The Caribbean People Must Protect CARICOM!

Submitted by David Comissiong

Caricom

We know that we can’t speak for all of our fellow Caribbean citizens, but we would like to publicly declare that one of the major things that we hold on to as sons and daughters of the Caribbean  to give ourselves a feeling of pride, accomplishment, and hope for the future, is our Caribbean Community (CARICOM)!

We Caribbean people currently live in an era that is filled with much disappointment and despondency. In many of our countries, several of our most important national institutions have precipitously declined and fallen into various states of crisis and dysfunction, and many of the most precious social gains that previous generations had fought for and won have slipped away from us.Truth be told, even our once mighty world championship West Indies cricket team has fallen from its exalted perch and is no longer the automatic and constant source of pride and accomplishment that it used to be.

But in the midst of such decline and disillusion we Caribbean people can still celebrate the fact that we have managed to keep our regional integration institution (CARIFTA / CARICOM) going for a solid half century now, without ever having any member state break away, or without falling victim to any crisis — financial or otherwise — that threatened the destruction of our splendid regional headquarters and Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

And we say “a solid half century” because it was on “Labour Day” in the year 1968 that the CARIFTA agreement — the agreement that would morph into the 1973 CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas— came into effect.

So, this year of 2018 is the very very significant 50th anniversary year of our CARIFTA / CARICOM regional integration institution ! And we want to emphasize that it has been 50 years of accomplishment ! Not — admittedly — unrelentingly constant and ever increasing accomplishment, but accomplishment none the less.

Indeed, we would like us all to recognize that CARICOM constitutes the highest institutional expression of the Caribbean people’s historical struggle against enslavement, genocide, colonization, racial and social oppression, big power domination, exogenously imposed separation and division, poverty, and under-development.

CARICOM — properly understood — constitutes the zenith of a super-human effort on the part of our people to construct an autonomous Caribbean Civilization out of the detritus of centuries of colonialism  — a Caribbean Civilization that is built upon and that exemplifies and upholds the principles of freedom, national sovereignty, self determination, anti- racism, anti-imperialism, people empowerment, and the inalienable right to human dignity and to personal and national development.

Let us recall, for example, that when the four major Caribbean political leaders of the decade of the 1970’s — Trinidad & Tobago’s Eric Williams, Barbados’ Errol Barrow, Guyana’s Forbes Burnham, and Jamaica’s Michael Manley — met at Chaguaramas in Trinidad in October 1972, that they not only decided to transform CARIFTA into a Caribbean Community (CARICOM), but that intrinsic to that process were their simultaneous decisions to commence the practice of coordinating the foreign policy of all CARICOM member states and presenting one unified CARICOM front to the outside world — commencing with such “outside” international organizations as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Economic Community (EEC) –and to defy the mighty United States of America (USA) and establish diplomatic relations with the revolutionary Republic of Cuba.

In other words, these historic leaders of the Caribbean were clearly and boldly establishing that at the very core of CARICOM would be a commitment to unity, self-determination, Third World solidarity, and a courageous willingness to speak truth to power and to stand up and champion important principles of International Law.

So that is our record! That is our heritage ! That is what we are entitled to celebrate!

But even as we celebrate our CARICOM in this 50th anniversary year, we would like to draw to the attention of our fellow Caribbean citizens some recent very disturbing happenings that should cause all of us to pause and take stock !

After some 45 years of our CARICOM functioning as THE solid and outstanding bloc of nations within the OAS, we suddenly learnt  — a mere 7 months ago — that a rival bloc of nations had emerged in the OAS in the form of the so-called “Lima Group of States”.

It was in August of 2017 that, on the  invitation of one President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru — one of the most corrupt Heads of State in the world — some eleven OAS member states met in Lima, Peru and established the “Lima Group of States” and dedicated themselves to do the bidding of the Capitalist establishment of the USA by engaging in a hostile and illegal “regime change campaign” against the current Socialist government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

To date, the most striking so-called “achievement”of the Lima Group has been its collusion with the corrupt President Kuczynski in withdrawing President Nicolas Maduro’s invitation to attend the 2018 “Summit of the Americas” that is scheduled to be held in Peru — a thoroughly illegitimate and despicable act, but the type of thing that the corrupt Kuczynski is known for. (Incidentally, it has since transpired that the president who definitely will NOT be attending the Summit of the Americas is the said Kuczynski himself : on the 21st of March 2018 Kuczynski was forced to resign from office in disgrace, in order to avoid impeachment on several charges of corruption! )

The tragedy for CARICOM in all of this is that two of our CARICOM member states — St. Lucia and Guyana — broke ranks with CARICOM and actually joined corrupt President (now former President) Kuczynski and his johnny-come-lately Lima Group of States, and no less than three other CARICOM member states have gone on record as being “supporters” of the Lima Group — Barbados, Jamaica and Grenada.

Surely and truly, Errol Barrow, Michael Manley, Forbes Burnham and Eric Williams must be turning in anguish in their graves!

How do we go from leading the entire Western Hemisphere in 1972 by breaking the USA’s diplomatic isolation of Cuba and extending recognition to the Fidel Castro-led government, to becoming sheepish followers of the likes of corrupt Kuczynski in a thoroughly unprincipled and cowardly attack on a socialist Third World government that is determined to wrest its people’s precious petroleum resources from the hands of greedy American multi-national corporations?

How do we justify or rationalize that type of supine, divisive, and myopic behavior in the 50th year of existence of our regional integration institution? How can we countenance an imperialistic big power like the USA using a lackey like Kuczynski to break up our precious “CARICOM  Consensus” and employing a few errant CARICOM governments to do their dirty work?

If Prime Ministers Chastanet, Holness, Stuart and Mitchell, and President Granger don’t know any better, it is up to us — the masses of ordinary citizens of the Caribbean Community, the true heirs of Manley, Barrow, Williams and Burnham — to speak up and admonish them, and set them right in this 50th anniversary year of our CARIFTA / CARICOM regional institution.

And it is particularly important that we make this intervention now — approximately one month before the Summit of the Americas — if we are to ensure that all of our governments attend that important convocation solely and exclusively as members of our CARICOM bloc of nations, and equipped with ONE common and righteous CARICOM foreign policy position on Venezuela and on every other important international issue.

CARICOM is too important to us — too critical to our future — for us to sit back and allow it to be divided and brought into disrepute by a small group of unwise, neophyte, temporary politicians.

Let us ensure that we do not permit our still mighty and impressive CARICOM to go the same way that our ONCE mighty and impressive West Indies Cricket Team so unfortunately went !

 

 

Caribbean people wake up and protect your CARICOM !

 

 

DAVID  COMISSIONG

COORDINATOR

CARIBBEAN  CHAPTER

INTERNATIONAL  NETWORK  IN  DEFENSE  OF  HUMANITY

 

 

HOPE  MC NISH

PRESIDENT

JAMAICA  PEACE  COUNCIL


DAVID  DENNY

PRESIDENT

CARIBBEAN  MOVEMENT  FOR  PEACE  AND  INTEGRATION


GERALD  PERREIRA

PRESIDENT

ORGANIZATION  FOR  THE  VICTORY  OF THE PEOPLE (GUYANA)


BOBBY  CLARKE

GENERAL  SECRETARY

CLEMENT  PAYNE  MOVEMENT OF  BARBADOS


TREVOR  PRESCOD

PRESIDENT

ISRAEL  LOVELL  FOUNDATION (BARBADOS)


MYRTHA  DESULME

PRESIDENT

HAITI / JAMAICA  ASSOCATION


KHAFRA   KAMBON
COORDINATOR
CARIBBEAN  PAN-AFRICAN  NETWORK


FUAD  ABUBAKR

LEADER

NEW  NATIONAL  VISION  (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO)


ONKPHRA  WELLS

CHAIRMAN

PAN-AFRICAN  COALITION  OF  ORGANIZATIONS


CIKIAH  THOMAS
CHAIRMAN
GLOBAL  AFRIKAN  CONGRESS


HAMILTON  LASHLEY

REPRESENTATIVE

CUBAN / BARBADIAN  FRIENDSHIP  ASSOCIATION


TREVOR  BROWN

PRESIDENT

JAMAICA  CUBA  FRIENDSHIP  ASSOCIATION


MINISTER  P. D. MENELIK
SECRETARY  GENERAL
WORLD  AFRICAN  DIASPORA  UNION

25 comments

  • Comissiong

    Yours is a hard sell.

    The most important question is why. Why maintain this bureaucratic behemoth for its own sake.

    Certainly the time for these types of regional formations seem to have passed their apogee.

    Indeed it is difficult to see how this region could avoid a second failure in just over a half century

    We readily concede that there is a fair amount of nostalgia associated therewith. However, the current trajectory seems to indicate that regional blocks are likely to face greater and greater pressures, internal and external, to find relevance.

    It will be, more and more, every manjack fuh heself, given the galloping cultural decay on all fronts.

    We are not as sure as we used to be that larger and larger unions would necessarily be better than atomized units.

    What sense would it make to stay with blocs which are devolving into sets of less and less advantages as compared with going it alone.

    We have estimated, that in this ‘brave new world’ of Huxley, regional countries with find it difficult to even hold on to their names

    Liked by 1 person

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    De ole man was going to ask what de ef for but I see that you have done so already Pachamama

    All that entity serves as is a perdiem machine for the public servants who respective member states which to promote laterally and ensure 5hat they are not problematic in their respective jurisdictions of domicile

    It serves no purpose and ONCE JAMAICA DOES IT CARI-EXIT, the rotting corpse will be interred finally

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    On this one I break ranks wuth Commisiong, only because the back of racism is still NOT broken in the Caribbean, particularly in Barbados, it is still a scrooge on the lives of the majority population, killing racism against the island’s people where it is still used as a weapon was never accomplished …no use pretending something was accomplished when it never was…

    AND…Caribbean people should be protecting EACH OTHER and not an idealistic wet dream like Caricom that never fully accomplished it’s goals and has become nonfunctional with Fruendolittle as it’s head for the past few years…

    Jamaica and others have complained bitterly about Fruendolittle’s inaction and laziness, the main reason they want out of Caricom.

    AND….I dont remember Venezuela being part of Caricom, while I have not read up about the Lima cabal…I doubt Maduro wiuld have been in this sticky mess if he was a strong, caring leader.

    Like

  • The parasite Commissiong has yet to be right about anything., yet he is handsomely paid for his pot-stirring, racist, lefty drivel.

    Like

  • The voice of David Comissiong is an important one

    Not only in Barbados but beyond this region.

    It has been unfortunate that the likes of him are seldom found at the center of political power.

    We have certainly disagreed strongly with him before. This time much less so.

    But certainly not on what could be characterized as leftish views, for we are so ‘left’ sometimes we’re right – pun intended.

    On this matter Comissiong’s views represent the now establishment narrative

    A narrative worthy of deep consideration, not dispensed with flippantly,

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    45IQ Parasite…go away you clown.

    Like

  • There is nothing wrong with maintaining CARICOM as a nice little social club whose role is to foster inter regional cooperation, and to establish a regional club.
    Such a role is worth what? …. about Bds #1M per year MAX – distributed on a per capita basis among the fourteen members?

    Anything more that that is a waste of resources.

    We could then appoint the fourteen prime ministers as the WICC board and get them to concentrate their political efforts on running cricket …while the various countries HEAD HUNT and CONTRACT a CEO to run each country’s affairs.

    CARICOM and cricket would then play a VITAL role of distracting the jackass morons who now seek political office from ff’ing the various countries – and instead focus them on something that we can afford for them to mash up…

    Brass Bowls that we are…. we currently ‘head hunt’ for cricket administrators from competing countries – to sabotage our cricket …..while looking to whores to run the country…

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Lol…the street whores might do a better job of managing the government and being LOYAL to their own people who pay their salaries…..than the prostitutès of parliament you now have and is complaining about.

    Like

  • …the street whores might do a better job of managing the government
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    True.

    Zero is ‘better’ than minus 5,
    and ‘what Paddy shot at’ is better than the DLP.

    BUT…
    Bushie is talking about the capability of doing a GOOD job of managing the government – by world class measures… not just being ‘better’ than our current jackasses.

    Like

  • And we could never get our heads around the notion that somebody who is “Black” could be characterized as ‘racist’.

    Only a White mind could have such a capability.

    The same White demonic mind which names things in reverse. For example, they would bomb innocent civilians to smithereens while claiming that they are doing this to save them.

    Or pretend to save the environment through a massive expansion in fossil fuel exploration.

    Or have a civil rights movement which is neither civil nor moves anywhere forward.

    So a man like David Comissiong who has given his life’s blood to anti-racism, a vicious construction of demonic White people, who continue to this very day to benefit from such an acili, could be so maligned.

    We have said previously that Black people are incapable of being racist. That does not mean that Black people don’t and can’t rightly hate White people. We have every right to.

    But racism requires a race to have the political, economic, military and legal powers to institutionalize hatred based on race. In spite of the simplicity dictionary definition, etymology tells us differently. Racism has a scientific definition, as anybody other than an idiot well knows.

    Nowhere in this world do Afrikans have such powers. We wish, but racism is the absolute province of White people, who invented it, and their minions who continue to pollute BU with their innate ignorance.

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    “by world class measures…”

    The ones managing the metropolises by world class measures are the biggest whores and street prostitutes in the world…as a matter of fact, they live to whore…they marry whores, they pay whores every day, they get advice from whores on running world class economies by world class measures. always have, always will, it is what it is..

    Bushman…ya need to go off island some more, ya life has been more sheltered than it should have been.

    Like

  • Bushie

    The truth is that sooner or later we would have gotten to this point.

    The government to come in after June 6, or thereabout, will confirm this, your thinking.

    No more need to cuss a hapless regime.

    We should therefore be glad to be alive to see this beginning of this end.

    The essential instability of capitalism, as we have seen since its start, could not forever avoid its end.

    And when we consider all the other environments, we are given more certainty of your ‘prophesies’, and those of many other great thinkers.

    Let’s concentrate on foretelling the future based on these truisms, above

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    “Or pretend to save the environment through a massive expansion in fossil fuel exploration.”

    That is the biggest contradiction of modern times after the brand of Christianity sold by conmen calling themselves Jews.

    The are the same people who sold the Sun god (born on a ‘fixed’ date from a virgin who was visited upon also on a fixed date 9 months earlier) down the river to be crucified (so the big lie goes) every year on a different day of the vernal lunar month after the arrival of the Spring Equinox.

    Last year he was crucified on Friday 14th April. This week on the 30th March the Good Friday before the full phase of the moon he will be killed again but only two weeks earlier than last year.

    Oh what a tangle web the white Christian Jew weaves when he pulls wool over the eyes of blind black people with a fully-loaded gun of pure bullshit to their heads.

    The white man knows full well that his sojourn on the planet is coming to a fast end.
    Any move away from the technology which drives his fossil-fuel based economy would result in putting power and controlled into the hands of the people whose skins have been deeply kissed by the Source of all energy and power on Gaia, right Pachamama?.

    Like

  • The Miller

    We say …………..

    Amon-Ra!

    Like

  • BEAUTIFUL BEIGE

    From the time that Barbados placed PRIDE into the National Pledge as well as the National Anthem the Word of God says that PRIDE comes before a fall. Turn back to the God of your fathers before it is too late.

    Like

  • He Pass Fo Foundation

    Watching this 1970s exclamation-besotted moron laud the cretin Maduro is like watching someone in the 1980s trying to recruit racist cretins in South Africa to beat black schoolchildren with whips. Also: !

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    This is what Caribbean people have to protect themselves from, weak governments who are still too stupid to know when they are being used by criminals from North America, Europe and other white controlled countries, these are the real threats to the people that their governments become to weakened and blinded by corruption to fend off, as long as their pockets are filled with bribe money, they have no interest in protecting their citizens.

    Nigeria’s president is as dumb an ass as can be found anywhere in the Caribbean. , many of these African leaders learned nothing, before, during or after the slave trade.

    “A company linked to controversial consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used hacked personal information for a “privatized colonizing operation” in developing countries such as Nigeria, according to a whistleblower.

    Wylie said that a Cambridge Analytica-linked company handled hacked data from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. (MICHAEL NAGLE/BLOOMBERG)

    He later added that while influencing elections in developing countries was not overly profitable the company would make its real money by introducing government ministers to businessmen in what he called a “privatized colonizing operation.”

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Pacha and Miller…try beating that new enslavement tactic and phrase….

    “Privatized Colonizing Operation”

    Ya tink we easy lol.

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Where is Fractured Yardfowl and all the other jackasses to bray and brag and boast about the election and the delayed dates …cant do it anymore can ya…cause there is much more to come out about how you retarded, miseducated, ignorant possessed backwater demons in parliament got played…by bigger more evil demons in the shape of a cabal aligned with bannon and trump et al….

    And that does not even include the small island minority thieves who play on yall greedy empty corrupt souls and cause you to…misuse, abuse and steal from your own people…..you useless idiots.

    What a thing, shocking isnt it, enough to make anyone speechless.

    Michael Lashley deserves a prison term, ah know what he did.

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N’ Paste At Your Service

    I now understand why you refer to John as “Johnliesalot.”

    The guy makes one point and when challenged or proven wrong, he keeps shifting the goal post……..I believe he thinks he’s being smart…….

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Art….Liesalot displays his well oiled, hidden evil intents very well if you know what to look for, that is how your ministers and politicians are always played by the dumbest of whites and minorities, they are unable to see evil in its natural form, they are always blinded by the facade created for them, the status quo, the fake titles and false status, the greed and corruption and pretty talk,.

    It is only by a fluke this new age enslavement privatized colonizing operation was exposed, if it had another election cycle to really take hold as planned, the people in Barbados, Caribbean and parts of latin america would have been shackled mentally for another 500 years or more and wont even know it, their dumb ass leaders certainly would never had recognize it since they insist on changing nothing, still going along all full of them selves, full steam ahead and being used as weapons against their own people, these ignorant, uneducated men and women in parliament make me sick.

    But wait….something even slicker and more evil will be devised for them shortly, they are too stupid not to keep working on them until something else sticks.

    The demons on the blog are bad enough, but when you have clueless ministers politicians in parliament and others in the community calling themselves black leaders, feeding the populace a steady line of bullshit and lies every day, reciting the same old bullshit used to program and brainwash them centurues ago cannot extract themselves from that trap and they themselves dont have one clue about what is being planned for the people by evil outside and local forces, it makes you wonder why anyone would believe they need any of these clueless asses to lead them.

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Am not calling any names, but here is a human rights violation case in Venezuela of a bajan who was born in Venezuela…a dual citizen…..for human rights attorneys in Barbados and the Caribbean to engage Maduro on.

    “Locked up

    Article by
    Emmanuel Joseph
    Published on
    March 29, 2018
    Relatives of a 33-year-old Venezuelan man with Barbadian heritage say they are at their wits end over his detention in a Caracas jail.

    In fact, they claim Gregory Hinds, who was born in the Spanish-speaking country to a Barbadian father and a Venezuelan mother, and who his aunt said is a Barbadian citizen, is a political prisoner.

    Thirty-three-year-old Venezuelan Gregory Hinds, who has Barbadian parentage, continues to be detained in a Caracas jail.
    An emotional aunt, Orna Odwin, who lives here, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that Hinds, the head of a non-governmental organization that works to empower young people in Caracas through community-based programmes, has been stripped of all his human rights ever since he was arrested and detained in January this year.

    Odwin said Hinds, the executive director of Community Ambassadors Foundation in Caracas, has been accused by a judge of “public instigation and conspiracy” under Article 285 and 286 of the Venezuelan penal code. But she is adamant he has done nothing wrong.

    “On Monday, February 5 after 5.00 p.m. more than 96 hours after his arbitrary detention and after hours of waiting [to be heard by a court], Gregory’s presentation hearing took place. The prosecutor of the public ministry acknowledged that the detention was arbitrary and instead of requesting the absolute nullity that corresponds according to the Venezuelan legal system, he invoked a sentence,” the disconsolate aunt explained.

    She noted that three days earlier her nephew was transferred to the Palace of Justice to be presented before a court of ordinary criminal jurisdiction.

    However, she said sometime after 8 p.m. the court decided to transfer him to the 31st Control Court of the Criminal Judicial Circuit of the metropolitan area of Caracas at the request of the prosecutor.

    Explaining how the events unfolded, the family member charged that officials assigned to the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service – the Spanish acronym SEBIN – the country’s premier intelligence agency, presented themselves without a warrant on Wednesday January 31, 2018, and took Hinds to the office to answer their questions.

    She said upon entering the office, the officials asked for his mobile phone, and he has been left without any means of communications since.

    Odwin said around 5:00 p.m. on that same day the policemen invited Hinds to accompany them to the Caracas headquarters of SEBIN – a structure known as El Helicoide, which was designed in the early 1950s as a shopping mall but now houses the headquarters of Venezuela’s intelligence services and the country’s most notorious political prison – for the interview and to have him sign his statement.

    “He voluntarily accepted the invitation without being told at the time that he was being detained,” the aunt said.”

    Like

  • T&T: Dominica debacle under investigation

    MARCH 29TH, 2018READING TIME 2 MIN0 COMMENTS

    Trinidad Express:-  Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Minister Dennis Moses has responded to the criticism and concern over Trinidad and Tobago’s decision to object to Dominica’s request for a waiver of its fees to the Organization of American States in the wake of the destruction caused by the hurricane in September 2017.

    The position adopted by T&T’s permanent representative to the OAS Anthony Phillips-Morgan has sparked outrage locally and placed the country in an embarrassing positon internationally.

    In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Moses said: “A suggestion by a public servant at an OAS meeting that Dominica’s dues not be collected at this time but be deferred to some future time in no way reflects any change in our demonstrated concern for the welfare of the people of Dominica”.

    Moses said: “In an unqualified way, the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs regrets the misrepresentation of the position of Trinidad and Tobago offered by a public official of Trinidad and Tobago during a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) which was held on the 23rd March, 2018, relative to a request from Dominica for a waiver of its financial contribution to that Organization for the years 2018 to 2019.

    Currently, an investigation into the briefing arrangements of the public official and the circumstances involved in the discussion at the OAS is underway. Shortly a report, as requested, would be made available to the Honourable Prime Minister”.

    Moses said Trinidad and Tobago’s solidarity with the people of Dominica is without question.

    “Our actions, cooperation (be it technical, financial or diplomatic) with Dominica and advocacy overtime, most recently in the advent and aftermath of hurricanes, Erika and Maria attest to the strong and abiding relationship between Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago.

    The position presented at the OAS that of our country, Trinidad and Tobago, is not aligned with the actions, policy or orientation of Trinidad and Tobago towards Dominica.

    Our unswerving commitment is that the fraternal bond that unites us as CARICOM Member States and peoples of the Caribbean continue to be further strengthened.

    I wish to reiterate our unwavering support for Dominica, tangibly demonstrated in our recent aid and expressions of empathy to that country”.

    Like

  • Caribbean ICT Collaboration Forum Discusses Elimination Of Roaming Charges

    ict_forumKINGSTOWN – The third Caribbean ICT Collaboration Forum, held on March 21, was convened to consider the reports of the collaboration working groups on connectivity, convergence and consumer issues. These areas are important elements for the CARICOM Single ICT Space, the enabling digital layer for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, which would provide opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.

    The Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s (CTU) telecommunications strategist, Selby Wilson, provided an overview of the objective of the forum, noting that the Port of Spain Declaration on Collaboration for Caribbean ICT Development came out of the second collaboration forum held in Port of Spain in December 2016.

    The declaration includes a common vision for collaboration within the region to develop a common understanding of the mechanisms of collaboration and to promote its practice among governments and all stakeholders in the ICT sector.

    He further noted that the CARICOM heads of governments had identified policy directions based on the vision and roadmap for the Single ICT Space, which they had approved in February 2017. These included creating an environment more conducive to investment; having efficient e-government services and servicing methods; and the elimination of roaming charges among CARICOM states.

    There was healthy discussion during the forum, which provided useful points for consideration by the collaboration committee and its working groups. Participants were asked to further study the reports and provide any additional feedback to the working groups.

    To get the best out of the sector, the CTU is of the firm belief that there must be collaboration among all stakeholders. Various interest groups ranging from government officials with responsibility for ICT, regulators, network operators, civil society and consumers were represented at the forum.

    Photo: Selby Wilson, Telecommunications Strategist, CTU, leads the interactive discussion on the elimination of roaming charges

    Like

  • March 30, 2018 / Caribbean / Bahamas

    LONG ROAD TO CITIZENSHIP

    Enlarge this image

    Associated Press / Dieu Nalio Chery

    Bahamas’ Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, front right, stands with his Minister of Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette, front left, during the CARICOM Summit in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.

    BY BERT WILKINSON

    There is no other country in the 15-nation Caribbean Community where it is more difficult for a foreigner, even a national from the region, to obtain permanent residency or citizenship than in the Bahamas.

    The archipelago, a mere 50 miles off the Florida coast, has done all it humanely can to prevent foreigners from becoming too comfortable on the Family Islands, allegedly ‘from taking way jobs’ from locals and settling in there for lengthy periods.

    Successive governments have also ensured that the Bahamas joined up as a member of CARICOM but have steadfastly avoided active participation in the single trading common market system largely because the country would have to sign on to the free travel components that come with single free trade membership. The fear is that Caribbean neighbors would come in droves and disrupt lives.

    Free travel means that CARICOM nationals, for example, would have the right to live and work, establish businesses, bring family members and even their own staff as specified in the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs things CARICOM.

    So in recent weeks, authorities have moved to make some very important changes to Bahamian immigration laws that could now make it easier for foreigners, and even children born to Bahamian parents outside of the country to become citizens.

    One key recommendation authorities are toying with is to give local women the same rights to pass on citizenship to children born to foreign fathers.

    More than a year ago, the administration of previous Prime Minister Perry Christie had taken the issue to a referendum of citizenship rights and entitlements to a referendum, asking Bahamians to indicate whether they want the country’s highly insular laws to be amended or for those on the books to remain as they are.

    A key component of that referendum attempt had to do with the fact that it is mighty easier for a Bahamian male to pass on citizenship to a child rather than a female. Critics say the attempt failed, in part because Christie’s government had by then become unpopular and was eventually emphatically voted out of office.

    The idea is now, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says, is for the status of the children act to be amended to allow unmarried men living in the Bahamas and foreign women automatic rights to citizenship. The nationality act is also being looked at in what officials are saying is the most comprehensive attempt to deal with an issued that has dogged successive administrations for decades.

    Bahamians have been very protective of their citizenship, fearing that if qualification is made easier, the island chain could be overrun by people from all over the world, especially poor people from neighboring Haiti who often wash up on shore in rickety vessels seeking a better life.

    Immigration officials estimate that there are about 75,000 Haitians living on various islands, most of them illegally. They account for about 23 percent of the population. There are also thousands of others from other Caribbean sister states, including hundreds of Jamaicans, Guyanese, Trinidadians and others, working as teachers, police officers and other professionals.

    Bahamians often say they fear being overrun by the ‘poorer people’ from the south Caribbean.

    A recommendation in the proposed amended laws would allow children of unwed Bahamian fathers with foreign mothers and married women living abroad automatic entitlements to citizenship once they fill in the necessary documents and have no felony convictions.

    The current laws also make it harder for women with foreign spouses to onpass citizenship to children whether they were born in the Caribbean or Timbuktu.

    “My government will make changes to the immigration act to ensure that all children born to Bahamian women, single or married, out of the Bahamas are automatically conferred citizenship,” a defiant PM Minnis said recently.

    Posted 12:00 am, March 30, 2018

    ©2018 COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP

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