February 17, 2015
Sir Ronald Sanders
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HAITI needs “to get its political and governance act together”. That is among the important messages that UN Secretary General, António Guterres, delivered to the UN Security Council in a letter on August 14, 2023.
In the first part of this commentary - published last week - the conclusion was reached that the great ideals, set out in the 1973 Treaty of Chaguaramas (the CARICOM Treaty) and its revision in 2001, remain unfulfilled. But does this reality mean that, as the CARICOM project reaches its 50th anniversary next July, it has reached the limits of regional integration?
Over the last few weeks, global warming has caused the deaths of thousands of people in Europe, and it has dislocated communities in the United States.
THE fight for the post of leader of the ruling Conservative Party in Britain and for the Presidency of the United States is bringing the question of women and race into sharp focus.
THE rights of persons everywhere in the world have to be protected from authoritarian governments that suffocate them.
MUCH has been written in the Caribbean media about the contest surrounding the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General that was decided on Friday, June 24, at an election in Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda.
IT IS time that several nations, led in the Western Hemisphere by the US and Canada, correct a foolish wrong. Among those countries are two member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), namely Haiti and Jamaica.
AS beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is success or failure measured by the beneficiary or the overlooked. Summits of the Americas, from the time they were initiated by the administration of the US in 1994, have overlooked the Caribbean.
THE “Agri-Investment Forum”, held in Guyana from 19 to 21 May, was arguably the most successful engagement by CARICOM leaders in the last 15 years.
THE Summit of the Americas, scheduled to be held in Los Angeles from June 8 to 10, should be regarded by all the Heads of Government, as a golden opportunity to address the many challenges now confronting the hemisphere.
(The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the Organization of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto).
LARGELY unreported by the media in the Caribbean and making no headlines, a very serious blow was delivered to diplomacy and international relations on Sunday, April 24.
CARICOM states led the way in the Organization of American States (OAS) on April 21, 2022 in an historic vote to suspend the status of the Russian Federation as a Permanent Observer to the Organization.
IN the words of UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the war on Ukraine by Russia “is fast becoming a matter of life and death for vulnerable people around the world”.
OVER the last few weeks since the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the world has witnessed the greatest weakness in the machinery entrusted with maintaining international peace and security.
ON March 25, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, publicly pointed out that “only six of our 34 active member states have ratified the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance”.
IN place of the regular article by Sir Ronald Sanders, this week we publish a statement he has given to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States addressing issues of security and the situation in Ukraine.
THE international order, which has existed, although shakily, since the end of World War II and the establishment of the Charter of the United Nations, is now severely broken.
THE Commonwealth, made up of 54 nations of which 32 are small states, should be deeply concerned at the grave threat to the international legal order caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and should act together to show strong disapproval.
THE Caribbean cannot escape the economic and financial consequences of the Russian Federation’s invasion of the sovereign, independent nation of Ukraine.
THE invasion by the Russian Federation of the sovereign state of Ukraine has been roundly condemned by most countries of the world.
THERE has been a troubling development in relations between the US and the 14 independent nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
GLOBAL tension is rising concerning Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe after Russia which it borders. Ukraine was a part of the defunct Soviet union, declaring its independence in 1991 when the Union dissolved.
THE second consecutive general elections in Barbados on January 19, at which Mia Mottley’s Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won all 30 seats in the House of Representatives, were hailed as historic. They certainly were for Barbados, but not for the English-speaking sub-region of the Caribbean.
Rejecting the accusations of bullying and despotism that were levelled at Mia Mottley, the overwhelming majority of the electorate of Barbados returned her and her Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to government for a second consecutive term at general elections held on January 19.
BY 2030, it is more than likely that the eight independent Commonwealth countries which are still monarchical states, with Queen Elizabeth II as their Sovereign, will become Republics.
THE destruction by tornadoes of Kentucky, a south-eastern State of the United States of America (US), on December 12, has lessons for the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as 2022 dawns amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and weakened economies.
OUR world exists today in troubled circumstances, governed by outmoded charters and laws that are no longer fit for purpose and do not respond to human needs.
US President Joe Biden declared at the opening of a “Summit on Democracy”, which he convened on December 9, that “democracy needs champions”.
A television interviewer asked me if I thought Caribbean countries, and other developing territories, would benefit from the “war for influence” the European Union (EU) has launched against the People’s Republic of China.
AMONG the most nonsensical statements uttered by a British Parliamentarian and repeated in the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, is that Barbados will become a Republic at the dictation of the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
WORLD VIEW: World Bank recommendations not enough for Caribbean countries to prepare for new climate shocks
A NEW analysis by the World Bank provides a troubling analysis of the new shocks Caribbean countries can expect from the worsening effects of climate change, particularly as there is no slowing down in its magnitude. But, the recommendations place the entire burden of preparation for these new shocks entirely on the governments that are already faced with beleaguered economies.
COP26 in Glasgow offered no hope to small island states which continue to face destruction and extinction.
IT IS nothing short of shocking to learn that, despite the fact that the world is teetering dangerously on the precipice of a climate catastrophe with fatal consequences for small island states, some rich nations are lobbying against paying to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change.
ON October 12, more than a dozen representatives in the US Congress sent a letter to the US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, asking for immediate attention to what they describe as “the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party in both Latin America and the Caribbean trade and economic development”.
ANTIGUA and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the Organisation of American States, Sir Ronald Sanders, has called for an end to the celebration of “The Encounter of two Worlds”, an annual event promoted by the Government of Spain to mark the so-called discovery of the new world by Christopher Columbus.
THE announcement by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta that his government has nominated the country’s energy minister, Monica Juma, for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General, has re-opened the contention surrounding “turns” to hold the post.
The abrupt resignation of the US Special Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, came like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky. It was as unexpected as it was unprecedented.
The public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has rightly focused the attention and resources of governments around the world on suppressing and containing it.
IT was predictable that, in an attempt to show they are capable of collaboration, the rival political groups in Venezuela would pick their spurious claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory as a show of unity.
IT is good to see the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has nominated his Cabinet Secretary for Defence, Monica Juma, for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General.
THE question has to be asked. Are some people in Caribbean countries becoming the architects of their own and the region’s destruction?
Almost 80 years ago, Jamaica’s Norman Manley asked a question that has been echoing throughout the 12 independent English-Speaking Caribbean countries that form the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
CARICOM should be proud of the success of a Caribbean woman who was at the centre of the effort to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.
ALL may not be lost in the efforts to improve relations between the government of Cuba and the Biden Administration in the US, despite the rhetoric – most of it emanating from the Cuban government in the wake of protests by thousands across the island.
SMALL island states and countries with low-lying coast are the victims of ecocide.
THE proposal by the US government to establish a global minimum corporate tax is not a remote matter from the lives of people in the Caribbean. It is a real issue with deep implications for Caribbean economies, and, indeed, for the capacity of Caribbean countries to continue to participate meaningfully in the global trading and financial system.
MORE commonality was shown by CARICOM countries in a vote on Tuesday, June 15, at the Organization of American States (OAS) than has been seen in recent times.
IN the wake of the economic damage done by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in every continent of the world have turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.
NOT vaccinating illegal migrants against the coronavirus would be a fatal mistake in every country. Unvaccinated people pose a real threat to subduing COVID-19 and will delay the opening-up and recovery of economies.
SECTIONS of the population in many of the 14 independent CARICOM countries are in grave danger of undermining their own health and economic interests by their refusal to be inoculated against the coronavirus, COVID-19.
STRONG disagreement may be brewing at the Organization of American States (OAS) on how to respond to the ongoing, grave political and constitutional crisis in Haiti.
WORLD VIEW: Small states might benefit from the rivalry of larger nations for 21st century dominance
US President Joseph Biden’s address to a Joint Session of the US Congress on April 28 was strikingly different from the speeches of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
IN Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados there is outrage in some quarters that the US Embassy, accredited to these countries, has listed them as “Level 4 – very high” for risk of infection with the coronavirus. Under this categorisation, the US Embassy cautions their citizens and residents not to travel to these countries.
AS undesirable as it may be, governments of Caribbean countries that are not in International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes are being pushed in that direction.
A commentary, published on March 8 by Camillo Gonsalves, a Minister of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, was headlined “Every Island for itself’. The first line was unequivocal in stating “The idea of CARICOM died on December 16, 2020”.
AT a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on March 17, I said that “no resolution is perfect, and no resolution satisfies every country, but we cannot sacrifice achieving good on the altar of desiring perfection”.
SEVERAL editorials in respected newspapers as well as blogs by influential people in the region are, once again, expressing deep concern about CARICOM, particularly over its lack of unity in international affairs and the failure of its leaders to implement their own decisions regarding the single market.
IT was an odd law into which to place it, but new and welcome directives on “de-risking” - which has plagued Caribbean countries - has become law in the United States.
IF US President Joe Biden eases the trade embargo against Cuba, one benefit to developing countries, including the Caribbean, could be greater access to coronavirus vaccines at an affordable price.
PEOPLE in the Caribbean who refuse to take vaccinations to counter the corona virus will cause the COVID-19 pandemic to remain longer in the region, endangering lives, livelihoods, and entire economies.
HAITI – a country to which all other countries that suffered slavery are deeply indebted – is once again in turmoil.
DEVELOPING countries, including the member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), are being left behind in the rollout of vaccinations against COVID-19 now underway in rich countries.
UNITED Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has announced his availability to serve a second term when his current term ends on December 31.
EVENTS in Washington on January 20 were a welcome relief and release for the world.
AS they are preparing to exit the White House and the State Department on January 20, the outgoing Donald Trump administration has planted some explosives for the foreign policy of the government of Joseph Biden, Jr.
Veteran Caribbean diplomat Sir Ronald Sanders has been named to a ten-person committee to conduct an inquiry into the future of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.
EVENTS at the Organization of American States (OAS) continue to reveal that, notwithstanding the efforts by some of its 33 member states, the Organization is the handmaiden of powerful governments which control it through various methods, including coercion.
THE Government of Canada has taken an initiative to promote a Declaration by like-minded countries against the use of arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations.
THE presidents of Guyana and Suriname have announced two major joint venture projects whose implementation will deepen the beneficial relations between the two countries, and could have a positive effect for the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) of which they are members.
HUMAN rights and constitutional violations in Haiti have been ignored for too long by the Organization of American States (OAS). The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has also avoided dealing with incendiary political issues in Haiti.
WORLD VIEW: We’re in a new reality and those who control the purse strings need to realise that - and help
GOVERNMENTS in Central America are calling for “climate justice” after the devastation of their countries by Eta and Iota as both tropical storms and hurricanes.
CARIBBEAN Community (CARICOM) countries should by now have worked out a strategy for securing the early attention of US President-elect, Joe Biden, and the team working on his transition into the White House and to the helm of government.
DEMOCRACY, including free and fair elections, is under siege in the Western Hemisphere, including now in the United States. But the country that cries out for immediate vigilance is Bolivia.
A BIZARRE moment at the 50th session of the general assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), on October 20 and 21, was a claim by the outgoing Foreign Minister, Karen Longaric that her government had brought democracy to Bolivia.
ANYONE who followed the 50th regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), would be forgiven for believing it was held to discuss Venezuela and Nicaragua.
OF all the questions that both Kamala Harris and Mike Pence dodged during the US Vice Presidential debate on October 7, the most revealing concerned China.
OF all the fanciful reasons imputed to the decision of the government to make Barbados a Republic, shedding its monarchical status with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, the most surprising has come from the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, Tom Tugendhat.
IN 1994, shortly after Antigua and Barbuda and Cuba established diplomatic relations, Fidel Castro and Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Lester Bird, had a memorable conversation in Havana.
ONCE again, Guyana is causing regional and international worry following two sets of killings of young men (two of African origin and two of Indian origin) that have sparked the flames of communal violence and threaten to engulf the country.
Nelson Mandela in 1990 was a towering symbol of the triumph of right over wrong. Released from prison after 27 cruel years for his unrelenting stand against apartheid and the dehumanisation of the black peoples of South Africa, he was universally admired. His walk through the gate of Victor Verster Prison to freedom was watched on television by an emotional audience of millions the world over. Quite literally, there was an explosion of joy.
THE COVID-19 pandemic is severely limiting the work of diplomacy. It could have a lasting adverse affect on international relations if finding a vaccine continues to elude global researchers for much longer.
CARICOM countries have been subject to intense scrutiny in the period March to August this year, relating to the conduct of general elections, maintaining democracy and upholding the rule of law.
THE one upside of the challenges facing the Government of Guyana after a five-month impasse in declaring the result of general elections on March 2, is that the country’s economic growth in 2020 is projected at a whopping 52.8 percent – surpassing all 26 Latin American and Caribbean states. This trend is likely to continue for many years to come.
AMID the feverish work to cope with both the public health and economic effects of COVID-19 on their populations, Caribbean governments can be forgiven for dropping their guard against the existential dangers posed by climate change.
RECENT electoral events in Guyana and Suriname, which border each other on the north-eastern coast of the South American continent, display a remarkably different approach to democracy that could be the determining factor in catapulting Suriname’s development and prosperity well ahead of Guyana’s.
IT IS long past time for good sense to prevail in Guyana among the leadership of the APNU-AFC coalition that has been a caretaker government since the March 2 general and regional elections.
GOVERNMENTS around the world, including in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, have emerged as the principal players in the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The private sector, for the most part, has taken a back seat with many companies turning inwards and concentrating on safeguarding their own survival, rather than playing a broader role.
There have been unhelpful and destructive attacks by leading members and zealous supporters of the APNU-AFC caretaker government in Guyana against all with whose position they disagree. The targets are international organisations, CARICOM Heads of Government, other governments that have been major partners with Guyana and their diplomatic representatives.
THREE US senators, who have done little to advance the interests of the Caribbean and with whom requests for meetings by many Caribbean Ambassadors are usually shunted to their staff, are now proposing US government punishment for Caribbean countries that request assistance from Cuba for medical personnel.
THE failure of the world’s richest nations to respond adequately to the abrupt and rapid decline in the economies of developing countries, including the Caribbean, is resulting in huge increases in unemployment and poverty and could, ultimately, erode democracy and the rule of law.
ADHERENCE to democracy, including free and fair elections, has been on trial in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region over the past three months in Guyana and Suriname.
HERE are three heroes of democracy in the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Cynthia Barrow-Giles (St Lucia/Barbados), John Jarvis (Antigua and Barbuda) and Sylvester King (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). Their names must not be forgotten.
CARIBBEAN countries are, once again, being placed in a difficult position as they try to navigate a course between the United States (US) and Cuba – two countries of great importance to them and for each of which they have great respect.
IN the wake of a report to the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) on the Guyana general elections of March 2, the Head of the Electoral Mission (EOM), former Jamaica Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has been accused of being “exceptionally partisan” and “hostile to the nation and people of Guyana”.
Developing countries, including Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states, would make a grave mistake if, in the wake of the economic crisis they now face, they decide to diminish their foreign affairs budgets.
COVID-19 is destroying the prosperity which several Caribbean countries anticipated at the beginning of 2020.
THE image and standing of Guyana are being tarnished throughout the world. Yet, a small window of opportunity remains open for the country to be regarded as democratic and for its government to be hailed as legitimate.
ON March 20 a reckless and irresponsible General Assembly (GA) was held by the Organization of American States (OAS), putting the health of many at risk and giving an entirely wrong example to the entire world.
REGARDLESS of the number of coronavirus cases (COVID-19) that occur in the Caribbean, the economies of each of them, particularly those dependent on tourism, will suffer in the immediate to medium term.
My less than 1,000 words commentary, on the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) between Guyana and Venezuela, provoked a response of 2,069 words from two academics of Universidad Central de Venezuela. The response merits reply if only because the authors, Kenneth Ramirez and Mirna Yonis, have attempted to masquerade their political position as an objective academic analysis.
ON February 20, the UN Security Council received a grim report of deteriorating human rights and collapsing rule of law in Haiti. The troubling situation includes widening malnutrition, kidnappings for ransom, rapes and gang violence.
GLOBAL attention on Guyana has focused on the current campaigning for general elections due on March 2. Reports indicate a vigorous campaign with the country’s newly found resources in oil and gas very much on the minds of the contesting political parties.
IF candidates were to get a prize for making the best case for why they are best suited to be Secretary-General of the OAS, María Fernanda Espinosa would have easily walked away with it when the three contenders for the post appeared before the Permanent Council of the Organization on February 12.
WHEN is a failed policy recognised as a failure and abandoned for a new approach? That was the question Barack Obama and his administration had to confront after more than 50 years of a policy of trade embargoes, sanctions and, at one point, invasion that failed to dislodge the Castro government in Cuba. It is a question the present Donald Trump administration should be considering in relation to Venezuela and the Nicolas Maduro government.
IF EVER there was a time in global politics when governments did not indulge in deliberately and maliciously running smear campaigns against candidates they oppose for international positions, it has now passed.
THE meeting between US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the Foreign Ministers of seven Caribbean countries, gave rise to many questions, but the US seeking to “divide CARICOM” should not be one of them.
READERS of Barbados newspapers were exposed recently to the views of John Beale, one of the country’s former Ambassadors to the Organisation of American States (OAS), on the forthcoming election for the post of Secretary-General. Because Mr Beale served at the OAS and did sterling work, his views on the Secretary-Generalship of the OAS deserve attention.
The contest for the post of Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) is now well and truly joined.
AS 2019 ends and the New Year dawns, the world faces a troubling period of uncertainty. This precariousness will affect international and regional organisations as some powerful governments pursue a policy of de-linking from the established international system, encouraging fragmentation of regional groups and imposing their own agenda through various methods of coercion.
IT IS a valid criticism of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that they have more often failed than succeeded in coordinating their foreign policy actions.
THE untidy and muddled way in which Canadian banks are withdrawing from the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean is a direct result of insufficient attention being paid by governments to the terms of their entry at the time. Commonwealth Caribbean countries are those that were former colonies, or are still territories of, the United Kingdom.
THERE has always been tension between encouraging foreign investment and promoting local entrepreneurship. In many countries, local businesses are expected to pay a range of domestic taxes while governments exempt foreign investors from obligation for the same taxes in order to attract their money, knowledge and, in some cases their technological skills.
A DEBATE has now started in parts of the Caribbean about whether there should be term limits for Prime Ministers. The debate arises from the view that longevity in office leads to abuse and to the suppression of challengers both within political parties specifically, and the political system more generally.
DOUBLE standards have become the new system in the Organization of American States (OAS). This unwholesome development does not portend well for the future of the Organization which is increasingly becoming a rubber stamp for the will of a few governments. It also creates a huge cloud over the bilateral relations of nations within the hemisphere.
CALLED by any other name, there was a coup d’état in Bolivia on November 10. To be clear, an elected president and the government were forcibly removed from office. The term in office of Evo Morales, as President of Bolivia, does not expire until January 21, 2020.
WHY does Harvard University in the United States have a moral obligation to provide some form of compensation to Antigua and Barbuda, a small Caribbean island state? The answer is simple: natural justice demands it.
THE business community in the Caribbean – both foreign and local – has made no collective statement and taken no joint position on the process of de-risking and the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations (CBRs) with which all Caribbean countries have been plagued since 2015.
HAITI is in turmoil again. This time the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cannot be criticised for inaction, but questions must be asked about others in the hemispheric community who have been silent about the political and humanitarian situation in the country.
AS she delivered the unanimous decision of the 11 members of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (UK), on the unlawfulness of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, advising the Queen to prorogue Parliament, I admit to being mesmerised by the startling brooch being worn by the Court’s President, Baroness Brenda Hale.
“HURRICANE Hell” and “The Bahamas is at war being attacked by Hurricane Dorian. And yet The Bahamas has no weapon to defend itself”, are two memorable expressions that emerged from the wreckage of the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama in the chain of islands that make up the territory of The Bahamas.
THERE have been many ignominious moments at the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) and many farcical decisions made, but they pale in significance when compared with the events of Wednesday, September 11, 2019.
MICHELLE Bachelet is a torture survivor. She was arrested in 1975 by the late dictator Augusto Pinochet’s political police and detained in the notorious Villa Grimaldi torture centre. So, she knows much about the suffering of people.
US President Donald Trump’s new rule on immigration and nationality, published on August 12, is no different from the rules applied by Caribbean countries.
THE response to Haitians arriving in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries has been lamentable at best and contemptible at worst. They have been treated, for the most part, as pariahs particularly by the ignorant and bigoted.
THERE were echoes of US President Donald Trump’s famous campaign slogan, “Make America great again”, in the first parliamentary statement of Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. “Our mission”, Mr Johnson declared is “making this country the greatest place on earth”.
CLIMATE change is no longer a future event. It is here, now and real. Planet Earth, mankind’s common homeland, appears to be already locked into 1.5C of warming, once hoped to be the top limit of human-caused climate change.
THE mess resulting from reports that the British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch made about President Donald Trump and his administration underscore the dangers of leaking confidential government documents.
IN what is increasingly becoming a pattern of ignoring established procedures and authority in the Organisation of American States (OAS), a delegation went to troubled Haiti on June 19 without any discussion or mandate by the Permanent Council, the organ responsible for making and overseeing policy between General Assemblies.
MAKE no mistake about it, the election of St Vincent and the Grenadines – one of the world’s smallest states – to a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is both an important and timely event.
EDWARD Seaga was a great Jamaican patriot well deserving of the many tributes which have been paid to him concerning his devoted service to his country. But, he was not a regionalist and his tenure as Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, contributed to the deceleration of the regional integration process.
AS territorial claims go, Guatemala’s claim to all – every square inch – of Belize is, perhaps, the most outrageous.
IT’S no secret that the countries of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) are divided over the response to the situation in Venezuela.
SIR Meredith Alister McIntyre was born in Grenada but for much of his life, dedicated to promoting the interests of the Caribbean, few knew his birth place. What they knew was that he belonged to a group of West Indian thinkers whose identity was West Indian and who worked assiduously in the collective interest of the region.
IMAGINE the scene if people with little hope of a better life in Caribbean countries could walk to the United States. Undoubtedly, many would do so, joining the tens of thousands in the present so-called Caravan from three countries in Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
THE Organisation of American States (OAS), already a broken institution, was shattered even more on April 9 at a meeting of its Permanent Council. It is now an organisation whose membership is deeply divided and among whom mistrust and bitterness now predominates.
Narrow party-political ambitions frequently thwart the wider national interest in practically every country.
PJ Patterson, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, recently observed to an attentive audience in Washington, DC that: “We of the Caribbean should never allow our strategy to be dictated or determined by anyone else”, adding that “we live in no one’s backyard”.
ON March 12, the Council of the 28-nations European Union (EU) placed 15 small territories on a list of what it calls “non-cooperative jurisdictions”. What the EC considers these territories to be “non-cooperative” about reveals the raw exercise of power by the strong over the weak.
THE United States of America, Canada and the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean together share the deeply-held values of democracy and human rights more than the majority of other countries in the Western hemisphere.
THIS commentary, being written on Thursday, February 21, is about troubling developments in Haiti and the constraints upon the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that prohibit them from playing a meaningful role in averting further violence. Since the time of writing, the feared escalation might have occurred.
THE law is the law and it is binding on all who dwell or visit within its jurisdiction. The law is particularly binding on those who make the law. As I observed in a previous commentary, “Law makers should not be law breakers”.
COMMENTATORS in Western media - who dominate international news distribution - characterise any government, entity or person who speaks out against meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela as “supporters of the Maduro regime”.
THE Heads of Government of the independent member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), who met by video conference on January 24 to consider the fast-moving events surrounding Venezuela, demonstrated an independent and principled stance. Absent from the meeting was any representative of the Bahamas and Haiti.
OVER the last few days there has been a serious overreach by Luis Almagro of the authority he has as Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS).
THE President of Guyana, David Granger, and the Opposition leader, Bharat Jagdeo, showed political maturity when they met on January 9 to try to resolve a constitutional crisis that could have led to civil strife and the destabilisation of Guyana.
The English-speaking Caribbean has just emerged from a season manifesting the spirit, intrinsic to Christmas, of ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all’.
A CURIOUS double standard is bein g applied by the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) by its decision to sell its operations in nine Caribbean countries to Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) of Trinidad and Tobago.
Had the meeting of CARICOM governments on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) been the only event affecting the Caribbean in the first week of December, it would have been a week to celebrate. But, it was also a week when global emissions of carbon dioxide reached such high levels that the future of Caribbean countries is now almost irreversibly endangered.
HAITI continues to be an unsettled country politically. Demonstrations against successive governments have become almost normal, and so too, tragically, are the deaths associated with them.
DEMANDS of the rich man’s club, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), have once again created disarray in the Caribbean.
THE referenda, held individually in Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada, on replacing the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on November 6, were lost for the same reason that Brexit succeeded in the United Kingdom.
IT’S time for a Caribbean Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States.
IN the introduction to his quite remarkable new book on the long-running Guatemalan claim to Belize, the author, Assad Shoman, makes the riveting comment that “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts”.
REPORTS are wrong in stating that eight Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are on a ‘blacklist’ recently released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) over Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and Resident by Investment (RBI) schemes that they operate.
In one year and eight months’ time the present holder of the Office of Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) will end his current term. Judging from his recent utterances, Luis Almagro, might not offer himself for a second term although he has not said so specifically.
A REGRESSIVE 19th century law, that is a legacy of British rule, continues to exist in ten of the 12 independent Commonwealth Caribbean states.
A FURORE surrounded Luis Almagro, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), after the Associated Press (AP) reported him as encouraging military intervention in Venezuela to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
RACISM was the bedrock of European colonialism in the Caribbean. The subjugation, oppression and exploitation of African people as “sub-human” was justified by colonial powers based on race and colour.
THROUGHOUT the 185-year history of the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council, it has never provided access for people of little means except for a few people on death row who received free legal service from British lawyers. This stands in
EXCEPT at time of crisis, many countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) credit their foreign ministries and their embassies or high commissions abroad with little value.
THE debate, particularly on social media, following the decision by Ross University School of Medicine to relocate from Dominica to Barbados, is about the wrong issue.
The financial services sector of Caribbean jurisdictions - and other parts of the developing world - have been under continuous assault by the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since the mid-1990s.
THIS week the Washington-based publication Latin American Advisor sought responses from myself and others considered knowledgeable on Caribbean affairs, to three questions regarding the recently-held CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Jamaica.
HAITI’S current fiscal problems that led to four days of riots setting back the country’s already fragile economic and political stability, have implications for Caribbean Community and Common Market countries (Caricom) that cannot be ignored.
AS controversy currently surrounds the appointment of a judge to the Supreme Court of the United States, the ease with which a new Chief Justice of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was installed on July 4, without any political involvement, should be cause for pride in the Caribbean.
US President Donald Trump did not sign “The Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique” in Canada in early June. In not doing so, he demonstrated doubts about the group in which the US participates with Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Presidency of the European Union (EU). The presence of the EU, already represented by Britain, France, Germany and Italy, gives the EU an oversize and unwarranted voice.
I WISH I could say that “all eyes are on the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting to be held from 4 to 6 July in Jamaica”. But, CARICOM events have long since ceased to hold excitement for the people of the 15-member community. They hardly get a glance these days.
THE Leader of the Opposition is assigned important roles in the Constitutions of all Commonwealth Caribbean (CC) countries. The roles stand at the heart of the democratic values to which the peoples of CC countries adhere. That is why provision should be made in the Constitutions of all CC countries for a seat to be reserved for the position of Leader of the Opposition if one political party, or its candidates, win all the seats in the House of Representatives at General Elections.
IN the wake of the clean sweep by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of all the seats in general elections on May 24 for the Barbados House of Representatives, the problem of no parliamentary opposition has rightly become a matter for wider discussion in the Caribbean and farther abroad.
IF there is any doubt the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not beholden to governments and does not yield to their wishes in making judgments, recent events should dispel it.
THE use of force is still very much a part of the foreign policy and diplomatic considerations of all states, even small ones. nIn the latter case, what they consider is not using force themselves, but force being used against them.
EVENTS affecting Iran, prompted by the May 8 decision of US President Donald Trump to withdraw America from a 2015 nuclear deal, may appear irrelevant to Caribbean countries. They are not. One of the first effects will be a rise in oil prices which has already reached $77 a barrel and is forecast to rise higher.
REPORTERS Without Borders (RWB) just released its 2018 press freedom report, and, apart from two of them, the lowest mark for rated Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries is “fairly good”. The worst rated, as “problematic”, are Haiti and Guyana. Jamaica is the only CARICOM country rated “good”.
ATTENDING a World Bank meeting on April 16, I was shocked to hear a senior official of the organisation say that, in addressing fiscal deficits, Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries should not make “shock adjustments”.
Writing in the British Guardian Newspaper on April 10, my colleague, professor Phillip Murphy, the director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, recalled that for those who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, “depicting the Commonwealth as a huge potential trading opportunity for the UK was a useful fiction”.
THE Government of the People’s Republic of China wrote to the Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on April 4, registering a dispute with the Government of the United States of America over duties that would be applied by the US only to China’s products.
HIGH-tide flooding is set to become an every-other-day affair in coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast of the United States of America by the year 2100. It will also fatally harm the countries of the Caribbean.
BEFORE getting into the thrust of the serious and threatening matter that lies at the heart of this commentary, I declare that I was an integral part of the management of the campaign of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) for the March 21 General Election, and I managed its communications campaign.
SMALL states, including those in the Caribbean, are justifiably troubled by the continuous efforts by the member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to cripple every initiative they take in the financial services sector.
A NEW report has been produced on the Organization of American States (OAS), a body that began with ideals appropriate to the geo-politics of the 1940s. Those old ideals were enshrined in a Charter that now traps the Organization and immobilises it.
NOT for the first time, the Organization of American States (OAS) is in danger of reinforcing the widely-held view that it ignores its own declared values and principles. This time, the danger is posed by the way the Organization is handling develop
THE effect of the inappropriate depiction of Haiti, El Salvador and all African nations as “shit hole” countries is a matter the people of the United States of America and their government and Congress should contemplate seriously.
What has become of the report of a Jamaican Commission that reviewed the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)? It has been almost nine months since the commission’s chairman, Bruce Golding, submitted the report to Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness on March 30. But, there has been silence ever since.
THE effects of Climate Change, particularly sea-level rise, is an overwhelming problem for the Caribbean that needs urgent attention. Delay in putting in place sustainable plans for resilient building, that could secure international financial support, will cost the region dearly.
WHEN independence was finally wrenched from Britain in April 1980, Zimbabwe was described as the “jewel of Africa” by Tanzania’s President Julius Nyerere.
The absence of meaningful consultation between governments and private sector organisations in the Caribbean is leading to the implementation of externally-driven laws and regulations which will not serve the region well.
ON October 24, at its 19th Party Congress in Beijing, China’s Communist Party formally elevated President Xi Jinping to the revered status of legendary leaders, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The Congress wrote his name into its constitution and set him up to remain in office beyond 2022.
SHOULD areas of countries break away and govern themselves as they see fit? That’s a question that has been debated in several parts of the world, and is in focus now between Catalonia and Spain; Scotland and the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent Barbuda and Antigua.
INSURERS and re-insurers are facing major losses in the wake of the damage done in the Caribbean and the United States by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. These losses will have a direct and immediate impact on insurance premiums across the entire Caribbean and the Eastern seaboard of the US.
THE rights of Caribbean states in the international community are once again being threatened. This time the spokesman is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, Benjamin N. Gedan, who wrote an Opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal on September 25 entitled: “For Venezuela’s Sake, Dismantle the Organization of American States. Tiny Caribbean states have outsize power, and many are in thrall to the Caracas regime.”
THIS week I was asked to provide an answer to a question posed by an influential Washington-based publication regarding the future of tourism in the Caribbean in the wake of the damage wreaked, in quick succession, by two Category 5 hurricanes.
SINCE September 6 when Hurricane Irma, the most monstrous storm that the Atlantic has endured in history, thundered up to the tiny island of Barbuda and devastated it, I have been telling audiences in Washington, DC, and, through the media, to the wider world that Climate Change and global warming are a reality and here to stay.
GEOFFREY Boycott is a BBC cricket commentator. He was an England cricketer for 24 years. Over that period, he scored 8,114 runs in 108 Test matches for England and was the first England cricketer to pass 8,000 Test runs. For this accomplishment, he received the award of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Her Majesty The Queen, through the UK National Honours Committee. But, he clearly felt that the award was not of a sufficiently high rank and he merited more.
ON August 14 and 15, Pakistan and India, respectively, celebrated the 70th anniversary of their Independence from Britain, a country whose policies, as an occupier, fomented - and then bequeathed to them - the hostile communalism that led to their partition and their continuing antagonism. Religious dissimilarity, as Muslim and Hindu, proved more defining and more divisive than common ethnicity, common culture, common foods and shared history.
THIS is the final of a three-part commentary discussing the relevance and state of US-Caribbean relations against the backdrop of a publication by the Washington-based, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), entitled, “The Relevance of US-Caribbean Relations – Three Views”. CSIS deserves the Caribbean’s thanks for addressing the issue which has been ignored for decades by US agencies, except in the context of their preoccupation with drug trafficking and refugees.
THIS commentary continues the discussion on the relevance and state of US-Caribbean relations against the backdrop of a publication by the Washington-based, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), entitled, “The Relevance of US-Caribbean Relations – Three Views”.
THE Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC has produced a publication entitled, “The Relevance of US-Caribbean Relations – Three Views”. The title is misleading.
AMID the finger-pointing and blaming over votes at the Organisation of American States (OAS) on matters related to Venezuela, the fundamental problems of the Organisation have been overlooked.
THREE weeks ago, I and many other committed Caribbean integrationists, declared that the unity displayed by CARICOM countries at the Organization of American States (OAS) on May 31 “was a moment for unbridled pride”.
ON May 29, two former Prime Ministers and leaders of opposing political parties in Antigua and Barbuda presented their nation’s parliament with one of those rare occasions in which in a fiery debate, they were “singing from the same hymn sheet” as th
Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIPs) in the Caribbean have been the subject of much criticism, even though the financial and economic benefits of the programmes are undeniable. These programmes are operated by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Gr
The Organisation of American States (OAS) has lost credibility as a multilateral institution capable of contributing to a resolution of the growing conflict in Venezuela.
The yearnings for power and wealth of the stone-cold dead British Empire echoed amongst the older generation throughout the shires of Britain during the ‘Brexit’ campaign.
There is a real prospect that, in dealing with unsustainable debt, 11 of 13 Caribbean small states will have lost the first three decades of the 21st century and foregone opportunities for poverty reduction, transformation and growth.
Globalisation was originally a construct of industrialised nations whose economic activity had developed sufficiently to withstand competition within their own borders from other countries, and who had the capability of exporting goods and services to other markets.
Modern history is showered with women as political leaders and heads of government. When women first emerged in these roles, it was regarded as “breaking a glass ceiling” - a breakthrough for the female gender in occupying high positions once regarded as the preserve of men.
CITIZENSHIP by Investment Programmes (CIPs) are operated, in one form or another, by many countries, including the United States, Canada, and several European Union (EU) nations.
“It was a coup d’état followed by a lynching”.
On March 28, the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) experienced a public spectacle of disarray that, in 36 years of diplomatic life in many international and multinational organisations, I have never witnessed. A similar observation was made by many other seasoned Ambassadors.
FOR over a year in the Councils of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Caribbean countries have been warning of the threat to the region’s economic and political stability arising from the withdrawal by US banks of correspondent banking relations to Caribbean banks. Those relations have been in place for over a century, giving significant profits to US banks.
A Commonwealth Free Trade Area (FTA) would go down in India “like a lead balloon”. That’s the opinion of Indian Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor, as British ministers and Empire-dreamers run around Britain trying to promote the idea that a Commonwealth FTA is a viable alternative to trade with the European Union (EU) which Britain has elected to exit.
THE Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), operated by many countries in the world, including the United States, Spain, Switzerland, Malta and Portugal to name a few, is particularly misrepresented in relation to the small countries in the eastern Caribbean.
THE global US television company, Cable News Network (CNN), broadcast the first part of a programme on February 8, alleging the sale of Venezuelan passports to Iraqis and others through the country’s Embassy in Baghdad. The programme suggested that it is possible that terrorists might have been among those alleged to have bought passports.
The remarks in this commentary were spoken in a television interview in Grenada on the day that Fidel Ruz Castro, the former President of Cuba, died. The discussion centred on whether contemporary Caribbean leaders lacked the courage that previous leaders, such as Castro, displayed.
THE President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, is systematically implementing the pledges he made during the Presidential election campaign.
TRADE between the US and other countries of the world, particularly China, was a major plank of Donald Trump’s campaign for the Presidency. He regarded all the trade deals as inimical to US interests. So, is there reason for Caribbean Community Common Market (CARICOM) countries to worry about their trade relationship with the US under the Trump Presidency?
Tomas Regalado, the Mayor of Miami - long a hot bed for Cuban exiles - has described as a “parting gift” the decision of the waning Obama administration to end the United States’ ‘wet foot-dry foot’ policy toward Cubans seeking entry to the country. The question is: a parting gift to whom?
On January 1, “60 minutes”, an investigative programme aired by the US television company, CBS Corporation, ran a segment on “Citizenship by Investment Programmes” (CIP) that are operated by several countries around the world.
After a lifetime in Caribbean and international politics, I thought the time had long since passed when I could be outraged by any event.
The ‘Brexit’ chickens are coming home to roost in a troubled British economy, however much British government ministers and other English nationalistic hopefuls are trying to suggest otherwise.
As Barack Obama’s Presidency of the United States enters its final weeks, there are tens of millions of people in America and across the world who already feel a great sense of loss.
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States of America, there is genuine concern about what his presidency will mean for the Caribbean.
For over 12 years, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the United States have been involved in a contention over an award by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in favour of the Caribbean country over internet gaming.
Caribbean governments have rightly focused on the severe consequences for their countries of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from regional banks by international banks, particularly those located in the United States.
Over the last few weeks, a trans-Atlantic war of words has been going on between the US Treasury and the European Union Commission (EC) over what amounts to ‘harmful tax competition’.
On June 26, 2011, 47-year-old Craig Anderson was on his way to celebrate his birthday when he was attacked and murdered by ten white teenagers in a parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi.
THE ease with which developed countries appoint heads of international and multi-national organisations (sometimes in the guise of an election) is not their achievement alone; it is also the fault of developing countries who let them.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has tormented small Caribbean economies for five decades with austerity measures and fierce conditionalities, has been exposed as adopting utterly different standards towards Europe, especially the countries of the European Currency Union. That is except for Greece which, throughout its economic crisis, the IMF treated like a third-world country.
For anyone following the US Presidential campaigns, it has been a volatile voyage with great uncertainty about whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will eventually emerge triumphant.
Luis Almagro, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American states (OAS), has told political stakeholders in Haiti, including the interim government and parliamentarians, that it is imperative that they fully assume their responsibilities towards the nation.
Jamaica’s CARICOM Review Commission has been established and has had its first meeting, even if its purpose and the prism through which the review will take place is not clear.
The 46th General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) was not a successful event.
‘International interests in Haiti, in addition to checking off an ‘elections done’ box, are largely defined by controlling emigration, maintaining stability and managing poverty.'
THERE is a certain illogic in the reaction of both the United Nations Secretary-General and the US State Department over the findings of a Haitian Verification Commission that evaluated the October 25, 2015, first-round general elections.
TWO events at the Organisation of American States (OAS) in recent months have underscored the soundness of the system by which the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is financed.
I start with the now proven premise that no CARICOM nation is able to prosper on its own. No protestations to the contrary erase the evidence that, without aid from external sources, these countries could not deliver the goods and services that their people expect.
The transformation of the energy sector in Caribbean countries is the key to improving the economies of all of them.
DONALD Trump’s Foreign Policy speech on April 27 did not once mention the Caribbean.
For a brief moment it appeared that good sense would prevail and the international community would ditch the failed “war on drugs” policy. But all hopes were dashed at the United Nations General Assembly special session on drugs (UNgass) last week in New York.
Peace and development will be endangered in Haiti if the United States and other nations insist that the interim government holds the second round of a truncated election for a President of the republic without a verification process of the first round that took place on October 25 last year.
The names of persons implicated in the leak of the so-called “Panama Papers” earlier this month reads like a Who’s Who of the politically powerful in many parts of the world.
In January, coincidental to my assuming the Presidency of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS), I met, in Washington DC, the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, who had just taken on the responsibility of Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government.
“If there were any scheme designed to destroy the economies of several countries without a military war, then this is such a scheme. It is erroneous; it is pernicious; and it is vicious”.
SIR Ronald Sanders, who is vying to become the first Caribbean national in more than 20 years to hold the the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth, has been assured of the support of the Bahamas by Prime Minister Perry Christie ahead of the vote at the end of this month.
THE government has reserved its position on endorsing a candidate for Commonwealth secretary general in a bid to secure a last-minute regional consensus ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this month, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell confirmed yesterday.
SIR Ronald Sanders, the High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda in London, has been reinstated in the contest for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General after withdrawing his candidacy in December.