by Brian JM Joseph
I was doing some research in the last week of May, going through some documents on The West Indies Federation, also known as the Federation of the West Indies, a short-lived political union that existed from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962.
Can we as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) ever achieve political union as one without tug-a-war and without conflict of interest, but rather with community of interest? In order for us to move forward and really boast of any achievements and economic development, there must be a conflict of interest policy.
I think we need something better than CARICOM, the Caribbean Community and Common Market, if there be no alternatives, let’s try and improve on it if it’s possible and I will be honest “this union is not meeting its goals objectives since.” The Treaty of Chaguaramas established the Caribbean Community and Common Market, later known as CARICOM. It was signed on 4 July 1973 in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago. Many signatories gave their seal of approval, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on 4 July 1973, in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago.
The treaty also established the Caribbean Community including the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, replacing the Caribbean Free Trade Association, which ceased to exist on 1 May 1974.
The Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) was organised to provide a continued economic linkage between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean following the dissolution of the West Indies Federation. These bilateral discussions between Barrow and Burnham were later expanded to include V C Bird of Antigua and the three leaders ultimately signed the initial CARIFTA Agreement (the Agreement of Dickenson Bay in Antigua) on 15 December 1965.
Are the 15 CARICOM Caribbean members state likewise the 5 Associates really reaping economic benefits from out of those trade deal treaty and agreements. CARICOM’s main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy. Its major activities involve coordinating economic policies and development planning; devising and instituting special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction; operating as a regional single market for many of its members (CARICOM Single Market), and handling regional trade disputes.
Have there been any real benefits deriving from out of CARICOM? What are we doing to help nations like Haiti and Jamaica because, as we all might be aware Haiti is stricken with poverty and they desperately need the help of CARICOM. Jamaica, on the other hand, has a high rate of poverty also and it can be considered as an impoverished nation.
With the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) free trade and movement of people — I know it has it imposed restrictions — but I really believed there is more that can be done in regard to our Caribbean leaders, I think they need to sit down and negotiate at the bargaining table and come up with good strategies and ideas that will benefit all stakeholders. In my opinion LIAT Airlines is a waste of time and government resources I don’t know why Caribbean governments are fighting to keep LIAT afloat when financially, it’s draining the regional governments while millions of dollars are pumped into it, what are the returns if there be any? There is not much economic viability because it’s only putting a hole in the pockets of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
We need one regional passport that will give us hassle free travel without intimidation and discrimination. it shouldn’t matter what country we are from, we are one Caribbean people “dwelling together in unity” none of us should hold grudges towards each other. To encourage hassle free travel and extensive searches at port or airport of departure/ entry there should be representatives from the various Union member islands working at the various immigration department ensuring things are done with even-handedness. Lately we have seen how the Jamaicans have been treated and the insult that is hurled towards them by Trinidadians and Barbadians. That’s disgusting and it’s eminent that racism runs deep in Barbados that’s something that CARICOM needs to address urgently. I viewed this as anti-immigration because “if the Caribbean is to have an economic union, that’s set out to achieved Caribbean unity” we don’t need this level of hatred, racism and racial profiling here in the Caribbean.
We know that this often leads to segregation and discrimination against our very own people. Some of the laws from the old treaty need repealing and ratification is the way forward, where are the judicial worriers of jurisprudence? Time to get together and work as one, so it can be beneficial to all. I think it’s time to abolish the London Privy council and embrace our very own Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) only if it’s free of corruptions, partiality because we don’t need mobsters to be our judicators. It’s time we start working together as one Caribbean people putting whatever differences we have aside in achieving political and economic union. We need to place more trust in our judicial system and stop allowing influenced from corrupt politics and unscrupulous, rogue politicians, let’s not allow those influences to impair our judgement.
Some of the laws from the old treaty need repealing and ratification is the way forward, where are the judicial worriers of jurisprudence? Time to get together and work as one, so it can be beneficial to all. I think it’s time to abolish the London Privy Council and embrace our very own Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) only if it’s free of corruptions, partiality because we don’t need mobsters to be our judicators. It’s time we start working together as one Caribbean people putting whatever differences we have aside in achieving political and economic union. We need to place more trust in our judicial system and stop allowing influenced from corrupt politics and unscrupulous, rogue politicians, let’s not allow those influences to impair our judgement.
What does the future holds for us Caribbean people that solely depends on grant-in-aid from foreign countries? Brexit was a disaster, now they are paying a heavy price for not being honest with the people about the deal that was made with the European Union Multiannual Financial Framework and today they are left with a €100 billion bill. Prime minister Theresa May is very hopeful and confident as a leader, she knows that London bridge is falling and big chunks are falling off. Austerity measures will be taken soon and I’m in agreement with Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn (MP) when he addressed those issues in House of Commons and they all laugh including the PM and she said, “it’s not austerity it’s all about living within our means” but today she is cutting a lot of stuff how do you think that’s living within our means.
What are Caribbean governments saying about Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) and the impact Brexit would have on Small Island Developing States. EPA are a scheme to create a free trade area (FTA) between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Would the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other important bodies negotiate new trade deals for the Caribbean? What about subsidisation of fair trade of our agricultural products. The Cotonou Agreement is aimed at the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty while contributing to sustainable development and to the gradual integration of ACP countries into the world economy. The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP countries). What measures does government have in place in terms of protectionism, and, as we move forward towards modernisation in this global economic recession can CARICOM hold the region together?