Caribbean Political Economy

A hunger strike in a hungry nation, Gabrielle Hosein

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Today marks Day 19 since Trinidadian Wayne Kublalsingh, a 53 year old environmental activist and member of the Highway Re-route Movement in Trinidad and Tobago, went on hunger strike to demand an independent technical review of a portion of a planned highway that will connect San Fernando and Point Fortin in the southwestern part of the island…

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Click here to sign the Petition  of support for Dr Kublalsingh’s campaign

Yet to Fulfill Vision of Williams, Erica Willliams-Connell

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Address delivered by the daughter of Dr Eric Williams at the Trinidad and Tobago 50th Anniversary Independence Gala in Toronto on 25 August 2012, in which she speaks bluntly about the failure to fulfill her father’s vision in race relations, clean government, Caribbean integration and other critical areas.

You’ve heard all about the successes, so allow me to give a broad overview of a few other parameters, which might well be considered the bases of development, for without them, the country might as well be lost. Trinidad and Tobago is both a multiethnic and multi-religious society…

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Guyanese Strategic Culture, Ivelaw Griffith

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This Report (a) offers historical, socio-cultural, economic, and other contours of the Origins of Guyana’s strategic culture, (b) probes the values and beliefs of its Keepers, (c) examines territorial disputes, drugs, and crime as core enduring rivalries and emerging Challenges, and (d) discusses the November 2011 elections and deficits in capabilities as key aspects of Continuity and Change…


Portia’s Inaugural Address

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Jobs, transparency, inclusiveness, respectfulness, full accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice and Jamaica to become a Republic are among the commitments made by Jamaica’s new Prime Minister in her inaugural address on January 5, 2012.

Text of the address

Shaggy performs at Jamaica House for Portia

A Policy Agenda for the New Jamaican Government, Michael Witter

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In this pre-election commentary, Dr Michael Witter of the UWI outlined an agenda of economic policy, social policy and governance policy that a new Jamaican government should address.

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Save Guyana: History summons its leaders to higher purpose, Sir Ronald Sanders

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Good sense should prevail in this very troubled situation and Ramotar should make every effort to talk to the leaders of the two main opposition parties to form a government of national unity. It would be the best thing for Guyana…

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Guns, Drugs and Secrets in Trinidad and Tobago: Channel 4 Documentary

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A Channel 4 (UK) Unreported World Documentary. An earlier headline erroneously attributed this report to the BBC

Trinidad has become the murder capital of the Caribbean. While half a million tourists soak up the carnival atmosphere every year, the government has introduced a state of emergency to try to stop the gang violence that results in a murder on average every 17 hours. ..

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Drugs, Crime, Security and Sovereignty, Ivelaw Griffith

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Thirteenth Annual Eric Williams Memorial Lecture of the School of Public and International Affairs, Florida International University delivered on October 28, 2011. Dr Griffith is Professor of Political Science, Provost and Senior Vice President at York College,The City University of New York.

CONTENTS I. Introduction*/ II. The Drama of Drugs/ III. The Crucible of Crime/ IV. Challenges to Security and Sovereignty/Jamaica’s Dudus Affair/ Trinidad and Tobago’s State of Emergency/ V. The Subtitle, the Questions/ VI. Conclusion. Also statistics on Drugs and Crime in the Caribbean.

Click here for Griffith’s Eric Williams Lecture

Assessment Of The Manatt/Coke Commission Of Enquiry Report, Jamaicans United For Sustainable Development

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After weeks of high profile media attention and commentary in the wider society the report of the Manatt Commission of Enquiry and the extradition request from the United States for Mr. Christopher Coke has been tabled in the Jamaican parliament. It has been greeted with much disapproval and scepticism and has reinforced the view held all along by the majority of the population that nothing was going to come out of it…

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Jamaica: Optimism and the Way Forward, Milton Samuda

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Address by the President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce on February 24, 2011

What we have seen is a significant shift in the relation between people and power. Civil Society, united around common principles of accountability, transparency and integrity, reached across the several ideologies and sociologies which divides them and forged a common purpose and intent – to demand accountable government and set in place for posterity, standards of behaviour in public life…

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Law Students Calls for Jamaica’s Egypt Jamaica Gleaner

‘Our Revolution is Coming’: A young Jamaican speaks out On The Ground

Learning From Our Forefathers, Norman Girvan

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Remarks at the closing of the CARICOM Civil Society Consultation, Port of Spain, February 11, 2011.

You have to organise, nationally and regionally, independently of the CARICOM Secretariat, independently of the EU, independently of the EPA; even as you utilise the opportunities that may be available from these bodies….Most of the significant institutional innovations in our historical experience have not been the result of external initiative or external support…

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FITUN Statement on Wiretapping in Trinidad and Tobago

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The statement by the Honourable Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in the Parliament on Friday last on the illegal wiretapping of phone calls, text messages and emails of citizens by the Strategic Intelligence Agency (SIA), exposed a horrendous attack on the nation’s democracy by Patrick Manning’s PNM government. That the list of citizens who were being spied upon included the President of the Republic, Chief Justice, Acting Commissioner of Police, government Ministers, journalists and sporting and cultural personalities is a clear indication of the slippery slope towards dictatorship along which we were rapidly sliding only to be rescued by the General Elections of May 24th, 2010…

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‘With Friends Like These’…CARICOM and the Haitian Election, Kevin Edmonds and Roger Annis

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Kevin Edmonds, a St Lucian, is a freelance journalist and graduate student at McMaster University’s Globalization Institute in Hamilton, Ontario. Roger Annis is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network,, and resides in Vancouver.

In a troubling abandonment of its moral high ground on matters of Haiti, the organization representing the governments of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, has bought into the flawed national election to take place in Haiti on November 28. CARICOM will join with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union as official observers…

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Interview with President Jean-BertrandAristide, by Nicholas Rossier Canada Haiti-Action Network

Meeting Existential Threats: Call For Proposals

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A call for proposals on meeting the challenges facing Caribbean societies in governance–regional and national; sustainable development, including climate change and natural disasters, food and energy; social well-being; empowering the Diaspora; and people mobilisation for change.

Find out how to participate by clicking on Meeting Existential Threats–Call For Proposals

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Caribbean Crisis and Governance Robert Buddan

Resolving the Crisis of Governance in Caricom: A Contribution, Mervyn Claxton

In this article, Mervyn Claxton develops the suggestion made in the closing paragraphs of his earlier article, A Flawed Thesis: the Inadequacies of Western Liberal Democracy, to the effect that Caricom should develop alternative modes of governance which are better suited to the region’s socio-cultural realities and that, in doing so, we should draw upon our ancestral African and Indian traditions. He argues that although the changes in modes of governance, which may emerge as a result of current or future national initiatives in that direction would necessarily differ from country to country, because of a shared history and a marked similarity in economic circumstances and geopolitical challenges, Caricom countries should be able to develop a regional governance paradigm capable of accommodating differences in national governance paradigms.

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A Flawed Analysis: The Inadequacies of Western Liberal Democracy, Mervyn Claxton


In this commentary on Orlando Patterson’s article Jamaica’s Bloody Democracy, in which the recent violence in Kingston is used to draw a link between democracy and violence, Mervyn Claxton argues that Patterson’s thesis is seriously flawed because, inter alia, it accepts Freedom House’s concept of democracy which is wrongly assumed to be universally valid. The principles and concepts of Western political theory are incapable of explaining the political dynamics in countries of the South, which is the principal reason why institutional forms of western democracy have proven so ineffective in promoting genuinely democratic governance in these countries, including the Caribbean. Different modes of governance are needed, as shown, inter alia, by the,   recent demand by Jamaican civil society groups.

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Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Trinidad and Tobago Construction Industry

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The Report of the Uff Commssion of Enquiry, which, arguably, triggered the resignation of its Chairman and the government’s decision to call General Elections in Trinidad and Tobago over two years before they are constitutionally due, covers the methods of operation of the Urban Development Corporation UDECOTT, its controversial procurement practices, cost over-runs, and other aspects of government-financed multibillion dollar megaprojects.

Click here for the full Report

Jamaica: Danger of State Capture, Transparency International


Transparency International’s controversial report in which it concludes that there is a ‘clear and present danger of state capture’,  in Jamaica, defined as,  “A situation where powerful individuals, institutions, companies or groups within or outside a country use corruption to shape a nation’s policies, legal environment and economy to benefit their own private interests.”

Click here for TI Report

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