Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
In a movie, involving a family trip, one of the children kept asking: Are we there yet? We see the Caribbean as one nation but we are aware of the deep idiosyncrasies of our individual island states. We recognize the void of leadership; the betrayal by our intellectuals; the current attempts to marginalize the trade union movement. We suggest that the current hopelessness that is enveloping the region can be traced to our collective failure to engineer and embrace models of development designed to propel us into a new era of prosperity.
However, it is obvious that as the current economic crisis deepens, the underlying mental realities of our past and the injection of self doubt and mistrust that were the results of slavery and colonialism remain psychological threats to our true independence. Unless we find ways to arrest these negatives within our psyche, we are afraid that the Caribbean is some distance from being a vibrant entity on the global stage.
Our research confirms that many of our most brilliant minds opt to remain in anonymity inside the region or self imposed exile in what is called the Diaspora. The half century of considerable brain drain has effectively robbed the region of much needed intellectual capacity. We are engaging ourselves in pseudo intellectualism hoping that the magic of words and the regurgitating of eighteenth century economics theory will save us. We are turning a blind eye as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Apologists are identifying our progress in terms of gains made via independence and generic development in health, education and housing. They are refusing to admit that most of those gains were before the information highway and the current international monetary crisis engineered by greed and graft in Washington, London and other so-called developed countries.
We are aware that we stand to hit reverse gear unless we confront the truth about unpopular positions on wealth distribution. Our region is now monopolized by no more than a dozen corporate entities that are pulling the strings of our politicians, who are nothing more, than mouth pieces and professionals seeking perks. In the midst of concrete evidence of racism and ethnic favouritism, they are those who brutally prey on the poor citizens brandishing them as lazy and inefficient. The dastardly intellectuals are joining forces with the corporate monopolists to further make our most vulnerable citizens become marginalized and irrelevant to the rapacious political corporate complex that has emerged since independence in the region.
Once this avaricious group gains momentum, the road trip would be longer with more obstacles. Fifty years from now , our children may still be asking : Are we there Yet? We cannot allow this to happen.