The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Mirage of Integration (iii)

Shanique Myrie

Shanique Myrie

Trade –Britain’s links with the EU are holding back its focus on emerging markets…Leaving would allow the UK to diversify its international links…

Immigration – Britain can never control immigration until it leaves the EU, because freedom of movement gives other EU citizens an automatic right to live here…

Law –Too many of Britain’s laws are made overseas by dictates passed down by Brussels and rulings upheld by the European Court of Justice. UK courts must become sovereign again…

The Daily Telegraph –The key arguments…against staying in the EU –April 15, 2016

It ought not be thought that any culpability for the seeming reluctance in the region for a closer integration should be ascribed to the political directorate only as opposed to the people themselves. Mr (as he then was) Errol Barrow’s famous assertion that “…if we (the leaders) have failed to comprehend the essence of the regional integration movement, the truth is that thousands of ordinary Caribbean people do, in fact, live that reality everyday…” might have been overtaken by subsequent developments that have served to diminish severely the incidence of that lived reality.

So that while Mr Andrew Holness’s 2013 statement as Opposition Leader in the Jamaican Parliament that Jamaica should consider suspending its relationship with CARICOM on the ground that “Jamaica’s interests were not necessarily being fully served by CARICOM” may be regarded as symptomatic of the former, the reaction of some individual commentators on this extended essay (that they have clearly misunderstood as a cheerleader for integration as opposed to an objective analysis of its current status) would suggest that it may not now be as popular or as lived among CARICOM nationals as Mr Barrow assumed it was in 1986.

Indeed, one submission went so far as to belittle the importance of the three major examples of regional unity; predicting the imminent demise of UWI, suggesting the mostly compelled existence of the cricket team and proclaiming the inutility of CARICOM itself.

But no development appears to have rankled some regional nationals [and not all ordinary citizens] more than the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) observations on the rights of CARICOM nationals on arrival in another regional jurisdiction and, especially, the constraints on a refusal to permit them further access into the host jurisdiction.

As may be recalled, these dicta were uttered in its October 2013 judgment in the case of Shanique Myrie v Barbados. There, their Lordships, principally on the basis of Article 45 of the Revised Treaty (RTC) and a 2007 Heads of Government Conference Decision, determined that a CARICOM national was prima facie entitled to be granted an automatic six months stay upon arrival into a host regional jurisdiction.

It should be noted that this decision was not met with immediate popular acclaim. Some, in vain, questioned the CCJ’s finding of the facts, although this was exclusively within its jurisdiction. Others suggested that the decision was an instance of judicial activism intended to bolster regional integration, Few, however, disputed the legal foundation of the decision which would have been equally useless, given that there can be no appeal from its judgment.

And it was not that the Court held that this right to freedom of movement was absolute. The CCJ did indicate that the host jurisdiction retained its rights to deny entry to individuals on the bases of undesirability –posing a substantial threat to public morals, national security and national health; and their liability to becoming a charge on public funds – possessing insufficient means or having likely access to sufficient funs to support themselves for the requisite period.

Neither of these substantive grounds infringes the sovereignty of the State to determine who should be permitted entry and, to the extent that they may, any blame should lie squarely with the head(s) of government who acceded to the relevant instruments, rather than the Court that was simply interpreting the clear purport of the 2007 Agreement and the signed undertaking in Article 45 of the RTC.

However, there appears to be a populist notion in the region that sovereignty, especially over border security, cannot be diluted even by voluntary state agreement and therefore, while the substantive limitations might have been grudgingly accepted, the procedural requirements on their exercise seem to have proven distasteful.

First, according to the ruling, the state official should inform the refused entrant in writing “not only of the reasons for the refusal but also of his or her right to challenge that decision”. Second, the Court noted, it would also be reasonable to allow refused visitors to consult an opportunity to consult an attorney or a consular official of their country or, in any event, to contact a family member.

“Nah…at all”, one can almost hear the anguished cry of some, “too much trouble in that. How dare anyone tell us who should trespass on our borders and how?”

It is this same sentiment that may have fuelled the current constitutional litigation in the US against President Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and to allow them to work in the country legally under his Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents programme [DAPA]; that might be one of the reasons for Britain’s desire to exit the European Union; that might account for the phenomenal popularity of Donald Trump among Republicans; and that may explain the recent alleged treatment of a number of Jamaican nationals in Trinidad & Tobago. It clearly did not inform the Pope’s recent treatment of the Syrian refugees in Lesbos.

In the present context, the time may have come for a referendum on the future of CARICOM. I am fully aware that this call amounts nearly to heresy for some and I sincerely wish that it did not have to come to this. However, my cynical instincts tell me that despite its successes, regional integration, as foreseen by the founding fathers over five decades ago, has now been so substantially altered as a felt imperative as to warrant a popular plebiscite on its continued existence in its present form. The sentiments in the epigraph may not be far removed from a sizeable body of regional opinion. So unless we can have some soonest recommitment to the process, a renaissance of regionalism if you wish, then I fear we will continue merely to talk the talk. And this from an unrepentant regionalist.

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82 Comments on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Mirage of Integration (iii)”

  1. Vincent Haynes April 26, 2016 at 8:53 AM #

    Bush Tea April 26, 2016 at 7:22 AM #

    We have never disagreed on the fact that it is a bottom up approach,I have said time and time again that our leadership by acts of ommission and commission are responsible for the lack of a union…….cometh the time,cometh the happening.


  2. George L. Banks April 26, 2016 at 1:01 PM #

    What if the people that the idiot Tea refers to as “albinos” just turned off the tap? What percentage of otherwise irremoveable mediocrities on the Hill would then have to kiss their prolixity-laden careers goodbye?

    For certain, the bit of the Hill that teaches Bajans as much as they can absorb about international trade (and that’s not a lot) would simply disappear.


  3. Bush Tea April 26, 2016 at 3:06 PM #

    Actually if the people that the idiot Tea refers to as albinos (mainly because that is EXACTLY what they are…) were to ‘turn off the tap’, our world would quickly become a much better place in which to live….
    …but that is not a fact that could be easily grasped by albino-centric thinkers….


  4. Colonel Buggy April 26, 2016 at 6:02 PM #

    Its just not only Barbadians with short memories, but Caribbean people in general.

    From Dominica News Online

    Floridian Diaspora April 26, 2016
    The fact is that if there was a project in Barbados that was needed to be undertaken by a foreign company, Dominica would be the last place they would have looked as they would view us as insignificant and incapable. Love is a two way street. Why feed them if they would never even consider feeding you??? Makes no sense to me. Defiance is the word best suited to describe Skeritt in all his fake glory. He knows what he is doing is wrong but yet still he’s trying to sugarcoat stuff and make it sound nice as if he could fool anybody besides himself and his disciples. Labor in action!!!


  5. Well Well & Consequences April 27, 2016 at 7:12 AM #

    The small minded tit for tat mentality that Caribbean people seem incapable of rising above as it relates to eavh other, they will never hold the same sentiments and that includes Barbados against those countries responsible for enslaving their ancestors or making their lives miserable re trade agreements and self enrichment projects for decades, post slavery.

    The minds of idiots on display.


  6. millertheanunnaki April 27, 2016 at 8:01 AM #

    @Bush Tea April 26, 2016 at 7:22 AM
    “Barbados has been blessed in ways that are unparalleled in history…
    Any casual research will quickly show the extent to which we have been spared the tragic experiences of almost every other country on Earth…it is almost as if ‘someone’ has a special interest in our well-being…..
    …and how have we responded? by being an example of wisdom and level-headedness?
    But by the very exemplification of brass bowlery….”

    Your proclivity for making outlandishly jingoistic claims never ceases to amuse.
    From the statement above it only be concluded that you put Bim on par with Israel and just like the Jews Bajans are your Yahweh’s chosen tribe.

    Now come on Bushie, your BBE in the sky just cannot have ‘two’ favourites on one planet.
    Now make up your mind BT, who is it? The God-chosen Jews ousted from the Garden of Eden only to find refuge in the imaginary Promised Land and whom you see only as rapaciously materialistic albinos; or the “black” exports from Ghana whom you classify as pure-gold brass bowls?


  7. chad99999 May 2, 2016 at 11:17 AM #

    I want to remind Bajans that Barbados really is different from most of the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean, and that we are at risk as long as opinion leaders like Jeff and his friends are pushing us to remain in CARICOM:

    ‘Horrible deaths’ – Bodies of American missionaries found in St Mary
    For 14 years, building houses and serving the medical needs of vulnerable Jamaicans were just two of the critical acts of service American Christian missionaries, 53-year-old Harold Nichols and 48-year-old Randy Hentzel, carried out before they were killed in the northeastern parish of St Mary on the weekend.
    Police found the bodies of the men almost 24 hours apart in the Albion Mountain region.
    Taking note of the incident last night, the United States Embassy in Kingston said it was hoping the local police will conduct a speedy investigation.
    “We are saddened by the horrible deaths of the two American missionaries. They’re not just visiting, but have been pillars of both communities for years,” Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for public affairs at the embassy, told The Gleaner. “The ambassador has been in contact with the highest levels of the Jamaican security apparatus, and we are hoping for a speedy resolution to this matter and that the killers are found and brought to justice.”
    Nichols’ body was found late Sunday afternoon during a search involving support from the Canine Division and residents. His colleague was found face down in bushes on Saturday with his hands bound to the back.
    Dwight Powell, deputy superintendent of police and acting head of the St Mary Police, told The Gleaner that no motive had been determined.
    “Marks of violence were seen (on Nichols’ body) … . These persons are missionaries and they would have been in Jamaica for over 14 years doing a lot of humanitarian work. They were assisting people with houses and with a regular medical team that comes down from abroad,” he told The Gleaner.
    “The kind of support that (Nichols and Hentzel) got from local residents, especially from Huddersfield [and] Mango Valley, was overwhelming. We had a search party and over 70 residents came out and assisted with the search. I was really heartened.”
    Powell said members of the Police High Command visited with Nichols’ wife, Teri.
    Trying to come to grips with her husband’s murder, Teri Nichols said he had left on a motorcycle Saturday to examine the foundation for a house being built.
    “He’s building a house for a woman in a week. And he went to check to see if the foundation was finished and to check on the woman it was being built for. I believe Randy wanted to take care of somebody that was in his Bible college who was in dire need of a house. They were gonna go look at her situation yesterday (Saturday) morning,” she told RJR News.
    “They went and they just never came back.”
    Powell has issued an appeal to the public and, especially residents in Albion Mountain, for information to help in the investigation.
    Nichols and Hentzel were part of the US-based TEAMS for Medical Missions and have been in Jamaica since 2002.


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