February 17, 2015
Sir Ronald Sanders
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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.