A Heather Cole Article – Did We Miss the Boat?

I have previously written an article about the need to have a Federal Government in the Caribbean. CARICOM is but an economic union and was never intended to resolve political and social problems of the region. The reasons to revisit this topic are varied and the single most import that strike home today is that Barbados is experiencing a crisis of gun related crime. In addition to this, there is an unprecedented level of corruption that has been increasing since independence. Despite laws, rules and regulations, there is no body with the authority for oversight and implementation of action against the previous administration in Barbados. The notion that the political class may not have the desire to out each other is also a current reality. The underlying fact is that these island states are too small; everyone knows each other or their family; our court system is in shambles, files go missing, so does evidence and the length of time that it takes to pursue action in some instances signifies that justice being denied.

So where did we go wrong?

It was our failure to implement the WI Federation. It was four long years of struggle from 1958 to 1962 that ended up with the then leaders of the Federation walking away from a project that held the best intentions for the region. That action that led to Eric William’s famous words “one from ten leaves zero,” is currently responsible for 80% of the region’s social and political problems. Short sightedness and the struggle for power way back then set us up for failure. The failure of oversight to halt the actions of corrupt politicians, the failure to address the present crisis with action on gun related crime, the failure to have laws to address unique cases like land disputes, fraud and the recall of politicians.

From around the region there are a few cases that come to mind that makes one wonder if we had a federal government if such outrage would have occurred without punishment or redress. One was the Yugee Farrell case in St Vincent, where a young woman’s quality of life was at the mercy of political action; there is a mortgage crisis in Barbados which no one seems to be addressing; Scotiabank leaving the region, having sold its mortgages to a foreign entity that does not reside in the CARICOM and only the Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne is fighting on his own; treasonous acts by the speaker of the house in Guyana; there is a politician in St Lucia whom the people wanted to recall; the callous acts of corruption of the last Administration in Barbados; businessmen who are mysteriously awarded overpriced contracts and bribery; and the allegation of land fraud which seem to have found a home on the Barbadian landscape. In addition, we have gun related crime in islands that do not manufacture or import guns, yet they are not only available on the street but are daily committing murder.

Despite holding jurisdiction local police forces are simply not equipped to combat these types of crimes. In the USA, while each state has its own government and police force, there is also a federal government for the entire country which has its own policing force known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FBI. The FBI steps in and takes over various types of cases where a local violation fits into a category for which it holds jurisdiction.

This is what is required for CARICOM states, a Federal government with its own police force and a Federal Court system. There would be a local court system and a federal court in each jurisdiction. Recruits from across the region would be utilized effectively by having them serve where they are not domiciled, and persons moved periodically to prevent contamination of the system.

Putting the Task Force on the streets in affected areas in Barbados will not resolve the problem. When they are gone the guns will re appear as they have year after year. Although his presence among the affected is welcomed, the Attorney General’s pictures giving golden handshakes and smiles no longer cuts it. These are just knee-jerk reactions. None of these are a short- term plans. It should have been announced by the Attorney General that he is going after the importers of the guns and the persons who let them bring the guns into the country, with the intent to prosecute them. The source of the problem is not being addressed. One must ask themselves how many times we must come back to this cross road and go away knowing that nothing will change. We are currently using the same old methods to resolve crime and expect to obtain different results.

Putting the Task Force on the streets in affected areas in Barbados will not resolve the problem.  When they are gone the guns will re appear as they have year after year.  Although his presence among the affected is welcomed, the Attorney General’s pictures giving golden handshakes and smiles no longer cuts it.  These are just knee-jerk reactions.  However, finally he has announced that he is going after the importers of the guns and by extension this should include the persons who let them bring the guns into the country.  One must ask themselves how many times we must come back to this cross road and in the pass nothing has been done to effect change. We cannot use the same old methods to resolve crime and expect to obtain different results.

We may have missed that boat fifty-seven years ago but that does not mean that a new attempt of implementing a Federal Government will not work. The region will always be constrained by its size and must work to together to overcome its challenges. Now that we know of the source of the problems and their long-term effects, the challenge is to put in place an effective institution to effect remedy. The challenge will also include the heads of Government of all the islands realizing that there are facing the same old problems but needing new solutions; and not to be focused on insularity. Just as they believe that the islands are one economic union and some utilize the Caribbean Court of Justice as their Appellate Court, they must overcome the fear of becoming a political union.

It is time to move on to a higher level of regional integration with an aim to resolve the political and social problems by creating the institutions that are meant to do this. We cannot go back to 1962 and make the then batch of leaders change their minds of putting four years to waste. We have a current crop of leaders who have new ideas about the development of this region and its people and with new ideas come opportunities.

Herein lies an opportunity. The simple requirement is to have a heavy weight champion for this cause not to resuscitate the old but to create a Federal Government for CARICOM states. A Federal Government that will as part of its mandate, maintain a police force and a court system to investigate and redress a range of violations for which it will have jurisdiction. The only person that comes to mind is our own trail blazer. Despite the fact of a 30 to 0 victory being a great achievement, the icing on the cake would be for our Prime Minister, The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley to not only create and implement a Federal Government of individual States of CARICOM but to also become its first head. It would truly define her legacy, as the vision of ‘Building The Best Barbados Together’ can translate into building the best political union of the CARICOM states together.

222 comments

  • dPd

    You are a brave man. I was going to make that point, but hesitated.

    Like

  • @H|eather,

    Still waiting to hear.

    Hal, I said that CARICOM was created to establish a single market and economy. It was to pathway to the result. Some trading blocks start as economic unions then can become a political union and then a monetary union like the EU. The old federation which was a political union in my opinion was the best way to start when all of the islands were seeking independence. It would have been easier to form the Caribbean Court of Justice that way as all of the islands would have been under one political body and mind literally.(Quote)
    Are you not revising history? Where is the evidence that when CARICOM was created that they had the CSME in mind, that it was meant to be a pathway? Reference the books, articles, speeches by the founders that suggest this was the aim and that it is not just a figment of your imagination? Even now the CSME is not an economic union – it is one of the failures of Arthur as the lead minister. At best it is an idea.
    At the time of the old Federation which islands were seeking independence? Is this not part of the cultural myth – along with the nonsense of Barrow as father of independence – that we use as a substitute for proper research?
    You talk about some trading blocs starting as economic unions then becoming political unions and then monetary unions. Name them. If you have in mind the European Common Market/European Union, then you fail to understand the political history of that institution and even of Brexit.
    I will repeat, the real father of decolonisation in the British Empire was a little known Jewish American, Harry Dexter White, who forced decolonisation on the UK during the Bretton Woods talks. It was during those talks that the British, led by John Maynard Keynes, tried to offer Jamaica, Trinidad and British Guiana as collateral for a post-war loan. Both the US and Canadians turned them down. Had they not, then our histories would have ben different.
    The answer to this historical myth is simple: get our constitutional historians, our political scientists and journalists to do their research on the minutes of the pre-1961 DLP, the 1961 DLP government, all of which should be in the local archives; go to the Public Records Office at the Kew in South London and read the minutes of the independence talks in London (by law they have to be lodged there after 30 years (Sir Henry Forde was there as a young man, talk to him); and the Library of Congress, where the Bretton Woods minutes are held.
    Then again, the myth of Barrow as super-hero and of local people bludgeoning the Brits in to freeing their Caribbean colonies may be part of the myth making at the heart of which is the oral tradition. People hear speeches differently, but if that history is written, properly recorded, it reduces the chance of misinterpretation.
    You also talk about the forming of the CCJ, but the current CCJ is not the first attempt at an English-speaking regional court; why did previous attempts at federation and regional courts fail? In fact, I am not sure if what you have said about the CCJ is a statement of historical fact or an opinion. I will treat it as an opinion.
    By the way, we talk of Barbados being a democratic Republic with a foreign Monarch, yet we are prepared to substitute our sovereignty for regional unity. Explain this.

    Like

  • Sir Simple

    How do we reduced the risk for men dying of prostate cancer younger than 70?

    1) Early screening
    2) Monitoring PSA at 30 with those with a family history
    3) Educate men on the signs and symptoms of the disease
    5) Offer more treatment options

    And by the way BPH is not prostate cancer it is just an enlarged prostate gland …

    Like

  • David

    I know that I have been given much lattitude here, but when are we going to get our priorities right?

    Cancer is taking the lives of the people of my generation, and we are here arguing over an idea that has since passed…

    Nevertheless, the young lady that just died of cancer in the Royal Barbados Police Band was a friend of mine and I do believe that she and I are about the same age ….

    I met her as young recruit when see came to the he band in the early 1980s. And I can say to you without much ambiguity that you can’t ask for a nicer person Juan …but yet she is gone at a very young age from a disease that we should be talking more about …

    Like

  • @Heather

    Forget the labels, the guiding principles of Caricom say it all.

    to improve standards of living and work;
    the full employment of labor and other factors of production;
    accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence;
    expansion of trade and economic relations with Third States;
    enhanced levels of international competitiveness;
    organization for increased production and productivity;
    achievement of a greater measure of economic leverage;
    effectiveness of Member States in dealing with Third States, groups of States and entities of any description;and
    the enhanced coordination of Member States’ foreign and foreign economic policies and enhanced functional cooperation.

    Obviously institutions will evolve based on time and circumstance.

    Like

  • David

    When my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 20 years ago, I took it upon myself to learn everything possible about prostate cancer … including the function of the prostate gland.

    And when I took my kids to the library I would go down in basement of library in the cancer section and read all about the four categories cancer. Because I wanted to educated myself …about this thing most people feared most …

    Like

  • David

    And when are we going to have discussion on Andropause in men and Menopause in women, and how the both of them influence our behaviour in the middle age?

    Like

  • @Lexicon

    Will you stop?

    Like

  • Human beings are designed to live exceptionally long lives. Methusela lived 900+years as did many in his time.

    What transpired was a manipulation of the Crystalline Grid, earth properties and a culling of the truth as per the data that sustains such life.

    The dabbling of chemistry and other scientific agendas work against such sustainability. We will see the ultimate truth returning to humanity for longevity, the demise of big pharma and an uptick of alternative medicine and remedy evidenced by spontaneous remission in medical cases.. confounding doctors.
    SPEAK TO YOU CELLS FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH.

    Like

  • @ Ms Cole..
    Government is good, too much governance is bad. Multiple government is chaos.

    Take the classic example of the USA.

    What are the calamities of that system, government of the people ruled by an oversight government controlled by a shadow government.

    Look at the current fiasco a for a classic example.. it’s really not about a wall, $5bil. is nothing.
    It is exposing the deepest clutches of governance in that system and to return power to the masses.
    Like it to the similarity of the IMF conditions to send home workers per austerity measures.

    Federation is duplication and can be tiered even to elitist control.

    Like

  • When ordinary law enforcement suddenly is militarized or economic shifts are engaged or confiscation of rights and liberties or decisions of war or geopolitical thrusts are decided, who and where do they originate from when local government has to employed the set processes of “law” or the consultancies of Chambers?

    Like a President’s remark… ” I am not allowed to comment” or ” this is what I am told to say”.

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    No other system in the world can match the Republican form of governance …I have lived under the system for over three- decades and understand its workings pretty well Sir…

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    “Government of the people ruled by an oversight government … controlled by a shadow government”

    You have pretty much described the checks and balances that the parliamentary system of governance is in want of …

    Now unlike Barbados model governance whose power eminences from a central government … the Republican model eminences from the Federal, State and Municipal government … and while you are at go and study the concept of State-Interposition … if you believe those terminological inexactitudes you have written about the Republican form of governance…

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    Governor Wallace exercised his right to state interposition when he refused to desegregated the school system … And it took President Kennedy to deployed federal troops to enforced federal … I could bet that you aren’t familiar with the concept of state interposition … go study it before you run off your mouth …

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    “Human beings we’re designed to live exceptionally long lives”

    Since you are on the topic on the Bible with your referenced Methusela chronology …it would be of interest to ascertain when did this change took place using the Bible as your source of reference?

    Because in the book of Genesis 6:3 to be exacted … the Lord said: ” My spirit shall not abide in man forever, his days should be 120 years.

    Now you are using the Bible as an authority …? So use the same Bible and show me where in Genesis did this transformation in man’s chronology started declining…

    Like

  • Lexicon
    …”go study it before you run off your mouth” …
    By that comment you already forfeited a response…

    Nevertheless, for the readers and or followers…

    …it would be of interest to ascertain when did this change took place using the Bible as your source of reference?

    Death was not part of the original blueprint of the creation of man
    Gen 1:26/27

    The Nephelim/ Annunaki (sons of God) took the daughters of men for wives.
    That is DEGRADATION.

    Christ promised everlasting life.

    This is the Bible.. there are other references outside of this record.

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    This isn’t an attempt to insult your intelligence, but you are making very little sense…

    How is what was intended and what was analogous?

    Yes, God promised Adams eternal life …but neatly wrapped within that promise were benefits to be gained, and consequences to be had … the benefit to be had was eternal life if Adam followed God’s instructions, and the consequences to be had was death had he not followed those instructions … So Adam never got to enjoy eternal like even though God intended it for him …

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    It is like Adam saying: “If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have disobeyed God’s instructions.”

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    “Death was not part of”

    Your very statement is indicative of Death being present in God’s plan of salvation … and you must also understand that you are speaking in hindsight …

    Like

  • Lexicon
    This is not the thread to discuss these already established facts, however, you cannot be allow to spread your misunderstandings barring ing you mislead others.

    Quote the entire statement… ” ” “Death was not part of THE ORIGINAL BLUEPRINT”. ..What followed was a condition and a test to maintain integrity and originality…they failed
    Hence death, and later, a new covenant and the provision for restitution to ORIGINALITY OF BLUEPRINT.

    Like

  • Nineofnine

    It is useless trying to teach me the Bible because I can already see that you have a very poor grasp of Scripture …

    Listen! Through one man sin all were made sinners and through one man righteousness all were made righteous … Death was a part of the original blueprint …what followed was disobedience which threw a wrench in God original plan of eternal life ….

    Like

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    There is an interesting heated discussion, currently,going on between France and Italy. Check the link below.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46960532

    Like

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