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Thread: IS CARICOM GOING UNDER by EDWARD SEAGA????

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    IS CARICOM GOING UNDER by EDWARD SEAGA????

    Will Caricom slide?
    Published on: 1/1/07.


    by EDWARD SEAGA




    AS THE OLD YEAR FADES, so too should old problems. Not so in the case of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It is one of the enduring problems of the last 30 years, yet instead of diminishing, it is proving intractable in the sense that CARICOM is still languishing as a functioning organisation.

    At the present level, CARICOM functions in pieces and patches without any overriding authoritative machinery. All major decisions are made in the roundabout process of agreement, first at the level of the cabinets of member governments, then regional Heads of Government meetings.

    While participating governments are willing to meet at the level of Heads of Government and arrive at a consensus on issues, they are not willing to cede absolute authority on vital issues which will affect their home base. Hence, repeated stalemates foil the functioning of CARICOM, as I had forewarned on previous occasions.

    As discussions on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) have now reached a point where final positions are required, variances among the 15 members have become more apparent:

    the smaller islands are not sympathetic to any tax regime which deprives them of customary import revenues that have to be reduced to create the common external tariff essential to the establishment of a single market;

    the exchange control regime of the regional group of countries is largely based on a pegged exchange rate which has provided great economic stability for the majority. In contrast, the larger countries are operating on flexible rates and, with the exception of petroleum-rich Trinidad, doing poorly. Neither side shows any sign of abandoning its own system;

    for decades, the countries with a cruise ship programme have not been able to make a common approach to the industry in order to raise fees payable to the governments. The industry, as a consequence, continues to pay a pittance, because there is no collective pressure on it to enforce change;

    on a broader basis, there are hard decisions to be taken in discussions with the European Union which require a CARICOM consensus in each case. But again, what is good for the financially stronger countries have not necessarily been agreeable to the smaller states;

    the Dominican Republic, as a member of CARIFORUM, wishes to be included in the discussions on sugar and bananas. This is not agreeable to all CARICOM states.

    These are only some of the differences which, predictably, are arising as the loose arguments of the past give way to tighter and more factual reasoning.

    This is the same scenario experienced with the West Indies Federation when a group of leaders, enamoured with the vision of federating as one West Indian nation, hurled themselves into making commitments on the future of their countries without any deep thought. As the discussions proceeded through a series of regional conferences, as well as with the British government in London, problems never before considered began to unravel the dreams by raising insurmountable differences.

    For instance, serious conflicts arose between Jamaica and Trinidad over the establishment of an oil refinery in Jamaica to the point where the leaders of those two governments, while attending conferences, did not speak to each other.


    Failure of the WI Federation

    The fundamental reason for the failure of the West Indies Federation was that it was never planned from the bottom up, but from the top down. Hence, the problems of how it would affect the people at the bottom in several ways never became critical until discussions reached near the bottom end of the top-down process. That is when the stage was set for collapse.

    The same regional conferences with Heads of Government are now being carried out again, and the same consultation with an external power, this time the European Union rather than the British government, are also proceeding along an obstacle course of conflicting internal differences endeavouring to find common ground before the deadline in July, 2007, when the EU-CARICOM problems must all be solved.

    The answer to the lack of authoritative leadership is the establishment of a CARICOM Commission with super powerful public officials appointed to take decisions in prescribed matters as if they were a single regional CARICOM cabinet overriding the national executive of member countries.

    Anyone who believes that this would work does not understand the psyche of Caribbean leaders nor, indeed, the people.

    Those who argue for this structure point to the functioning, workable example of the European Union, a relatively homogeneous group of nations with all members having broadly similar levels of development.


    Heterogeneous group

    The CARICOM group, on the other hand, is heterogeneous. As I noted in my budget presentation of April 22, 2004, to the House of Representatives entitled, Finding A Fresh Wind:

    "In the mix of member states, wide differences are as marked as deep similarities. Haiti, the only French-speaking member, has more than half the population and one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, US$440. Several countries, though mini states like Barbados and The Bahamas, have much higher per capita incomes, US$9 750 and US$14 560 respectively.

    "Barbados, with one of the highest levels of human development in the world, co-exists with one of the lowest in the world, Haiti. Jamaica has the second largest population, 2.7 million, the third lowest per capita income, US$2 820, and the largest purchasing power."

    The pressure placed on Caribbean countries to make the foot fit the shoe will, no doubt, begin to ease with the retirement of P.J. Patterson as Prime Minister of Jamaica, and the defeat of Kenny Anthony, whose party recently lost the St Lucia general election. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, has indicated that he will also be retiring soon.

    This leaves only Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent, as the remaining fanatical believer and fiery advocate of regionalism to work with the present group of leaders who are supporters but have far less fire in their bellies to carry on a campaign with passion.

    CARICOM is likely, therefore, to face a slide, not a climb, in the future.

    One day we will look back at the days, months and years of effort that has gone into this futile ordeal to say nothing of the setback for the future, and regret the waste which could have been avoided if the lessons of the past had been taken to heart. (Jamaica Gleaner)

    Edward Seaga is a former Jamaica Prime Minister. He is now a Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies. Email: odf@uwimona.edu.jm

  2. #2
    where de crix Oneshot's Avatar Oneshot is offline
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    Seaga is a CIA operative.. just look at the names he called.. haterade to most... but I do agree with the PJ statement.. but porsha eh gone be eh better I think he need to look a Jamaica first before he starts pointing fingers

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    mi nuh cater to bad-mind Bandele's Avatar Bandele is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneshot View Post
    Seaga is a CIA operative.. just look at the names he called.. haterade to most... but I do agree with the PJ statement.. but porsha eh gone be eh better I think he need to look a Jamaica first before he starts pointing fingers

    Exactly

    Why would he want Caribbean unity.

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    where de crix Oneshot's Avatar Oneshot is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandele View Post
    Exactly

    Why would he want Caribbean unity.
    read it carefully he wants caribbean unity but within the subset of NAFTA, (the dominican republic inclusion)

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    JA Soca Ambassador socapineman is offline
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    VP;

    All I can say on this topic is that we need accountability in each of these criminal run Gov'ts...One WI -One common currency, either JA & Trini get in the mix with the EC islands or they just form a common currency.....the USA will eventually bully all of them into importing water, fruits, rice, milk, etc.. from them....if they are not fully there yet !



    In this case strength is really in unity !
    Last edited by socapineman; 01-03-2007 at 11:13 PM.

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by socapineman View Post
    VP;

    All can say on this topic is that we need accountability in each of these criminal run Gov'ts...One WI -One common currency, either JA & Trini get in the mix with the EC islands or they just form a common currency.....the USA will eventually bully all of them into importing water, fruits, rice, milk, etc.. from them....if they are not fully there yet !



    In this case strength is really in unity !
    I am with U on the HIGHLIGHTED.

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by VINCYPOWA View Post
    Will Caricom slide?
    Published on: 1/1/07.


    by EDWARD SEAGA




    This leaves only Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent, as the remaining fanatical believer and fiery advocate of regionalism to work with the present group of leaders who are supporters but have far less fire in their bellies to carry on a campaign with passion.

    CARICOM is likely, therefore, to face a slide, not a climb, in the future.
    It SEEMS like de COMRADE is de ONLY one LEFT.

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    mi nuh cater to bad-mind Bandele's Avatar Bandele is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneshot View Post
    read it carefully he wants caribbean unity but within the subset of NAFTA, (the dominican republic inclusion)
    So Cia snitching and Caribbean unity go hand in hand.

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    Registered User changez's Avatar changez is offline
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    When you read this remember Seaga has always been against any regional unity from the 60's until now. And as a US sympathiser he is also against any movement that would bolster the region that could make things more difficult for US initiatives. As for Portia she is, and has always been a staunch regionalist long before PJ was.

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