CARICOM Under Threat

<p align="justify">St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas (left) and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Manning leaving the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino (Photo by Erasmus Williams)</p>

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas (left) and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Manning leaving the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

It is ironic that it is the Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding who has been reported to say ‘there are a number of things that are happening now that are destabilising and threatening the existence of Caricom,” Golding said at Monday evening’s launch of Export Week at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. The political integration that is being pursued by Trinidad and a number of countries in the Eastern Caribbean may very well be commendable, but I believe that it is at the detriment to the deepening and strengthening of Caricom’ how very ironic indeed.

It is just over 47 years that Jamaica along with Trinidad and Tobago would have been at the centre of the controversy which gave rise to the subtraction, 1 from 10 leave 0. Prime Minister Golding promised Jamaicans that he will be pushing to have a definitive position enunciated by CARICOM at the next Heads of Government meeting to be held in Guyana to paint a more vivid picture of the status of the regional movement.

What has become singularly evident in recent months has been the dearth of leadership on display within the CARICOM union. The antics of several CARICOM members on issues of immigration and trade especially  demonstrates the concern many have for the future of the movement. Thirty five years later the vision for Caribbean integration movement needs to be reinvigorated, some say dismantled!


The initiative Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago to forge a union with the OECS, on the face of the decision undermines CARICOM and reflects BU belief that there is a dearth of leadership. The explanation of by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas’ about the rise of the union is instructive.  He suggests that the proposed T&T and OECS union can be used as a model for CARICOM to follow if it is successful. Implied in his statement is the resignation that the CARICOM movement has become paralyzed and many hurdles exist which appear insurmountable at this time.

Whatever the spin our leaders, academics and intellectuals make of the situation, it is evident to some that the Trinidad and OECS alliance is being given birth out of severe birth pains from deep within the womb of CARICOM.

Further evidence of the labour pains being experienced by CARICOM is the willingness of St. Vincent, St. Kitts and Dominica to join ALBA, a grouping dedicated to furthering the ideals of South and Central American companies. We could also reference the disparate foreign policy practiced by some CARICOM members to recognize Iran and Taiwan which is at odds with the majority in the group. This fragmented foreign policy of CARICOM countries is a glaring example of the immaturity of the movement despite 35 years of trying.

What is the way forward?

Text book thinking suggests that the pooling of resources which exist in the region to facilitate economies of scale maybe the way to go. Commonsense suggests that the challenges fuelled by insularity and naked political ambitions may yet proved to be significant hurdles to overcome,

33 comments

  • How about the rapist few days ago embraced Libya over there in svg the weed exporter.

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  • YOU may think it’s ironic but why am I, not surprised! One day (I’m not holding my breath), ‘smallies’ will learn to stop fooling themselves!!

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  • Is this news? Come on BU – wise up! I doubt the West Indian people will ever “get it” – we are all too naive and simplistic in our thinking. In fact, most West Indian people seem incapable of thinking for themselves… we just go along in a semi-stupor most the time.

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  • @CENTIPEDE

    Read our tagline.

    Bring news and OPINIONS!

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  • LOL!! Centipede!! dah mekes me laugh!! an I can identify wid it!! As one uh dum said tuh me hay, d udda day – “our Jamaican cousins”!!

    LOL!! What cousins!! Wid cousins like dem I’d rather not have any!!

    D ‘loopy-dog’, small islanders still beggin d Jamaicans tuh love dem!! I know wha I would tell dum!! i.e. in no uncertain terms!! ‘Bye Bye!! Bye Bye!! AN DOAN COME BACK!!

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  • @anonymous

    This is your last warning, we are aware of your anti-sentiment strategy you continue to use.

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  • Attempts at Caribbean integration have always been [and I fear will always be] dogged by insularity.
    When the Caricom Travellers Cheque was introduced as the currency to be used for travel within the region, in TT dollars, Jamaica did not recognise it. Guyana owed Barbados millions under the CMCF, and did not pay.
    The OECS was once referred to as the “Organisation of Eugenia, Compton & Son” in the days when they sought shelter under the Regan umbrella.
    Today, Comrade Ralph, his protege in Dominica and the Godfather from T&T are seeking to establish a new network to mirror the Eugenia, Compton, Tom and Son days. This time, they are hoping the finance will come from the oil barons of the region: Trinidad and Venezuela.
    We have been sold to the highest bidder from the sweet days of slavery, and are still offering ourselves to the highest bidder today.
    We like it so!

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  • Thanks Dennis for your insight which no doubt is flavoured by the fact that you are ‘Caribbean Man.’ The mentality of our current crop of politicians does not lend hope to any constructive process that will lead to a deep regional movement in the near future.

    Whether we can agree with the philosophy and leadership of the Adams, Burnhams, Williams et al, they had influence to get things done.

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  • @David:
    Agreed. They had a vision, and wielded enough power to ensure the articulated vision was pursued. There were those who enriched themselves, those who went along for the ride, and those who lost interest.
    The next generation of Caribbean leaders will have to cope with nations whose lands are predominantly owned by persons who do not reside in those islands; a population that is culturally and spiritually fragmented; and whose wealth is borrowed.
    I see a day, however, when the islands of the Caribbean will be integrated. [Scout and Negroman may have my head for this, but …] It will be the day when Islam is the dominant religion of the region.

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  • It will be the day when Islam is the dominant religion of the region.

    ******************

    And, is that your desire, Mr Johnson!!

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  • Because, if it’s not, then why do u sound like you’re encouraging it!!

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  • @199
    um is only your willing to imaging such. I take DJ comments as an illustration of what it will take to unite the Caricom countries. Religion is a time honoured best practice in demanding and enforcing unity. In current times Islam is the only religion that has intigrated itself with politics and governance in some countries and regions. Do you see islam Dominating Caricom countries? if not then I am ASSUMING that is DJ’s point.

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  • LOL……when the bigot 199 saw the word Islam….poor ignorant soul was frothing at the mouth so much …fool took it out of context….lol…..what a joker….RLMAO!!!

    Learn to read and understand first…..then post…..LOL!!

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  • Many blacks in parts of Africa are Muslims so if we draw closer to Africa and India there can indeed be unity in the Caribbean through Islam. It can happen. I agree with a man I admire-Dennis Johnson.

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  • Edward Seaga describes the CSME effort as one designed to get a single pair of shoes to fit all feet. It will fit some but cannot fit all. “But those whose feet fit the shoe without agony should by all means, wear it!” In his view, the CSME shoe will pinch Jamaica’s feet

    Michael Manley was critical of what he called the “unilateralist illusion” of those who felt they could make independent deals without reference to the rest of Caricom. As he told other heads of states, “the challenge is to understand that the Single Market is not a regional dream, but represents the very price of survival in today’s world.

    http://www.caribvoice.org/Opinions/csmeperspecrtives.html

    http://bajan.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/barriers-to-implementing-caribbean-single-market-economy-csme/

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  • Political Scientist Neville Duncan has been having his say as well about the proposed union between T&T and the OECS. He thinks its a matter of sovereignty.

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  • I wonder if Dr. Anthony Gonsalves is related to the P.M of St. Vincent.He could teach him a thing or two about free movement,lol.

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/businessday/0,101896.html

    “Noting that one of the basic tenets of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) was the free movement of skilled labour in the region, Gonsalves said the movement of unskilled labour from one country to the other has the potential to create social instability if it is not monitored closely.

    He cited the movement of workers between Haiti and the Dominican Republic as an example within the Caribbean. Gonsalves added that this situation can become very acute during periods of economic downturn when citizens of a country will ask: “Why are these people here, taking away jobs?” Rashid suggested that unskilled workers be re-classified as “low skilled workers” because the former cannot claim compensation under the regulations of the World Trade Organisation.

    He also said there was no single economic integration model tailor-made to fit all regions of the world and some smaller nations such as Singapore were better at managing foreign direct investment that bigger nations.”

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  • WTF is a bona fide “political scientist”?

    If the spouting elite aren’t caring their constituency, then they are impotent.

    No matter how many Heads of Government meets they have they are absolutely irrelevant to the present situation.

    The Caribbean cannot afford yet another tier of government imposed upon it.

    The political class has had its bluff called.

    They are nothing but high talkers with the lowest morals.

    CSME?

    Could Someone Manipulate Enough…..

    to call off these greedy manipulative supposed representatives of the people.

    We don’t want CSME.
    We don’t need CSME.

    If your paymasters demand it, tell us the real consumers, the many benefits of your proposed elitist talking shop.

    We hear integration is essential, but apart from an additional layer of political bureaucracy, we have not been explained the benefits of inter-island integration.

    Cut through the talking shop crap, and explain what is in it for we.

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  • @ST
    There is absolutely NOTHING useful that can derive from CSME.
    However it remains a high profile option for our political leaders (and for some other onlookers) because they have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER of what else can be done in the face of obvious economic and social collapse.

    ….in layman’s terms, it is called “…clutching at straws…”

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  • Adrian, thanks for your attempt to clarify DJ’s statement. I’m sorry that he was unable to do this for himself. I’m afraid my Bajan is n’t all that it used to be!! I’m also, surprised and disappointed by the sympathic attitude u display towards Islam as if u think Islam has any regard for u, as a black man! Oh, they’ll pretend to while they’re desperate to emigrate to your country, exploit the opportunity and then when they’re finished, bugger-off and tell u to kiss their back*ides! Perhaps, ur impressed and deceived by such people?!! I am not and to embrace that religion would be Bim’s and the region’s ultimate and fatal mistake!! I say, extinguish it in the bud, now, before it’s too late!!

    As fer gunga-smoking, demented Technician: it takes TWO to understand a piece, the reader AND the writer!! I suppose u think Islam would be tolerant of rastafarians!! You’re such an idiot!!

    If JA wants to break away then let them! The sooner the better and good-riddance and, NEVER, but NEVER, accept them back!!

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  • Is Mr DJ missing or only his brain which is?!!

    Or, maybe, e’s too embarass to show is face!!

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  • Never Take A Moment In Time For Eternity

    ***************

    Dis is d kind of bajan to which I referred!! I had tuh tink for a moment, what David meant!! 🙂

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  • Caribbean Integration, amongst the type of thinkers who put personal before purpose is just a big fat joke. These bunch of intellectual misfits too bias and insular to see the real picture. Even if you make two steps forward, something will be concocted or arise to take you two steps back. Its the same old story when it comes to any semblance of reaching Caribbean unity and that is…the cooks do not want to use no other spoon but their own.

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  • It’s no wonder I usually, take absolutely no notice of the diarrhea emanating from ‘Technician’s’ mouth and, neither will you, if you’ve any sense!! Even this ex-muslim, AFRICAN pastor, agrees with me!!

    http://www.voice-online.co.uk/content.php?show=15680

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  • Why should the descendants of former slaves, slave masters and indentured servants trust each other. Who is to say that they all have one and the same destiny that they should coalesce around such an ideology?

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  • RLMAO!!!!

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  • Trinidads interest in the OECS group is simple.
    It’s the only credible regional institution that actually works, unlike the talk shop Caricom and the now defunct west indies cricket.
    Trinidad is looking a captive market for its shoddy products and what better way than to join a sucessful union so you can more off ure goods on the small wealthy islands ‘sans competition’.

    On that note the US virgin islands applied to join the OECS in 1990 but was turned down by the US govt. In 2001 Saba and St Martin applied for membership but the green light has not yet been given by the the Netherlands. Venezuela also applied for membership to the OECS in 2008 followed by Trinidad and Tobago.

    How come these countries are NOT falling over themselves to join caricom or csme..hhmmm questions questions questions

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  • Here is what a fellow blogger Caribbean Writer has to say on the CARICOM experiment.

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  • Trinidad Excellent Example of how to treat People in a Humane way.

    It is a Caribbean thing: Bristish born David Thompson would not understand.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    “POLICE in Trinidad yesterday apprehended 20 undocumented Guyanese during a sting operation in the Macoya community.

    However, immigration authorities in the capital, Port of Spain, to whom the illegal immigrants were turned over, have given them a grace period to wind up their affairs, said an official at the Guyana Consulate on the island.

    According to him, the Trinidad immigration officials took into consideration that the majority of those held have roots, in some cases children, in that country.

    “They will not be allowed to stay but were given time to sell their belongings and purchase their travel documents to leave by a stated time,” he said.

    Action by Police and Immigration to rid Trinidad of persons living there illegally is not new but the approach seems to be more structured than what is being reported in the other CARICOM State of Barbados.

    Following Prime Minister David Thompson’s announcement, that illegal immigrants have six months, since June 1, to have themselves regularised, there have been reports of Guyanese being aroused from sleep and, when found with documents not in order, are being detained and deported.”

    http://www.guyanachronicle.com/topstory.html#Anchor-Trinida-56685

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  • Lol,That is Trinidad they are also considered the murder capital of the Caribbean,What’s your point ? There are numerous illegals in Trinidad but they always choose to look the other way with respect to the law.They also look the other way to crime in general.

    Are you saying it is the official policy of the BLP & other Caricom Governments to look the other way as it pertains to ILLEGAL immigrants ?I guess losing one election didn’t suffice !

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  • Here is what the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition said in a Statement to the Media on May 6th, 2009:

    +++++++++++++++++++

    “The Barbados Labour Party is totally committed to the development of Barbados and that of all Barbadians.

    In this regard, we are concerned about the Ministerial Statement made by the Prime Minister, the Honourable David Thompson, which leaves many concerns unanswered when clarity is critical to ensure that there is no unfortunate backlash to Barbados, Barbadians in the region and even the legal and illegal immigrants who currently reside here.

    What is the position for those who have 11 years or less (who came after January 1, 1998) and who have not had their status regularized due to the failure of the Immigration Department to process their documents in a timely fashion, given the lack of capacity of that Department?

    Is there a similar policy to remove non-nationals who are here from outside of the Caribbean region – from Europe and the USA?

    How will the Government be able to prevent Caricom Nationals from claiming the Rights of Establishment (under Articles 32 to 37) who want to remain and set up their own business by registering a business name and becoming self-employed, as they are entitled to do under the laws of Barbados?

    Very often, it is not only what is said but how it is said and what you do not say that influences the behaviour of people.

    The structure of the Prime Minister’s statement was unfortunate, as it gave the distinct impression that the Barbados Government is only concerned with the illegal immigrants in Barbados from Caribbean countries but not those who are here from outside of the region, that is from Europe and North America.

    This action coming on the heels of the Prime Minister’s statement in Guyana of “Ever so welcome, wait for a call” and the draconoian way in which many Caricom immigrants have been unceremoniously removed from Barbados over the last year will undoubtedly have implications for Barbadians working and moving in the wider region.

    The stated policy of the Barbados Customs Department to remove the green line at the airport for all regional flights compounds the situation.

    Barbadians must be told, however, that the quality of life they enjoy is significantly contributed to by our interaction with the Region. 52% of our exports go to Caricom countries; 20% of our tourists come from Caricom countries and many of our enterprises, both large and small, invest in the region as their first option for investment outside of Barbadian shores.

    In addition, our only hope to sustain our quality of life and our economic development without the constraint of small size is dependent on our ability to do business, sell our services, trade and invest within the Caribbean Region.

    Barbadian prosperity cannot be guaranteed by Barbadian labour and Barbadian capital alone.

    It is urgent that the Lead Prime Minister of the CSME, Prime Minister Thompson, show leadership and ensure the urgent settlement of the long-awaited Protocol on Contingent Rights that will settle what benefits Caricom citizens will access if they live in another Caricom country.

    It is the absence of clarity and certainty to this issue that drives the fear that persons from another country are coming to deplete the socio-economic benefits available, even if these persons are paying taxes that contribute to the provision of the same services.

    Europe has been able to settle this difficult issue and so can we in the Region – with the appropriate agreement.

    The danger lies in the message that is communicated which can easily be distorted from what is the intention of the Government to legitimately control the number of illegal immigrants.

    The Immigration Department’s capacity must also be at the centre of this discussion since persons legitimately waiting for extensions or renewals should not be disadvantaged.

    There must also be urgently completed the Protocol for the Treatment of Migrant Labour in Barbados which the BLP started in its last term.

    People have been leaving their countries from time immemorial to seek a better life for themselves and their families.

    It did not start with us and it will not end with us. Indeed, Barbadians, more than anyone else in the region, have benefited from the ability to leave our shores since Emancipation and find work in other Caribbean countries as policemen, nurses, teachers, preachers and civil servants.

    Whatever is done to deal with this issue must be done in a HUMANE AND TRANSPARENT MANNER – and one that does NOT breach the text or the spirit of our Constitution, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas or indeed the Carciom Charter for Civil Society.
    This must not be an excuse nor a platform for the fostering of intolerance or xenophobia in Barbados.

    And the Prime Minister has a responsibility to all Barbadians to make sure that this does not happen.

    As has often been said, it is the impression created that can do the greatest damage even if that impression varies substantially from reality.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    Clarity of purpose, certainty of incidence and blended with pure natural brilliance.

    This is Leadership Barbados and the region needs!

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  • And you get to travel to interesting places and talk to interesting people about interesting questions. ,

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  • Pingback: Dennis Johnson, he did it his way | Barbados Underground

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