, bringing new opportunities for businesses and the Caribbean Community that it serves. The official ceremony can be viewed here.

CARICOM is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 member states (14 nation-states and one dependency) throughout the Caribbean. 12 of the 14 nations registered as Full Member are Commonwealth nations (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago). With the UK overseas territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos, Associate CARICOM members. The countries of Suriname and Haiti are Full Member states of CARICOM. All other countries in the region have observer status and are not bound by the declaration. 

[1] CARICOM news, Declaration of St. George’s – Towards the Reduction of Intra CARICOM Roaming Charges