Cuba and Caricom Reach Agreement to Expand Trade

The following was extracted from Caribbean Trade Law and Development website.


It has been a while in coming but today the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat announced in a press release that CARICOM and Cuba have finally agreed to expand the level of preferential access to each other’s markets as part of efforts to update the Cuba-CARICOM Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement.

According to the Press Release, CARICOM and Cuba reached agreement at the end of the Tenth Meeting of the CARICOM-Cuba Joint Commission established pursuant to the trade and economic cooperation agreement. This meeting took place between January 30-31, 2017 at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

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48 thoughts on “Cuba and Caricom Reach Agreement to Expand Trade

  1. One has to love the waste that is CARICOM. Such a shame because it is the Caribbean’s answer to lowering the fat import bill we all have through the importation of fourth-hand chemicalized foods from the USA, and it is also the answer to agriculture through the free movement of people so we can feed ourselves not forgetting the import/export of our own glorious foods, but instead after forty plus years CARICOM big-ups just glorify meetings and signing of papers and do not live up to one thing decreed and we as countries and as a people remain ‘disunited’ and struggling to make ends meet mostly through bad governance and the inability to see that CARICOM goes beyond just meeting, drinking champagne, and patting each other’s back after signing documents that waste paper and ink.

    At a church meeting in celebration of CARICOM’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY here in Barbados one who shall remain nameless but shhhh was head of CARICOM (I was told) stood on the pulpit embarrasingly comparing the 40 years of Caricom to that of the Biblical story of Moses wandering in the desert looking for The Promised Land forgetting that at least Moses found it while CARICOM continues today to wander aimlessly except for those acclaimed signings.

    Now that there is a lunatic in The White House who wants to ban everything but the kitchen sink and needs a good lesson, the opportunity to put a spoke in the wheel of the new orange headed big brother by turning off the never-ending importation of bad food from the USA and ensuring the free movement of food between members of Caricom is indeed delicious to those of us who see a great opportunity to show our strength. Added to that LIAT could do something useful for a change by transporting same between the islands if organized properly to at least be on time.

    Of course this would mean agriculture would thrive and taxes for the pockets of governments would decrease so at the end of the day that would not suit our powers’ slimey little hands and as for allowing free movement of people when Bajans hate Guyanese, and Jamaicans not keen on Bajans, and Trinis got enough to buy the lot over and St Lucia, Grenada not liking anyone and we are right back to square one of just agrandizing each other with meetings and signings of paper.

    We are simply a sad lot and we seem to like it so, staying blind to how powerful the Caribbean could be with proper planning that follows the initial idea of CARICOM. And now we have Cuba – an island we could have helped and have them help us in return so lo g ago but we were too busy trembling at the thought of losing the love of the USA. Look where we are with that now! Frump pushing our loyalty straight into the proverbial garbage can.

    Welcome Cuba. Poor you. Everyone fighting to have you back in the fold – sad that that fold is pure talk. Best you put your people back to work in the fields and doan allow none of the rest of the world to spoil the goodness you have managed to achieve even with the unfair treatment you have had from all. All of it that could have been so wonderful with a bit of vision and action. Perhaps it is not too late if only those with that vision and love of country and unity for our Caribbean wake up, form new political parties, throw out the old and come in with the new and make it all work for the good of the people. But even that seems like wishful thinking for we seem to have a permanent devil called greed lurking, hovering, offering and many seem unable to see the forest for the trees.

    • The challenge for Barbados as we have seen in the past is that we have an execution problem. Have we taken advantage of EU Cariforum?

  2. Now that Trump is President, Cuba will not be getting USA investments.

    Caribbean countries have an opportunity to create a trading block that can bring prosperity to all countries in the region.

    Cuba has a lot to contribute.

    • @Hants

      Yours is a sensible view but not sure this lot of leaders have the ‘balls’ to buck the geopolitics.

  3. @ David,

    circa 1976 the late Errol Barrow explained how the Caribbean could be self sufficient.

    That is how my “view” was formed.


    Some say the white man came from above oh oh!
    That is if you believe that supernatural stuff. UFO
    The locals treated him not like a beast
    Like the three wise men from the East

    Like how Columbus founded the West Indies
    Then try to convert the poor Indians! Please!
    When that failed they went buffalo butchering
    Leaving the Red Indians starving and cowering

    Coveting land from humble folks with their flags unfurled
    Settling up their own towns and villages all over the world
    But in their wake they left many in tears day after day
    All over the good land which was never theirs any way

    They maltreated many a people who cried long tears
    Someone got to be punished for we know God cares
    You can sing, and run and jump with all your might
    For karma is bitter sweet when it comes back to bite

    133, 926 mins ago since you looked me and say
    “Don’t come embarrass me just get out of hay”
    My inside feel as if it want to chatpatay
    I couldn’t believe I just want to get away
    Now I keep all our past memories we had
    You cycling to the sea wall to meet this lad
    As we try to linger and we hugged and kissed
    Those are golden lasting memories I’ve missed
    Your lovely smile and sweet charm
    You are always beautiful and calm
    I know you have a great responsibility
    Being the eldest to look after your family

    I appreciate that and admire that quality in you
    You are a good mother a daughter and lover too
    I know you’ll do it even if it is a big sacrifice
    I hope all is well with MOM she is so nice
    If you really want us to go our separate ways
    I won’t blame you I will treasure those days
    When we held one another close and tight
    When we loved one another with all out might
    God bless you for those happy times my dearest
    You are the sweetest and the very, very, very best

    When some countries got their freedom
    Their governments thought they’re dumb
    They too tried to do like the Caucasians
    Who maltreated the local Amerindians

    They built cities and made kingdoms
    Living it up drinking coke and rums
    They lived the good life like the imperial master
    As they too put the little man on the back- burner

    As their own folks live in poverty
    Amidst their masters’ proclivity
    For years the people took it and did nothing
    The doers willfully neglecting them sneering

    The reapers of the ill gotten gains in their castles in a moat
    You take it staying quiet for you don’t want to rock the boat
    Tears have been shed every day many going insane
    And someone has to pay, here comes karma again

    Living the likes of a hog as they shed tears of joy
    As they plot and scheme to carry out their ploy
    Wives, mothers and children became high brows
    Covered from head to toe as their belief allows

    But the poor farmers keep toiling and trod on
    Eking a miserable living to bring in the bacon
    And months became years and fades
    And decades ran into more decades

    My new book was just published and I put you Poojah in the Acknowledgement: Here it is:

    I would like to thank my immediate family for encouraging me to finish this project, as well as my relatives and friends, Joe Persaud, Bertie Ramcharan, Poojah, Robert Singh and Adolphus Sukhai.
    You will be in all my books from now on.

    Until the people ran out of tears
    They swear and shed their fears
    Their anger reached every man, child and wife
    For all they ask for is just to live a simple life

    Their anger reached a pitch they want to get even
    They were ready to face torture of even an AK47
    The cry for freedom and democracy was in the air
    And every man in South East Asia wanted a share

    And so in Tunisia, one day in a little town called Tunis
    Using a format called Facebook the locals found bliss
    The folks sent messages to one another
    Innocently talking and in serious chatter

    When Muhammad Bouazizi, a farmer doused himself in kerosene
    Which was seen all over the world to show his wrath of that mean
    Ben Ali, dictator who lived like a hog for over 27 years
    As unemployment grew, people die shedding long tears

    All about their welfare and hardship in rage
    Actually, bottom line they wanted a change
    Citizens were called to silent arms and demanded democracy
    Ben Ali trembled in his boots but stuck to his despotic policy

    And when the smoke cleared the dictator was kicked out
    The people rejoiced as they sang tears of joy and shout
    As they pray and hope for a better tomorrow
    But the fires were burning all the way to Cairo

    Hundreds and thousands were alerted who care
    And they all met at the famous Tahrir Square
    And the words that went out were “We have taken up
    Enough of this, we’ve to bring this nonsense to a stop”

    The news spread like wildfire all the way to Benghazi
    But was trampled by tanks, guns of an insane Hosnie
    And Mubaruk refused to budge as the people persevere
    Strengthened by the victory in Tunisia they didn’t care

    T‘was do or die they made up their minds shouted out their demands
    To oust Mubaruk after 30 years of stealing the wealth of their lands
    Eventually he packed up his bags and left after 30years of conniving
    As the Muslim Brotherhood stood silently on the sidelines watching

    The fires had already spread to Libya a kettle of a different brand
    Democracy was a word Muammar Gaddafi could never understand
    As he dined with prostitutes in Cannes in Europe like a leech
    At home he ruled with an iron hand banning even free speech

    Bucket a guh a well everyday, one day
    Eh battam guh lef my Nannie used to say
    As Tripoli seethed and the people protested
    As men women and children were slaughtered

    Using jet fighters, tanks and mercenaries from Africa
    As his own soldiers refused to kill their own in Libya
    Hiding behind his high walls madly raving
    With his two evil sons aiding and abetting

    After 42 years of wallowing in the Libya’s troughs he can
    He said he’d kill any opposer to the last woman and man
    The world is shouting that this is a crime against humanity
    But all words fell on the mad ears of a man bent on insanity

    As the UN and the USA threatened and warned
    That no more innocent Libyans should be harmed
    Gaddafi answered by sending planes to shoot at oil rich
    Threatening before he goes he’d burn the oil wells of

    I said we get the Gov’t. we’ve chosen
    Sometimes the voters are left frozen
    And they have to put up and abide
    Their time and flow with the tide

    Cause they’re evil forces at work out there
    And the innocent are cornered in dire fear
    Like what happened in the 1960’s in Guyana
    When the British stealthily agree with the USA

    To stifle the PPP and oust Dr.Cheddi of Guyana
    For they thought Guyana would be another Cuba
    History has proved after 28 years Cheddi was not
    But Burnham was and that was what Guyanese got

    In Africa and Europe dictators arose
    All eventually got the peoples’ blows
    Those who don’t have it want it
    But really can they handle it?

    Democracy is what they want
    They shouted give us in any slant
    In the garage we want a good motor
    An oven, a stove and the refrigerator

    A detached home is so so
    A townhouse or a condo
    A job in the bank and money inside
    No matter what they promise to abide

    We see water it’s not a mirage
    We also want a car in the garage.
    Many times we have seen great incorporations
    And the architects ending up in incarcerations

    Look back in History with the great Mahatma
    When he and Jinnah were fighting for one India
    Jinnah caused India to split is a fact
    He was the brains of the Luknow Pact

    Jinnah never wanted an Independent India
    He was too violent even rejected satyagrah

    Every time Gandhi preached cooperation
    It was met with the Lahore Resolution

    The same thing happened in Guyana’s PPP
    When the Muslims rejected the Jagan’s Party
    In that case the CIA’s puppet Mr Langley
    Gave Richard Ishmael $2.08M for perpetuating the 80 day strike
    Also to the Muslims and the Trade Union Council and their like
    The Muslims split the Indian vote and formed a PNC coalition
    Joined with Burnham who later kicked them out in

    Greedy rulers from Stalin  to Mussolini
    From Ben Ali to Mubharak to Gaddafi
    And the others in poor Africa
    Even Burnham from Guyana

    All have one common denominator
    And that is the built in greedy factor
    Their coffers are bare yet they spend much on war
    Their people go hungry as the leaders dine on caviar

    Even the educated started our good then made a mess
    This shows greedy rulers can’t rule I have to confess

    How can these so-called leaders sleep deep at night
    When their people sleep with a bug infested plight

    When they practice the opposite what’s preached in Mecca
    Covering their women from head to toe sheltered by Sharia
    Laws as they defile and use other women like play things
    Paying top dollars for sexy women who party and sings

    They pray 5 times per day pointing towards Mecca
    As they bank the people’s money to be used later
    At the Cayman Islands, Swiss or the country they all hate
    Or just invested it in stocks and bonds and in real estate

    Since the last time we spoke
    Some thought it was a joke
    Since then we saw the fall of the South East Asian Empire
    A dire land of totalitarians and some secular pundits for hire

    Tempered by monastic vows
    Treating their women like cows
    Governing wretched peoples yet who sneered and
    Praying to their God when the Twin Towers fell and were

    A people who always want the green US dollars
    But funneled the money for domestic owned wars

    And sat and took it decade after decades
    As that part of the world became Hades

    Fast forward to Toronto in Ontario, to live
    With the Liberal Party vs the Conservative
    You would never believe politicians can be so sick
    One would surely think one is in a Banana Republic

    Wasting and covering it up is the order of the day
    And all the poor taxpayers don’t have a darn say
    Billions of dollars wasted to save their party some seats
    As erasing tapes and emails done secretly at their meets

    The fists would fly and guns would be drawn
    But all dumb Ontarians do is smile and yawn
    But really you have to blame it on the naive lesbians
    Pride has voted as a block maybe they got the billions

    When the people put party before sound economics
    It always come back to bite them where it ticks
    Only time would tell in the next few years
    But then it may be too late for long tears

    • @Colonel Buggy

      Good question, isn’t it about recognizing opportunity which the Cuba Caricom agreement affords by expanding trade? It is up to local players to plan/strategize.

  5. Barbados can source food from Cuba, they are big on agriculture, Guyana, the same and Suriname.

    If the leaders on the island want to do nothing other than be dependent on thousands of broke tourists ever year…the people have a very big problem….they gotta know if they want to continue to tolerate that and keep sinking further and further into poverty.

  6. Colonel Buggy February 8, 2017 at 12:46 PM #

    We are exporting through BHL a beer called Presidente and Wibisco is sending biscuits Wibix.

    • @Vincent

      You need to find out what % of the receipts for goods produced in Barbados is making it onshore before the back slapping.

  7. @Colonel. Exactly. You could have all the free trade agreements in the world , however , if the country or trade bloc is unable to exploit these dealings, then it means nothing. The EPA is a clear example. One way trade is zero sum game.

  8. Forty years ago, Guyana and Jamaica went broke trying to be self-sufficient by adopting an import-substitution strategy and prioritizing agriculture.

    Yet here we are gain recycling the same old ideas that don’t work.

    The Caribbean is full of lazy, technically semi-literate people who need the easy money of air conditioned work in tourist hotels and off-shore banks. We spend millions of precious foreign exchange dollars on shopping trips abroad, so we need to export goods or services to world markets in order to earn plenty of Yankee dollars. Get it? There is no easier life than we have right now with tourism, banking, and the selling of passports to Russians and Asians.

    • @chad9999

      You must be aware the racial division in the political landscape in Guyana is responsible for retarding economic progress and in Jamaica it was a failed ideology by Manley.

  9. The import substitution theory was dominant in the 1960s. Neither Jamaica nor Guyana suffered from this. Guyana, a country bigger than England, with a lots more natural resources, from rice to gold and diamonds, and a population of about 750000 (the population in London is 8m), is held back, as you point out David, by racialised politics.
    Jamaica, with a population of three million, should be punching about the same weight as New Zealand; the real problem is that in the mid-1970s the island’s economy was sabotaged by the US because of Manley’s close relationship with Cuba. So far it still has not recovered.

  10. Vincent,

    Banks is a Brazilian product. In time we will simply be a distribution point. The land in Wildey, which is worth more than the brewery, will be used to build professional apartments. Another example of a failure of Barbadian management.
    Where are the unions when you need them?

  11. One man’s opinion….

    Let me chime in on the one point that I have made continuously.

    I do believe that these island must reach critical mass in several areas at which point trade agreements become meaningful. For example, St Kitts and Nevis with a population of 42,000 can sign a million agreements, but their population and lack of industry will make them buyers rather than sellers.

    Unity is strength, but given the internecine rivalries between these small islands it is doubtful if we can come together and derive some strength from joining together. And even if we join together, many islands are bereft of manufacturing capability. We are competing economies. and rushing after foreign dollars has resulted in a race to the bottom as we all chase the tourist dollar.

    The solution may to be to forget trade agreements with the US, Europe, China, etc. and see if we in the Caribbean can be supportive of each other.

    I find it amusing when I hear the Caribbean man talking as if he is on the same playing field as larger and more developed countries. We have been talking and dreaming above our weight. Our punch is imaginary.

  12. It is quite possible the Eric Williams was able to grasp the impotence of the region even when a Federation.

  13. Hal Austin

    is not an economist and knows nothing about the underlying reasons for economic failure in Guyana and Jamaica.

    The reasons you guys are giving for the implosion of these two economies are completely invalid. There is an enormous academic literature that says you are wrong.

    • What does being an economist have to do with it? Who would have wanted to invest in a crime infested place even though in recent years there has been a little improvement. Guyana remains a country with deep racial division, those who follow the politics of that country are well aware.

  14. Barbados will end as it started, a distribution point and clearing house, point of sale, enriching other countries.

    The leadership is not intellectually capable of anything otherwise.

  15. Nobody is denying that Guyana is racially divided. But that was not the main reason for its economic difficulties during the last four decades.

    • So what other main reason is there that would negate the fact that the political, social and business landscape was not conducive to GDP growth because of a racially torn country? Please educate us.

  16. Once again the resident fraud has hit upon something he alone realises: Hal Austin is not an economist; nor is he an MBA from a distinguished university; nor does he live in Europe and North America at the same time; nor does he claim long lists of academic studies and when asked to recommend a single one avoids the issue.
    Of course, he is the biggest intellectual fraud in the forum and a bare-faced liar who hides behind a pseudonym to avoid embarrassment.
    As if it is not already known, Hal Austin is a retired journalist, nothing more, nothing less.
    But he is keen to read all these academic studies that outline the economic failings of Jamaica and Guyana.

  17. Hal Austin

    can keep up his diatribes. This is a blog, not a library. If you want to question anything I write, do your own research — although there is no guarantee you will understand what you read, particularly if you haven’t mastered mathematics and statistics, which are the tools of analysis used in many disciplines.

    I have a full time job and many extracurricular activities. I find it tiresome that so many people expect nearly every statement to be footnoted.

  18. “You must be aware the racial division in the political landscape in Guyana is responsible for retarding economic progress and in Jamaica it was a failed ideology by Manley.”

    Oh for Christ’s sake. There comes a point when uninformed sophistry stops being funny and becomes tedious. Import substitution failed EVERYWHERE in the western hemisphere, racially divided or not, because it was a terrible, terrible idea. Its wretchedness was obvious at the time to anyone whose mind was bigger than their ideology, and by now at least two generations have had to pay for it. To suggest it 40 years later betrays an ahistorical economic cretinism that is stunning, and to blame its failure on racial divisions in one country that’s so phecked up it’s had the world’s highest per capita rate of migration is just infantile.

    EVERY failure, personal or national, EVERYWHERE is because of racial divides and the policy of the Great Satan? Are you out of your mind?

  19. “Please educate us.”

    Have you checked recently the productivity indices for Barbados relative to other countries?

    Anyone with experience of other countries who’s tried to run a business in Barbados, or manage someone else’s business or project in Barbados, can’t have failed to notice the astonishing levels of absenteeism and slackness, and the mind-bending sense of entitlement. Leadership won’t fix that. Even a change of leadership won’t fix that.

  20. @JG
    and it goes well beyond Bim. T&T isn’t far different. And I had similar issues in St.Kitts. Add in showing up drunk or stoned, which doesn’t bode well when the work is many stories above grade level, and it can make the most generous estimator look like an idiot.

  21. It being a given that I’m as black as night, somehow I don’t think that the reason my neighbor and neighbour is going blind is because of Whiteys. It’s because she’s spent her entire life eating shite. Wunna have heah? Murda ah lie cricket lil baby jeebus.

  22. Once we had a thriving garment industry and it was not uncommon to find products made in one of our industrial estates, far and wide . Can we expect to export garments to Cuba, with a label marked Made in Barbados,when in fact the country of origin is China or Taiwan?

  23. The same coconut vendors near the Warren’s roundabout who conservatively earn $900 000 a year but pay no income taxes or VAT?!

    • @Ping Pong

      Be careful, you have now offended the small black man. What those coconut vendors need to do is clean up Warrens when they are finished with selling.

  24. Looks like Ping Pong would prefer a foreign white man sell bajans preservative laced, nutrients lacking, stale imported coconut water and make one million dollars a year doing so.

    Boycott fraudulent Thirwel preserved coconut water, support your local vendors and stay healthy doing so.

  25. What also needs to happen at that Warrens roundabout across from Chefette, more drivers need to show common courtesy to pedestrians crossing from the Bizzy owned Hardware side of the road and when one car stops at the pedestrian zebra crossing to allow pedestrians to cross, the crossings needs painting by the way ya cant see them anymore, the other cars should also stop until the pedestrian crosses safely …instead of zooming by without even looking and narrowly miss killing pedestrians….that too is now important.

  26. Speaking of roundabouts and Chefette. Let us wait and see what arrangements have been approved for the access and exit , relative to the adjacent roundabout.

  27. David
    don’t you think that every citizen should pay their fair share of the tax burden? The professional classes are well known for their tax avoidance schemes but below the radar are many so called “poor black” persons. Anyway don’t be surprised when (1) 5000 or more public sector workers are sent home and these are not going to be NCC workers and the like but teachers, secretaries and other office workers and (2) some draconian tax collection measures to capture the many who are not paying their fair share of the tax burden.

    • @Ping Pong

      The comment was offered tongue and cheek.

      The underground economy is alive and well. BRA was established not just to plug the leaks but to have oversight over a more robust tax collection system. Until we get BRA or some equivalent to manage the tax system the underground economy will flourish.

  28. I would like to know what taxes Thirwel been avoiding, ya only hear when they run back to Europe and leave millions of dollars in debt behind and owing everyone as well as the treasury, NIS, etc

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