The Grenville Phillips Column – The End Game, Part 3 – Taking Milk from a Baby

Internationally competitive European industries wanted to legally exploit the developing Caribbean markets.  To achieve that aim, their governments wanted to negotiate a trade agreement with the Caribbean.  That trade agreement was called the Economic Partnership Agreement.

With the benefit of our FTAA preparations in 2002, Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean were well-positioned to negotiate a favourable trade agreement with Europe.  However, the European’s ‘Aid for Trade’ incentive proved too much of a distraction.

The Europeans would go on to secure an advantageous future for Europe’s children and grandchildren.  We seemed blinded by the short-term benefits of European aid, and squandered it.

For the next five years, European aid money flowed across the Caribbean, chased by consultants who fashionably called themselves trade experts.  Consultants would assemble practitioners from different disciplines in a room, where we seemed to be pitted against each-other.

I attended several of those discussions.  Each discipline’s ‘must-haves’ were diluted to get some sort of comprise, as if we were negotiating among ourselves.  It made no logical sense, but I was reminded that I was not a trade expert and they knew what they were doing.

I tried explaining how important it was to try trading with Europe in order to identify the actual trade barriers, since each European country had different regulations.  When we were trying to trade in the US and Canada in preparation for the FTAA, we were told that there were no trade barriers.  However, we tested that assertion.

We tried to offer our services in the US but learnt that we needed a State License.  To get a State License, we needed to pass that State’s professional examinations.  When we tried to apply to take the examination, there was a small mandatory section on the application form us to insert a Social Security number, which we did not have.  When we applied to get a Social Security number, we learnt that only US citizens and residents could apply.  Therefore, there were hidden barriers that would automatically disqualify all of us from trading in the US.

Whenever I made any suggestions based on our experience with preparing for the FTAA, these trade experts seemed more interested in completing their contracted assignments, so that they could get paid and chase another EPA consultancy.

Five years later in 2007, I learnt that negotiations were being concluded.  I asked our trade negotiators to see a draft of what they were negotiating on our behalf.  I was told that the draft was a secret document so I could not see it.  I was chided for even asking for it, and for being unaware of how trade negotiations worked.

Given the permanent consequences for our children, I said that I would approach the Europeans for a copy.  I was ridiculed for even expressing such a thought.  I visited the European’s web site where they were encouraging their practitioners to download this ‘secret’ document.

While we in the Caribbean were encouraging isolation and secrecy, the Europeans were encouraging transparency and feedback from their practitioners.  Our side, with little knowledge of the industries that they were trading, seemed to be motivated by whatever prestige they thought came with negotiating a trade agreement.  The Europeans seemed to have no such cravings.  They seemed focused on negotiating the most advantageous trade agreement for European industries.

After reading this ‘secret’ document, I was horrified at what we had ‘negotiated’.  I can only imagine that when the European negotiators saw what we were willing to give up, they must have struggled to contain their delight at their good fortune.  The best analogy I can think of is that they found themselves in the favourable position of taking milk from an unsupervised baby.

I literally begged our trade negotiators not to recommend that draft for our politicians to sign.  They were arrogantly dismissive.  I then wrote publicly about the dangers of signing the EPA document in its present form, and recommended that we take another look at it, since I was unaware of any other Caribbean practitioner who had read it.  However, our politicians chose to believe these trade experts, signed it despite published objections, and forced an unsuspecting generation of Caribbean people into the End Game.

The Europeans are willing to wait 25 years before our children are forced to compete against a combined European market.  This will ensure that most of the current generation of internationally competitive practitioners have retired.  Approximately half of that time has now elapsed – and has been squandered by our politicians.

Our FTAA preparations showed that we did not need European Aid, we just needed people who genuinely cared.  After ‘investing’ about BD$200M of Aid, the Europeans publicly expressed their surprise and disappointment at the lack of any meaningful preparation in the Caribbean – but those who received this money probably could not believe their good fortune.

While the Europeans are actively preparing the next generation of Europeans to compete in an EPA market, both DLP and BLP administrations irresponsibly pursued policies that would prevent the next generation from becoming internationally competitive.  They also encouraged our children to believe an illusion, which will leave them unprepared to succeed in the new reality.  To be continued next week.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

208 comments

  • @Barbados2019

    It matters not who gives the information. If it is free take it. If it is going to improve the site take it. If it is going to save money take it. You who blog anonymously are in no position to decry other anonymous bloggers.

    Like

  • Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right

    @ Grenville Phillips

    Here are your words not mine.

    “…Simply repeating baseless accusations does not make them true.

    Since you were entirely wrong about me, your accusations about everyone else you defame need scrutiny…”

    You sir are a fool.

    I tire with your matter a leave you to your fawning admirers.

    You cannot be convinced against your will and are of the same opinion still…

    From time to time, when I feel like it I will “visit you” and comment on your autocracy that has run your other members into the fold of the Bishop Reverend Pastor Joseph Atherley.

    Thos form part a d parcel of the Baseless Accusations that I repeat.

    Let that evidence which is in the public domain become the factual evidence of why you are an autocrat.

    Run quickly to Future Shock which has offered you its services in its advertisement above

    Hopefully the troll will help you out of your online Resume for I cannot.

    You may have the last word!!!

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  • Piece:

    I do not need to have the last word. That right belongs to Jesus – hear Him and be guided accordingly.

    “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22)

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  • Pieces the man who is the mainspring of a Tird Party REFUSES to answer the following questions…What is the Substance of your Tird Party Pieces? Maybe Dame Bajans AKA Shame Bajans could assist you…

    Now what sort of Ideology or Bent should this Party have?
    Should they Advocate Free markets?
    Manipulated Markets?
    Should it Believe in Reparations?
    Should it Enact Climate Change Policies?
    Should it Institute Central Planning for all Industries?
    Should it Institute central Control of all Industries?
    Should it Nationalize the Electric Company?
    Should it Ban Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles?
    Should it Advocate to help the Small Man, by Promoting very high Taxes on richer People?
    Should it Advocate individual Rights or Collective Rights?
    Should it Encourage Entrepreneurship or Group Ownership?
    Should it speak of Socialism or Communism?

    Please be Specific that you deem Desirable in a Tird Party?

    I love wishing also but it must be Based on Something Concrete! Tell me what those Ideas, Principles, Ideologies and Religious Principles are, things must be Clearly Articulated not just wishing in the wind as wish Fairy Airy .

    Bring your Substance to Di table just not use Ya Mout to Double Speak!

    Come on Pieces lets have this Debate …be Specific!

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  • What does having the last word mean? It is a statement unique to Barbadian discursive culture and obviously has a deeper historical significance.

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  • Look at this the man Pieces and his tird party vision… He cannot even answer the questions proposed to him of the Substance of his Tird Party.

    In the Nut Shell, Pieces is a double speak man that quotes the scripture to show what a christian minded person he is to WOO others to follow him…yet another BU Pied Piper…

    Ephesians 4:14 (KJV)

    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV) …

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Proverbs 29:1

    A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

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  • The day that you Sand Devil come out and tell me why you and yours did not reach out to Angela *** and send her overseas for Cancer Care as you have done for people in the Castle of Your Skin as opposed to letting her die here in inferior settings, that is when I will respond to you.

    Until such time, as you can rectify that fatal flaw that you and your kind have in your nature, YOU CAN QUOTE FROM THE BIBLE until my Jesus comes, I WILL NOT ANSWER YOU.

    Like

  • Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right April 17, 2019 9:40 PM
    “I WILL NOT ANSWER YOU.”

    LEGION YOU DO NOT HAVE THE ANSWERS SO YOU CHOOSE TO ACCUSE OTHERS WRONGFULLY …THAT IS HOW YOU OPERATE…

    THE ACCUSER IS THE FATHER OF LIES AND DIVISIVENESS…HIS MINIONS ABOUND…HIS FAVOURITE CARD IS THE RACE CARD.

    BTW Pieces you used to call me Sand Ner, am I no longer worthy of being called a Ner, by you?

    Do You see all Light Shin N***er, as Devils?

    It Shows that what you Accuse people of, You Are!!…

    The Preaching of Hate comes from the Adversary…it is his Dogma!

    IT IS WRITTEN ….A BITTER FOUNTAIN DOES NOT BRING FORTH SWEET WATER…

    IT IS ALSO WRITTEN….YOU MAY KNOW A TREE BY THE FRUIT IT BEARS…

    LISTEN TO THE VILE DOUBLE SPEAK RHETORIC OF THIS BEING IF YA CAN BEAR IT AND YOU MAY DETERMINE THE STATE OF HIS SOUL! OUT OF THE MOUTH COMES WHAT IS IN A MAN’S HEART!!

    nextparty246 April 10, 2019 4:14 PM… :Piece has his role to play and he is playing it to perfection. He is the worst of us,”…

    NOT HARD TO BELIEVE SEEING THE BILE THAT ERUPTS FROM THE PITS OF HIS ABYSS!!

    SORRY FOR THOSE ON BU UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THIS LEGION LYING SPIRIT!!

    HAPPY FOR THOSE WHO ARE AWAKE TO HIS TWISTED PERSONALITY.

    “When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through arid regions seeking rest without finding it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes it finds the house swept and tidy. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, they go in and settle there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” Mathew 12: 43-45

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