The George Brathwaite Column – CSME: Benefits for the People

“Since the CSME was inaugurated here in Jamaica 12 years ago, we all agree that much has been accomplished under its regimes. But we have not achieved as much as we should have by now. Major policy decisions and adoption of legal instruments take much too long to be negotiated. We must do more and do it more quickly. The success of the CSME is being judged, by the public, on the basis of our implementation of the measures agreed to, that allow our citizens and businesses to benefit.” (CARICOM Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, at Opening of 39th Meeting, Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, Jamaica, July 4th, 2018)

The Conference of the Heads of Government took centre stage in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Thousands of eyes were not only on the colourful setting, but on the flamboyant smile of Barbados’ newest leader and first female prime minister. Several important agenda items were discussed; commitments were made that are sure to have deeper implications for the Community’s secretariat and its member states. Ambassador LaRocque’s assessment prefacing this article is more than a mouthful; it seemed a call for urgent action.

Significant, was Barbados’ purposeful and energetic input that would summon other leaders to close the existing gaps between the people’s lived realities and the customary side-stepping. It is those types of posturing that have together produced the wide implementation deficit across the region, thereby denying citizens and businesses deserved benefits. Prime Minister Mia Mottley could hardly have stated truer words when in her unassuming way she charged that “political leadership must facilitate and shepherd, not control and stifle. Straight out of the box, the leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were reminded that it is the region’s people who ought to matter most in policy formulation and delivery.

Within the context of integrated development and the mechanisms affecting the populations of these small countries, Prime Minister Mottley was able to let flow her love, her ideas, and her dedication for wanting to improve the livelihoods of people. While admitting leadership delinquency and tardiness, Miss Mottley suggested that not much had changed or had gone forward over the last 10 years, and that old territorial fears persisted.

Nonetheless, the freshness of Prime Minister Mottley’s speech, although reflective in some areas, channelled the memories of the pioneers of the Caribbean’s regional integration movement. The freedom to think and to explore possibilities that would enhance the region captured the imagination of the listening audience across the CARICOM. Surely, Miss Mottley’s speech could be summed up as a quest to fight for a regionalism in which freedom and opportunity would coexist as a practicality rather than as a convenient posture. This writer, while assessing Miss Mottley’s inaugural remarks to the Conference of CARICOM Heads, recalled Nelson Mandella – the former President of post-apartheid South Africacontending that: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Prime Minister Mottley, by invoking the name of one of Barbados’ National Heroes – the Right Excellent Errol Barrow also took to embracing the true vitality of the Caribbean region. PM Mottley ably asserted Barrow’s bold and undeniable claim that: “the regional integration movement is a fact of daily experience. It is a reality which is lived but which we have not yet been able to institutionalise.” What followed from that point of mindful linkage between formal policies and the formalities affecting people were Miss Mottley’s sharing of genuine will and determination to fix the slack that obtained under her predecessor regarding the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

Indeed, and as if to inspire the leaders and to give credence to the voices of the people, PM Mottley challenged the Conference of Heads to “give our people the scope to express their natural inclination of togetherness and inclusion in ways that are productive and beneficial to the region.” Miss Mottley touched on the need for the region to increase on its wide and varying sectoral successes. She wittingly and excitedly went from the need for sharing information to building resources and resilience; she aptly spoke of the freedom to turn away from prohibitive regulation to embracing a facilitative regimen inclusive of capable transportation enhancements.

Additionally, the Barbadian leader was adamant on the essentiality of giving vital and productive expression to the region’s youth through the global and technological highways. Her insistence was for renewed vigour regarding investment flows and cross-border partnerships among Caribbean people and entities. Miss Mottley’s presence and intervention symbolised precisely the things for educating, informing, and motivating the region’s people.

Mia Mottley courted challenge confidently and put her intent into the open arena of CARICOM. She advocated for the expansion of opportunities for Caribbean people advising that it is responsible and prudent to address issues on the process to verify Certificates of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification. Mottley bemoaned the length of time and the discouragement that became part of the process for accreditation and verification. She noted that in this contemporary age of technological advancements and digital communications, it is regrettable that the regional labour market should be saddled with mechanisms which were more handicap than optimal for the people. Miss Mottley advocated that “we must be able to do better at real-time communication, particularly as we go forward in the issuance of skills certificates and diplomas that will allow for more ease of verification.”

On the urging of things that would have occurred in Barbados, Miss Mottley was unafraid but forthright in putting the issue of contingent rights to be a matter deserving resolve. Questions still are being asked why is it that CARICOM citizens working and paying taxes like Barbadians in Barbados, and being allowed to vote, cannot access similar or certainly reasonable healthcare or other social services without attracting extra user fees? The fact is and has been documented by this writer, ‘without contingent rights, intra-regional migrant labour and the practicality of freedom of movement for categories of workers become hollow and discouraging’.

The fact that Miss Mottley is proactive after seeing the need to remove the discriminatory practice of less than satisfactory treatment to CARICOM’s immigrant workers and their dependants in Barbados, augurs well. The region can start being progressive in public policy while ironing out any difficulties that may exist in regional affairs. Thus, the following countries must be commended for their willingness to sign the protocol addressing the problematic feature of contingent rights. The countries are: Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.

On a final note, congratulations and best wishes are for attorney and political activist David Comissiong on his appointment by Prime Minister Mottley as Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM. Hardly anyone would deny Mr. Comissiong’s knowledge and activities that are supportive of Caribbean civilization and the need for deeper functional cooperation among CARICOM’s member states. Comissiong’s intent, however, has similarly been misconstrued based on perceptions of his ideology. Ambassador Comissiong’s rejection of hegemonic behaviour and his strong preference for resilience to the encroachment of foreign political and economic forces should help to reinforce the view that in the region, unity and survival are important for the type of integrated development which benefits the region’s people. Barbados can be a pivotal actor in making CARICOM work for the prosperity of all the Caribbean people.

(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant.   Email:

25 thoughts on “The George Brathwaite Column – CSME: Benefits for the People

  1. Show me the “hard currency” from Bashment and sweet Soca. People from northern countries do not visit Barbados in the summer. “Wake up white people” – Daniel Carver – Howard Stern show. NY. Haynes Darlington (M. Pharm. D) U of N.Carolina (Raleigh) Visit LinkedIN. or

  2. Benefits to the people will only come when those legal slave laws that DBLP deliberately kept on their statute books in the last 52 years and in the british drafted and ratifief Constitution of 1966 are permanently removed in Barbados and across the Caribbean..

    …..none of the islands can move forward unless the EXISTING SLAVE LAWS ARE REMOVED…and all the institutions and structures of racism and slavery permanently dismantled and destroyed.

  3. Errol Barrow words rings true today about leaders in the Cartibbean
    All them want to hold on to their liitle space like tinhorn dictators
    The Carribbean would never grow and progess because of an enshrined doctrine of selfishness
    The whole Carribbean community has no sense of goodwill towatds each other
    The whole concept to thrive together cannot be achieved because those put in charge does not have the vision and wisdom to lead the people out of a trapped psychosis of having the crab in the barrell mentality

  4. Thousands of eyes were not only on the colourful setting, but on the flamboyant smile of Barbados’ newest leader and first female prime minister
    “Flamboyant smile”? Did you get your pick yet?

  5. Wahloss, Mariposa can make reasoned sensible contributions. Take a bow, but mek sure the weave/wig doan fall off when you do. Dead!!!

  6. @Enuff, why did you have to go there? In spite of this individual’s hard line stance on certain issues, we must appreciate when a person speaks the truth.

  7. The whole Carribbean community has no sense of goodwill towatds each other


    Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua and Tortola were founded differently, different origins.

    Jamaica is by conquest

    Trinidad and Guyana came 150+ years later

    Haiti is French!!

    Everybody is different!!

  8. Enuff likes to talk foolishness and it is going to worse as his blp govt stumbled all over the places like drunken people in hastened wasted moments looking for quick fixes for the economy while the people belly hurt from overtaxation and the IMF austerity measures

  9. Liesalot…..ya lie, I have lived in many of the Caribbean islands for various amounts of time, the divide and conquer by europeans is the only blight and curse still following the black governments in those islands, the governments are the problem not the people…I had years to study and observe that situation..

    not even the former French cultures in some islands made the people different, it was the cursed European divisiveness which must now be destroyed permanently…the last blight to be removed..before the healing of African descendants begin..

  10. Always having trouble reading this guy. Decide to give it one more try and start from the bottom….

    “Ambassador Comissiong’s rejection of hegemonic behaviour and his strong preference for resilience to the encroachment of foreign political and economic forces should help to reinforce the view that in the region, unity and survival are important for the type of integrated development which benefits the region’s people.”

    This shit left me suicidal. Heavenly Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. This is much more than I bear.

  11. Enuff only people who cannot afford the massive taxes laid on the barbadian people shoulders by the govt would understand the meaning of”over taxation” simply put you are not among them

  12. I had years to study and observe that situation

    Facts are facts, no matter how much you study situations!!

  13. Your fantasies are not facts….It’s just the wickedness in your head which will stay in there where it belongs while others are now tasked with dismantling the decades of fraud perpetrated against Caribbean people.


    It’s fine and dandy to have all these worldwide talks and get world leaders on board, everyone understands that the talk is essential…but when all the talking is done… it should eventually……who will start the ACT of dismantling the existing slave society on the island and institutions of racism…no one can pretend that it does not exist and needs to be completely destroyed as soon as possible…to rid the island if the many parasites who benefited from these institutions fir decades and those who are now seeking their turn to exploit and benefit from these cursed structures that still remain in place,……now that the island is in an economic transition so to speak, there has never been a better time to get rid of these self defeating structures that have blighted the islands for 60 years too long…and now threatens all future progress for the majority population..and their offsprings..

    And even more importantly…who will start dismantling the same toxic European divisiveness and influence among Caribbean leaders and the islands, that has for decades kept them separate and distinct from each other for the intent of exploitation to benefit a few….AND in its place start the process of descendants of the slave trade combining their resouces, intelligence, special gifts and young talents to merge as a collective in moving forward as a single unit throughout the Caribbean..

    He also explained that “the people who owned Dukes Plantation in Barbados [had] split their money between Barbados and South Carolina and founded Duke University, the owners of which recently donated land to UWI for a major agricultural project.

    “Meanwhile, when Georgetown University was going through bankruptcy in the 19th century, it sold 200 of the more than 400 slaves it owned in order to get back on its feet,” he added.

    “Sir Hilary, a noted historian, also pointed out that John Locke, one of the world’s leading political philosophers who acted as an adviser to many universities in England, “owned slaves in the Bahamas and was the corporate secretary for the Royal African Company, one of the major organizations involved in the slave trade”.

    The vice chancellor also said UWI had a significant role to play in the process since it was based in the region that bore the brunt of the slave trade, adding that the lands on which the Mona campus in Jamaica and the Cave Hill campus in Barbados were built were directly involved in the industry itself.

    “When we began working on a new medical complex at the Mona campus nine years ago, the construction company unearthed a lot of bones, and we discovered that the two acres of land we were using for that project served as the burial ground for the slaves at the Mona and Papine plantation.”

    In terms of Cave Hill, the vice chancellor said, “we have a monument here to a boy who was brought to Barbados from Guinea in 1798 when he was only three years old. He was sold to the owner of the Cave Hill estate, who recognized he was a mathematical genius and ‘showed him off’ to other people.

    “Ultimately that boy became the book keeper for the plantation, a Sunday School teacher, and the first black sexton in the Anglican Church in Barbados when he took up that post at the chapel on the Cave Hill estate, which eventually became the St Stephen’s Anglican Church. So we can say the first teacher on the site of the Cave Hill campus was a slave.”

  15. Even more importantly….will the Beckles reparations movement with its members throughout the Caribbean now sue the Barbados and other island governments TO REMOVE immediately all existing laws which deems slavery still legal…off their statute books, out of their parliamentary laws and procedures and completely out of their constitutions…because having those slave laws still active and still in existence after December 1948 is in complete contravention/violation of the 30 Articles of the UNs Universal Laws on Human Rights….violates international laws and is now a 4 to 5 to 6 decades old active crime against the descendants of slaves still being perpetrated on them by their own governments.

  16. We have not only reached out to the former colonial powers but we are also inviting Germany, Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, because as far as we are concerned, there are no minor or major players in this matter.”

    Though they may not know it and are still to do their own ancestry genetic testing to find out for themselves, many African descended Caribbean people will learn that they carry the bloodlines from many of these countries named above and even more, even in small traces, it exists or exists in their extended families who share × 5 or 6 great grandparents removed, whom of course they do not even know exists…so yeah, a lot of these countries were involved one way or the next.

    Maybe the reparations movement in the spirit of openness and educating the Caribbean people about their ancestry family connections can arrange mass ancestry testing for those who cannot afford the kits.

    I know personally that there was an attempt to stop Caribbean people from learning their ancestry history through genetic testing by some if these companies….which is failing, so there is no reason not to arrange testing…which will help to solidify reparations claims..

  17. Your fantasies are not facts….It’s just the wickedness in your head which will stay in there where it belongs while others are now tasked with dismantling the decades of fraud perpetrated against Caribbean people.


    Much of what you believe came as excess baggage with our African ancestors.

    It was ingrained for centuries before the advent of the trans Atlantic slavery.

  18. Liesalot…different era, new way of thinking, the paradigm shift which you and your ilk are mentally incapable of noticing…is now complete.

    You can no longer dictate what happens next, that power is gone, taken away in this era.

  19. different era, new way of thinking


    That thinking comes from the Bible through the remarkable people who settled Barbados

  20. You are free to delude yourself, but THAT THINKING…comes directly from the African continent and has nothing to do with Europe or europeans..

    … that thinking is the direct descendant of the instincts of ancient African ancestors, something your kind will never understand or can never stop…just watch ii unfold, take a seat or several , you will need them.

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