Submitted by Bruddah-Bim
Al Jazeera just issued a report detailing the “Silent Debt Crisis” that is currently gripping the Caribbean. The Governor of the Inter-American Development Bank for the Caribbean, Gerard Johnson, was invited to offer his opinions as to how the Caribbean can change its fate. It pains me to say (though with little surprise) that Mr. Johnson has offered little (if any at all) insight and ideas as to how the Anglo-Speaking Caribbean can further develop their economy. You can watch the segment here via this link:
It was clear that he had no vision whatsoever; seeing as how Mr. Johnson kept on preaching for the smaller island nations (i.e. Barbados, Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitt’s, etc.) to “seek ” flight shares from Latin America instead of simply relying on the northern economies; and also hinted that the Caribbean further extend itself as a service based economy by continuing to perpetuate the status quo by calling for more “call centers” in the region. This man clearly lacks any kind of insight for it would seem that he has already detached himself from the region and has made himself VERY comfortable in the U.S. A man with such little insight as to how to remedy this financial situation is DANGEROUS. Johnson didn’t seem too concerned as he used this excuse “It doesn’t take much to spur growth in an island with a population that’s [a few hundred thousand]. But what this “educated” fool failed to mention was that in a region that is home to groups of islands home to several hundred thousand people respectively cannot compete in the same industries on a regional level. And it would be foolish for the Caribbean countries to continue to follow the protocols laid out by the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, WTO, and the IMF alike for it has led to the region’s persistent economic decline for the last two decades.
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That being said, it should be made CLEAR to the Caribbean people that the global financial woes that is currently poking at the global economy will not be letting up any time soon, and that in order for the Caribbean to be able to avoid becoming the next “Africa” (by means of economic lagging) we need to SHIFT our economies as a REGION from a SERVICE based bloc into a PRODUCTIVE bloc. I have made many calls as to how Barbados can potentially salvage her economy. The same can be made possible for the greater Caribbean. IF the Caribbean adopted a model of administration that was reminiscent to that of the E.U. and A.P.E.C.; then the Caribbean can better poise itself economically and politically within the global community.
CARICOM needs a wave of reforms in order to achieve this. Instead of the Caribbean competing with itself in the same industry, we need to understand that we MUST work together as a region in order to survive and become relevant. The Caribbean should be further engaging Latin America on a serious level in terms of making strategic partnerships with Latin America government and corporations alike. In fact; it should be on the agenda of Caribbean leaders to ensure that they engage Latin America NOW seeing as how it is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. For one, Caribbean governments should be focusing on engaging local Caribbean investors to enter ventures with Latin American investors. Particularly through MANUFACTURING, TRANS-SHIPMENTS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, and MUTUAL Finances.
What am I getting at exactly?
I am positing that CARICOM should poise itself as a partner of the Union of South American Nations (AKA UNASUR) by first establishing CARICOM as UNASUR’s Manufacturing center. There are many industries which require manufacturing and the Anglo-Speaking Caribbean has the capacity to reach such demands. CARICOM needs to strategically parse out which industry/ies a particular island can manufacture for in order to limit the chances of Caribbean islands competing in the same industry; thus establishing a model of mutuality. This would then engage the transport/trans-shipment industry for the manufactured goods made by Caribbean companies for Latin American corporations and would then be exchanged. This would then further the growth in telecommunications between UNASUR and CARICOM (becoming a potentially Highly profitable market); which would then lead to the establishment of financial ties that would be MUTUAL as opposed to being subservient as we have seen with Europe’s and N. America’s “Offshore Banking” schemes.
It really frustrates me that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE in the Caribbean governments seems to be serious about how urgent this situation is. And it further IRKS me that West Indians would rather be preoccupied with mundane matters such as pedalling Homophobia, Elitism, fashion trends; and etc. Unemployment is on the rise in the region. West Indians need to WAKE UP to this reality with a quickness or else we will STARVE! Bajans need to be more proactive and seek a better formation of the CARICOM. We have a Fast growing Youth Population that has no real Future.
I wish Bajans were as keen on talking about bettering our socio-economic as well as political development as they are so keen as to share their unbridled opinions on insignificant issues such as the “morality of Homosexuality”. If this article doesn’t scare you into reality; then ALL WEST INDIANS (not just Bajans) might as well kill themselves off in a desperate bate to stave off starvation when the poverty settles in on a regional level.