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CSME and CARICOM States: Shall we Dance?

November 26, 2006       Commentary Archives

The Caribbean community (CARICOM) has reached a milestone in its efforts to mold a Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) trade agreement. A major step towards true Caribbean independence.

There are now twelve members of the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) phase of CSME. (1)

The Bahamas despite all attempts to seduce her. She says I want no part of this affair, "I can make it on my own."

Going it Alone

The Bahamas thriving economy (this chart by the Nassau Institute to show us why they don't need us) boast a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $20,500,  (according to 2005 CIA estimates) this makes her the object of particular affection, but she chooses to reject her suitor.

They say they fear being overrun by indigents and people from other states. And probably the most parochial of them all." These smaller island have nothing to offer us." This is to much! As you can see from the above link, they're are doing fine.

Under Articles 45 and 46: proviso for the rights of "Movement of community nationals" and "Movement of skilled community nationals," respectively. Only professionals are allowed to travel freely. Not just anybody.

 So now their concerns are that  their professionals would somehow be displaced by those of other CSME states.

All the focus on this petty crap must bring smiles to the faces of colonial and imperialistic forces. The programming they used on us was to achieve this very end, to which we seem forever enslaved.

Distrust, contempt, and delusions of superiority stemming from their divide and conquer technique, which to this day we practice so passionately.

CSME our salvation

As we move forward we are going to be in a position that we aren't afforded as fragments -- small fragments. Have anyone notice the curve the EU threw us last year, on Banana tariffs. Us, meaning the African Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). This group has benefited from EU  favorable trade deals for some time now.

This curve I think was a double  edge sword. It probably gave food for thought to states that were still sitting on the fence.

The era of sweet deals (trade welfare) are going the way of the Dodo bird. We're going to have to compete. CSME is our salvation, or damned near close to it.

Mob Mentality

The Bahamas government  threw CSME to what is for want of a better description "mob mentality." This term in itself may be a misnomer. Since it was the well-oiled merchant class that refocused the debate.

We must never forget that the surrogates of negativism and self-serving agendas, always have the upper hand in these situations. When controversial decisions are subordinate to the discourse of the general public.

People live by what they perceive, be it real or imagined. It is not necessarily fact, it could be planted by many different instruments. An appeal to ignorance, through deception and manipulation are common.

Window on an Agenda

I read a piece on the Nassau Institute website by British born Paul Bower written back in 2005. Here Mr. Bower makes his case for why the Bahamas should "go it alone." He declares the Bahamas has done well so far and will continue to do so in the future. He then goes on to compare the Bahamas and CSME to Switzerland and the European Union (EU). Switzerland refuses to join the EU.

 The Bahamas outside of tourism, it's next source of income is financial services. It is certainly no Switzerland. Switzerland has industrial might. Though Mr. Bower is not the first to make this claim. It is not difficult to see through his disingenuous claims to Bahamas interest. Self interest to be sure.

I choose to shine light on this piece because it makes my argument  brief. I thought it to be an enlightening window of what the Caribbean states face. As they try to move forward toward true independence.

Bower goes on to say that the Bahamas had done o.k. by itself in the past and will therefore be better off going forward "alone." He goes on to refer to CSME as "Pie in the sky." The kind of dismissive arrogance you'd expect from the colonial master, whose stock and trade is to convince us that we are to stupid to do anything for ourselves.

On the other hand some don't advocate going it alone, but instead suggest finding alliances to the North. We in the Caribbean must break away from the bonds of the colonial and imperialistic forces that seek to keep us in bondage. This reveals itself in our parochial attitudes toward one another. It comes at the expense of our freedom.

God forbid that we should have to drag a state kicking and screaming into this CSME. Unfortunately with the Bahamas we were trying to do that. There's something we can learn from the EU. Keep our eyes on the ball! When the Bahamas is ready, CSME will be there.

Now we have twelve

 Congratulations to the twelve members of the CSM component of CSME. this historic trade agreement. include all but the Bahamas and Haiti. Haiti is not ready.

One of the most troubling, for some, yet an essential  rights of CSME is the free movement of labor. Which has been expanded to include Teachers and Nurses.

In a recent development in the EU community. Briton saw a flood of Polish citizens. Prompting a call from some, for a stop to expansion. Needless to say. CSME has a long road to hoe, going forward.

Any good leader will tell you: There are times when the only way to lead is by example. The CSM will hopefully do the trick.
 

(1) Twelve CSME states that has completed the  "Declaration of coming in to being." A free trade zone designed to allow goods, services and skilled workers to move freely among states of CARICOM Single Market (CSM):

The free movement of University graduates, Sport persons, Media persons, artistes, Musicians,  and an expansion for Nurses and Teachers. These states include:
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

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