Caribbean Political Economy

Underachieving T&T

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I comment on a new book by Dr Terrence Farrell on the economic development experience of Trinidad and Tobago since Independence. Click here 

The Caribbean Leads the World in Medals Per Capita

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Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago were the top three countries in medals per capita at the London 2012 Olympics, with the Bahamas fifth.

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The Way Forward for the Caribbean, Michael Witter

Also published in Stabroek News 2 January 2012

The generation of young Caribbean adults who did not live under colonialism, nor the dictatorships of Batista and Duvalier, must play a leading role in the re-thinking of our region and its identity. It must be a collective reflection on many levels: regionally, nationally,,   locally, and across generations…


Development Dookeran Style, Gregory McGuire

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From the Trinidad and Tobago Review, July 2, 2011

One of the distinguishing features of politics in Trinidad and Tobago over the last forty years has been the tendency for political parties to quickly dispense with the lofty ideals expressed in their manifestos once they get into Government. The People’s Partnership Government promised “new politics”, but the evidence before us calls that into question…

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Re-Energising CARICOM Integration, Prime Minister Tillman Thomas

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Prime Minister Tillman Thomas’s proposals to the Heads of Government deal with reforming CARICOM governance to address the ‘implementation deficit’, management of the Secretariat, prioritising the benefits of economic integration, resolving issues in the movement of Community nationals, mobilising civil society in support of integration and an immediate action plan.

Complete document

Study Shows Jamaicans ‘Averse’ to Caricom Jamaica Observer

China in the Caribbean: A Compilation, Peter Jordens

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A compilation of articles published on-line on the growing Chinese presence in the Caribbean region, covering the years 2007-2011.

Click here for China in the Caribbean

A Different Future for the Trinidad and Tobago Economy? John Cavanaugh & Robin Broad

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As citizens successfully block a proposed aluminum smelter, is Trinidad and Tobago changing course away from dependence to mega-industrial projects gas to supporting small-scale farmers and fishers?…

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The Case for a New Caribbean Identity, Marc Ramsay

Marc Ramsay is a 24-year old law student from Jamaica. From the Sunday Gleaner February 27, 2011.

At this moment in our history, the issue is not whether we integrate, but how. Thus, our history and the history taught to our children must answer the crucial question of how we came to be one new people..Unless we adopt a new regional identity, and engage in a passionate and concerted drive towards growth and development, our lack of identity will continue to hold us back…

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Law Student Calls for Jamaica’s Egypt Jamaica Gleaner

Text of Marc Ramsay’s Facebook letter and comments On The Ground

New Revelations About the Transatlantic Slave Trade, David Eltis and David Richardson

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In the three and a quarter centuries between 1492 and about 1820, four enslaved Africans left the Old World for every European. During those years, Africans comprised the largest forced oceanic migration in the history of the world. Who were they? Who organised the slaving voyages? Which parts of Africa did they come from? How did they reach the Americas? And where exactly did they go?…A new Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade draws on five decades of research in archives around the north and south Atlantic to provide 189 detailed and sumptuously drawn maps that answer many questions…


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…

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Go to to read responses to “Existential Threats” (thread beginning November 1, 2010)

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Global Crisis: Meltdown, Contagion and Shocks, Clive Thomas

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A series of 51 articles by Dr Clive Thomas, Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Guyana, originally published in the Stabroek News from November 2008 to November 2009. The full titleof the collection, which has just,  been released by Professor Thomas, is Global Crisis: Financial Meltdown, Contagion and Economic Shocks: Impacts and Responses.

Click here for ‘Global Crisis’ (PDF file),  ,  

CARICOM’s Elusive Quest for Economic Integration, Norman Girvan


Chapter 9 in Alleyne, Frank; Denny Lewis-Bynoe and Xiomara Arcibald (Eds.) Growth and Development Strategies in the Caribbean. Barbados: Caribbean Development Bank, 2010; 199-218.

The paper discusses economic integration initiatives from the launch of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1965 to developments in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) up to 2010. It uses a political economy perspective to discuss characteristics, underlying theories, embedded strategies, implementation problems and economic outcomes; and concludes by outlining a possible research agenda.

Click here for paper (PDF File)

Barbadian Argonauts: Advancing Economic Modernization, Jay Mandle

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Jay Mandle is W. Bradford Wiley Professor of Economics at Colgate University, USA

In a lecture last April, Dr. DeLisle Worrell, the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados pointed out that “the standard of living of the typical Barbadian was transformed in the 3 decades after World War II.” He added, significantly, “that improvement has continued.” Certainly the first part of Worrell’s formulation is correct….But the inference that seems to follow from Worrell’s comment, namely that the progress experienced in the past has continued in the present, must be qualified…

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Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development, Mervyn Claxton


Third Distinguished Lecture, The Cropper Foundation; UWI, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; September 1, 2010

Biodiversity, indigenous knowledge, and sustainable development are very closely linked. The indigenous knowledge systems of the peoples of the South constitute the world largest reservoir of knowledge of the diverse species of plant and animal life on earth. For many centuries, their indigenous agricultural systems have utilized practices and techniques which embody, what one scientist has called ‘Principles of Permanence’- ..

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Related items

T&T biodiversity holds key to future Michelle Loubon, Trinidad Guardian

Cropper Foundation launches book Michelle Loubon,Trinidad Guardian

Organic agriculture the way to,   go–expert Julian Neaves, Trinidad Express

Biodiversity critical to small islands–Sankat Michelle Loubon Trinidad Guardian

Dire Economic Prospects for the Caribbean shown by ECLAC report, Norman Girvan


The Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean, published today (21st July) by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, shows a dire situation and prospects for Caribbean countries. The cost of the global financial and economic crisis to the subregion is estimated at a huge 10% of GDP in 2009. 10 of 14 Caribbean countries experienced negative growth in that year, the worst performers being the eight countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), which contracted by 7.3% on average…

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Building the Greater Caribbean, Fabian Badejo

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Keynote Address at the Seminar-Workshop “Dimensions of Caribbean Space–Building the Greater Caribbean: Towards its own Agenda”, Centro Leon, Santiago, The Dominican Republic, 8 -10 July, 2010

I greet you all in the name of ALL our ancestors in this now and here of the Caribbean we all love and call home, if home is where the heart is or wants to belong. I greet you in the name of Rex Nettleford and all the other luminaries who have been called to higher glory but who have left us a legacy of excellent work…

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Tribute to Professor Dennis Pantin, Norman Girvan



It is with great sadness, and a sense of tremendous loss, that the Caribbean economics fraternity has learnt of the passing of Professor Dennis Pantin, former chair of the Economics Department and Coordinator of the Sustainable Economic Development Unit at the UWI, St Augustine…

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Dennis Pantin posthumously awarded Humming Bird Medal (Gold)

‘A Caribbean Hero’–Civil Society Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago

SEDU Condolences Book

Professor Dennis Pantin has died UWI News Release

‘A tremendous loss’ Trinidad Express

A great loss Jamaica Observer

Economist Pantin dies at 61 Trinidad Guardian

Tribute to Professor Dennis Pantin BBC Caribbean

‘He served T&T with passion Finance Minister Winston Dookeran

Dennis Pantin: A Life Lived Well Emancipation Support Committee

Pantin believed in Caribbean economic model Dr Ralph Henry

Pantin laid to rest Trinidad Express

Dennis was a man of integrity – Fr Harvey, Trinidad Guardian (Michelle Loubon), July 21, 2010,

ESC remembers Dennis Pantin, Newsday, July 19, 2010,,124281.html

Passing on the dream, Trinidad Express (Michael Harris), July 19, 2010,

Dennis Pantin: A life well lived, Trinidad Express, July 18, 2010,

Pantin made massive contribution, Trinidad Express, July 18, 2010,

CARICOM Secretary-General mourns the passing of Prof. Pantin, CARICOM Secretariat website, July 16, 2010,,

Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago website, July 17, 2010,,

Guyana Chronicle, July 18, 2010,,

Stabroek News Guyana, July 19, 2010,

Birthday funeral for Dennis Pantin, Trinidad Guardian (Michelle Loubon), July 16, 2010,

He served T&T with passion, Trinidad Express, July 16, 2010,

A major loss for our nation, Trinidad Express, July 15, 2010,

A tremendous loss, Trinidad Express (Curtis Rampersad), July 14, 2010,,

Stabroek News Guyana, July 15, 2010,

Caribbean mourns loss of Professor Dennis Pantin, Prensa Latina, July 14, 2010,

Tribute to Professor Dennis Pantin, BBC Caribbean website (Norman Girvan), July 14, 2010,, Trinidad and Tobago News, July 14, 2010, Antigua Observer, July14, 2010,,, Jamaica Observer, July 15, 2010,, The Gleaner Jamaica, July 16, 2010,

Dennis Pantin, Professor of Economics at the UWI, has died, Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago website, July 14, 2010,,

Caribbean Daily News, July 14, 2010,

The Story of Plantation Economy, Kari Polanyi Levitt

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Or why every school child in the English speaking Caribbean should be taken to see the Citadel in Cap Haitien

Response on the occasion of a book launch of Essays on the Theory of Plantation Economy: A Historical and Institutional Approach to Caribbean Economic Development, by Lloyd Best and Kari Polanyi Levitt.

It is exceptional for a book to take 45 years from its conception in 1964 to its publication in 2009. Plantation economy was conceived in the university flats on St John’s Road in St Augustine, over a long weekend of brainstorming between myself, Lloyd, and Alistair McIntyre, who came by as often as his duties in the university permitted...

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Theory of Plantation Economy Celebrated, Bryan Khan

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Essays on the Theory of Platation Economy, by Lloyd Best and Kari Polanyi Levitt, (University of the West Indies Press, 2009) was recently launched at an event on the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. Present among the large gathering was co-author Kari Polanyi Levitt, Emerita Professor of Economics at McGill Universty, who recently received an Honorary Doctorate from the U.W.I. Reproduced here are the remarks by Bryan Khan, a recent economics graduate of the U.W.I., St Augustine.

On February 25th 2010, the University of the West Indies celebrated the launch of the much anticipated – Essays On The Theory of Plantation Economy – by Lloyd Best and Kari Levitt. This publication, some four decades in the making, marks a distinct moment in the timeline of Caribbean academia..

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Small States in Stormy Weather, by Owen Arthur

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Presentation at Rotary World Understanding Day Dinner, Guyana, February 27, 2009

The response of the Caribbean to the enormous challenge with which it is confronted as a result of the dangerous instability in the global economy will very much determine whether that outcome becomes the region’s destiny…


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