Tag Archives: Caricom

Notes From a Native Son: United we Stand, Divided We Fall – a Case for Greater Caricom Unity (In Memory of Norman Girvan)

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
The premature death of Professor Norman Girvan has robbed the Caribbean of one of its genuine intellectuals and, in particular, of the leading theorist of the regional union, Caricom. I had the misfortune of not knowing Professor Girvan personally, but feel as if I did: we have a regular email correspondence and have been guests together on a couple radio phone-in programmes. What makes this virtual friendship more real is that a very good friend and mentor, the woman I can thank for most of my political education, Selma James, the widow of the late CLR James, would often remind me that I should make contact with ‘Norman’, as she addressed him.

After the failure of the West Indies Federation in 1962, the most practicable attempt at regional unity since then has been Caricom. But, as I have said on a number of occasions here and elsewhere, although the intention is laudable, the reality has been sadly flawed. Ignoring for the time being the ill-thought out idea of a free movement of people – in a public debate in London some time ago I raised the issue of the Barbados legislation being specific about free movement for those who have graduated from the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana, but other graduates enjoying the same benefit with the minister’s ‘discretion’. Someone once tried to persuade me that this ‘discretion’ will only be a formality, but can you imagine some small-minded minister having this weapon in his/her hands and not using it, especially if it is someone they have political objections to?

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CARICOM Moving Full Steam with Demand for Compensation for Slavery

The memory of SLAVERY lingers...

The memory of SLAVERY lingers…

CARICOM Heads of Government (HoGs) are currently meeting in St. Vincent and one contentious issue communicated by sitting chairman Ralph Gonzales is that leaders expect to hold talks with Europe later this year about the thorny issue of reparations. There is the other  issue which has surprisingly been slotted on the agenda – whether marijuana should be decimalized.

Leading the Caricom taskforce on the multi-billion dollar legal action for reparation for the slave trade is Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.  He has hit the British press with the zeal reminiscent of his assault on then Mutual Life Assurance Society. What is surprising is the speed with which the HoGs seem to be moving on the issue – see October 13, blog – The Caribbean Advances Claim for Reparations.

The Daily Mail has offered its opinion on the case and while we do not totally agree it does provide a different perspective that will be of interest to the region vested in the issue. BU’s provocative view is that the action maybe flawed in that governments are trying to usurp the prerogatives of individuals to bring their own class action for civil offences against their personal ancestors.

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An Urgent Call for Caribbean Unity

Suggested reading by Ras Jahaziel
Caricom Summit

Caricom Summit

URGENT CALL FOR PATRI­OTS AND STATES­MEN (David Commissiong – Parts I, II, III)

In this era of cri­sis, when vir­tu­ally every sin­gle Caribbean coun­try seems des­tined to end up in the clutches of the dreaded Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, it would do well for the peo­ple and nations of the Caribbean Com­mu­nity (CARI­COM) to reflect on that phase in the his­tory of the United States of Amer­ica (USA) that has come to be known by his­to­ri­ans as the “Crit­i­cal Period” — the years between 1783 and 1789… continue reading

Are Caribbean countries facing existential threats? (Norman Girvan)

The hurricanes of the last few weeks in the Caribbean have reinforced in my mind a growing sense that Caribbean states may be more and more facing a challenge of existential threats. (I prefer this idea to the discourse of ‘failed states’, which I find rather obnoxious and patronising; being associated with a political agenda of ‘humanitarian interventionism’ and the contemporary incarnation of the doctrine of imperial responsibility.) By existential threats I mean systemic challenges to the viability of our states as functioning socio-economic-ecological-political systems; due to the intersection of climatic, economic, social and political developments…continue reading

LIAT Update

Click image to sign the PETITION!

Click image to sign the PETITION!

The following was circulated to those who signed the petition by James Lynch, PETITION FROM THE TRAVELLING PUBLIC TO THE OWNERS OF THE CARIBBEAN AIRLINE LIAT.

You need to know that LIAT are about to have another huge meltdown. Yes, it’s probably going to happen again, and maybe even worse.

All the ATR Pilots trained at the beginning before the aircraft were delivered are now due for re-currency training, and many of the senior pilots are going on their usual booked holiday in December. That’s the start of it.

So, unless somebody comes up with a small (large?) miracle, LIAT are going to have to park many of their planes and cancel/reschedule/ delay many of their flights.

LIAT management were warned by both the ECCAA (the Civil Aviation Authority) and the LIAT Pilots Association LIALPA that this was going to happen unless they made alternate plans (LIALPA also warned Brunton before the first meltdown), so the many shortages which came to a head in August are going to be dwarfed by what is about to happen again at LIAT approaching and during the Christmas Season.

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The Caribbean Advances Claim for Reparations

14 Caribbean states have retained the services of the British law firm Leigh Day tom press reparation claim.

14 Caribbean states have retained the services of the British law firm Leigh Day tom press reparation claim.

Reports circulating in the international media indicate 12 Caricom countries along with Haiti and Suriname have initiated proceedings to sue three former colonisers, Britain, France and the Netherlands. This is good news for many Blacks in the Caribbean who believe (and justly so) that the heinous practice of slavery must be addressed in a material way. Why should it be addressed? The societies of the mentioned colonisers have benefited from untold wealth which has been acquired as a result of sweat,blood  and tears shed our ancestors. It does not matter if slavery was an accepted practice of those times. What matters is that it was a heinous act which has stained history’s page and said page should now reflect those who benefitted most address it!

The region  recently appointed Sir Hilary Beckles to head Caricom’s reparations committee. He has not wasted any time lighting a fire under the issue. The committee has secured the services of British law firm Leigh Day whose reputation was enhanced recently when the it won compensation for hundreds of Kenyans arising from the Mau Mau rebellion.

Although there is no official figure given of the repatriations claim a few regional newspapers have suggested £200 billion, the equivalent to the £20 million paid to slave owners in 1834 when slavery was abolished. Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales, the most vocal of regional leaders, stated in a speech to the UN recently that “The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples.”

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The Myrie Order

Sir Dennis Byron, President of the CCJ

Sir Dennis Byron, President of the CCJ

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) decision between Shanique Myrie and Barbados (Jamaica the Intervener) continues to resonate across the region – editorials, talk shows and on the streets. What is evident is that members of Caricom need to better manage how we promote freedom of movement given our obligation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramus (RTC).

There is the view that significant weight was given by the CCJ to the 2007 Conference Decision by Heads of Caricom [item 45].  In simple terms: can we say that the decision handed down last week is what Heads of Caricom intended in 2007 i.e. “definite entry of six months …”. The fact that Barbados argued against the efficacy of the 2007 decision without a single intervention from another Caricom member was taken as acquiescence by the CCJ. Barbados therefore has to abide by the decision until such time a similar case in re-argued before a CCJ with justices of a different interpretation or lobby to have Heads modify the decision at the next Heads of Caricom meeting.

Loud by its silence has been the reaction of Barbados to the decision. The DNA of the Barbados government is to be slow in deliberation. One wonders though if the Prime Minister sees a need to demonstrate a departure from the norm given the psychological punch Barbadians have taken since the decision was delivered.  Is there a role for the leader of the country in the prevailing circumstances?

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LIAT

Jean Holder resigned two years ago but continues to perform the role as Chairman.

Jean Holder resigned two years ago but continues to perform the role as Chairman.

We were asked to share the following article with the BU family. Although against our policy which is to be original in our postings sometimes we have to concede when there is merit in deviating from policy.

Business: LIAT’s turning point?

9/30/2013

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

THE Caribbean is a diverse multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-genre (musical) and multi-lingual region officially made up of an archipelago of islands and selected mainland emerging territories nested between North and South America, Central America in the West and the Atlantic Ocean in the East, in and bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

The 17 English heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (7); South (7) and West (3) with an estimated population of six million, including the mainland territories of Belize and Guyana. The six French heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (5) and South (1) with an estimated population of 17.2 million, including the mainland territory of French Guiana. The seven Dutch heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (3); South (1) and West (3) with an estimated population of 0.8 million, including the mainland territory of Suriname. The three Spanish heritage administrations in the Caribbean sea are all in the North with an estimated population of 22.5 million, including the US territory of Puerto Rico. There are 33 Caribbean administrations with a total population of 46.5 million, albeit over managed, which is not to be ignored as a geographical market to be explored within the wider Latin American and Caribbean region.

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One Scapegoat Does NOT Fix LIAT or Caribbean Airlines

Robert MacLellan is Managing Director of MacLellan & Associates

Robert MacLellan, Managing Director of MacLellan & Associates

Some might believe that, for the second time in only three years, Captain Ian Brunton has been made a scapegoat by the board of directors of a Caribbean airline company – fired as CEO of Caribbean Airlines Limited in late 2010 and, this week, he resigned as CEO of LIAT. Indisputably, the overall operation of LIAT has continued to be disastrous during the last four months but so has the marketing / P R / communications function and yet the senior management there appears unchanged going forward. More importantly, the chairman, Jean Holder, and the LIAT board – which has authorised the strategy, business plan, operating budget and bank loans underlying the recent chaos and financial uncertainty – also appear unchanged going forward.

While Captain Brunton has resigned, Mr Holder is reportedly on vacation in the midst of the crisis. The chairman has been in position since 2004 and submitted his own resignation two years ago, although this was not accepted by the LIAT government ownership group at that time.

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.” When Mark Darby, an undoubted airline industry expert, was fired from the LIAT CEO position in 2009 (and subsequently sued successfully for unfair dismissal) Caribbean 360 News carried excerpts from his interview concerning LIAT in Flight Global, a leading airline industry website. Darby pointed to “the lack of focus of the shareholder governments and the board of management as major stumbling blocks to the regional airline moving to higher heights”. He spoke of the complexity of three governments owning the airline, which involved conflicting agendas. Darby commented that this problem was compounded by weak corporate governance, with a board where few directors had held senior roles in major companies. “Instead, it operated more like a government department”, he said. Darby continued, “Board members got themselves involved in operational areas. This is one of the company’s greatest weaknesses”.

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CARICOM, Barbados and Me

The following was posted by David Weekes to the Shanique Myrie Goes to Court blog.

Caribbean Leaders come together in Chaguaramas to sign the treaty July 4th 1973 - CDA

Caribbean Leaders signed treaty in Chaguaramas on July 4th 1973 – CDA

Could anyone please explain this to me since I am slow of mind. Ms. Shanique Myrie, citizen of Jamaica, and CARICOM denizen, while travelling to Barbados, purports to have been inappropriately searched by Barbadian Immigration (and thereafter denied the right to move/reside in Barbados as allowed for under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTOC). Within mere weeks of her claim, her government equips her with its premiere lawyers and she brings her case to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) where the Government of Barbados brings it legal luminaries to fight on behalf of its Immigration Officials.

David Weekes, citizen of Barbados, CARICOM citizen, brings a case of breach of contract against CARICOM in 2007 and here in 2013, still cannot get a date for his case. Furthermore, said file 191/2007 goes missing from the spanking new facility at Country Road and cannot be found even up to today.

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Does Barbados Aspire to Become the Warehouse and Whorehouse of Unskilled Labour in the Caribbean?

Canadian Court orders woman to removed Niqab

Canadian Court orders woman to remove Niqab

This week in the news we learned that a Canadian woman will have to remove her Niqab in order to testify against her attackers. This is a case which has occupied the attention of the Courts for five years – read Niqab ban in sexual assault trial causes controversy. Also in the news this week, and closer to home, we heard from Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade AJ Nicholson uttering his concern that Jamaica is not satisfied with how free movement of nationals across the Caribbean Community (Caricom) is being facilitated – read Nicholson to address Jamaican travel across CARICOM.

BU took interest in the comments of Nicholson because he pointed to the Shanique Myrie case which is pending before the Caribbean Court of Appeal. By doing so he made his intention obvious that Barbados was in his ‘gun sight’.

In strictly legal terms the two cases are unrelated BUT for BU the cases resonate because in the Canadian judgement there is a sense that the laws of Canada are in consonance with the expectation of mainstream society. In the case of the Myrie matter one gets the feeling that Barbados is being bombarded by some obligation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas even at the risk of compromising its rights as a sovereign country. Are we a sovereign country or not? Why doesn’t Jamaica take a similar case to the World Court to challenge the decision to refuse their citizens entry into the USA, UK and several other developed countries which occur with frequency on a daily basis. If they were to pursue this avenue one may believe that their motive in the Myrie case is sincere.

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