In the volume under review, Sir Shridath provides counsel in thirteen essays and speeches covering a range of subjects.. with one central focus: the impact of it all on the deepening of the process of regional integration in the interest of the Caribbean..
Click here for Labouring in the Vineyard
Symphony or Dirge? Vaneisa Baksh Trinidad Express 30 May 2012
10 – 1 = 0? History’s big what- if Lennox Grant Trinidad Express 3 June 2012
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.
An article I recently received from Patricia Khan (How Global Investors Make Money Out of Hunger, by Horand Knaup, Michaela Schiessl and Anne Seith, published by Speigel Online) is an excellent treatment of the effects of financialisation of world food commodity markets on driving up food prices. It marshals evidence from several authortitative sources to show that the recent spikes in food prices have little to do with the reasons one often sees in the media, like population growth, demand fron China and India, biofuels, climate change etc. but rather to the entry of the banks and other financial entities to the futures markets following deregulation in 1999 and relaxation of banks’ equity requirements in 2004.
I was particularly struck by the statistic from FAO that 98% of futures contracts do not lead to actual deliveries, that the bulk of the contracts are sold by the banks etc prior to maturation, and by the UNCTAD finding that futures prices are driving up present prices, rather than vice versa as it ought to be. I am also struck by the emergence of “land grabbing” in resource-rich African countries by investors exporting food to the rich countries, and by the way in which commercial industrial agriculture has several deleterious effects and that the technical consensus is that food security for the world’s hungry should be based on sustainable agricultural practices carried out by small farmers–an issue which has been addressed by several writers on this blog.
While this is probably familiar to many readers, I am concerned as to whether it has percolated into the thinking of our key decision-makers and the general regional public. Earlier this year we were informed that a CARICOM Common Agricultural Policy has been adopted, but there are, several questions that arise:
1. What is the status of the Caricom Common Agricultural Policy? Is it receiving the urgency it deserves from decision-makers? Are stakeholders satisfied that the implementation arrangements and mechanisms will result in its timely and effective implementation?
2. How has the recent (2011) spike in global food commodity prices impacted the cost and availabilty of food in CARICOM countries? How many people in CARICOM have been pushed below the poverty line, or the hunger line (if there is such a concept) by the rise in food prices since the beginning of 2011?
3. What steps have CARICOM governments taken to support internationally the calls for (a) regulation of global commodity markets and (b) a transactions tax, to curb speculation? (see article).
4. What steps have CARICOM governments taken, or are taking, or should be taking, to prevent “land-grabbing” in countries like Guyana and Belize, to ensure that the food needs of the people of the region are the first call on the land resources of the region?
5. What steps have CARICOM governments taken, or are taking, or should be taking, to provide land, credit, R&D and other incentives to small farmers to carry out sustainable agricultural practices for domestic food production in the region?
6. And finally, who is championing these issues in the Caribbean media? Is it getting the attention it deserves and is the regional public sufficiently seized of its importance? Anf if the answer is “no”, what can be done to remedy this situation?
NormanIn recent years, the financial markets have discovered the huge opportunities presented by agricultural commodities. The consequences are devastating, as speculators drive up food prices and plunge millions of people into poverty. But investors care little about the effects of their deals in the real world.
Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy Brief No 2 2011 CARICOM Secretariat
Proposals now on the table suggest the evolution of a kind of hybrid model of economic integration; in which elements of ‘industrial policy’ (selective interventions by means of common policies, functional cooperation and investment) are combined with elements of orthodox ‘open regionalism’ (selective implementation of single economy elements). But if Caricom is to move in this direction, there are at least three hurdles are to be overcome…
WHILE the warplanes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) continue to facilitate the anti-Moammar Gadhafi rebel forces to take full control of Libya, there are increasing reports of racist killings and torture against black Africans accused of being mercenaries of the deposed Libyan president…
Report on a survey, carried out in January 2011,, by a team from the Institute of International Relations (IIR) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) of over 100 regional stakeholders on their opinions on the current state of Caribbean regional integration and their recommended solutions for the problems affecting integration.
Download report (PDF file)
At their retreat in Guyana on May 21 and 22, CARICOM Heads of Government are reported to have concluded that “There is need for discussion and articulation of a Caribbean society”. But the understanding that the Caribbean people are a society has been articulated since the beginning of the 20th Century by trade union leaders, educators, writers, calypsonians and politicians. The discussion on Caribbean integration needs to be taken to another level–a regional assembly of political representatives and representatives of civil society.
If a tiny country like Anguilla is to seek independence, with all the costly requirements that come with such a bold step, it would have been better-off doing so within the framework of CARICOM…But, CARICOM itself does not now offer an enticing prospect.
This paper is a step towards evaluating the claims of ALBA to be a new model of integration that is superior to neoliberal integration schemes. It draws lessons from the experience of three Caribbean countries which at one and the same time are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); participate in an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union and are members of ALBA..
PetroCaribe: Fine Example of Political Collaboration Jamaica Gleaner 27 August 2012
I sincerely regret that I cannot be with you and your family tonight to join with your friends, colleagues and well-wishers in the supremely deserved tributes to your outstanding service of labour in the vineyard of Caribbean regional integration. But you know that I am with you in spirit…
Presented at a Conference on ALBA and the Future of Regional Integration held at London Metropolitan University, January 29, 2011; the presentation explores issues arising out of the simultaneous membership of three Caribbean countries in ALBA, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union; and assesses ALBA’s claims to represent a superior alternative to neoliberal integration schemes that is based on solidarity and cooperation. Issues raised include the compatibility of simultaneous membership in schemes that are so different from one another; whether ALBA represents an alternative to the other two; ideological vs. financial motivation; and ‘asymmterical’ vs. ‘non-reciopocated’ solidarity.
London Metropolitan University Hosts First ALBA-PTA Conference Report on VHeadline.com
Click on link for, Request for Support for a Caribbean Political Union
Webmaster’s note: The news of ‘massive irregularities‘, in the November 28 elections in Haiti, in a study by the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research,, has come as a further embarrasment to the OAS/CARICOM observer mission which, while reporting many such irregularities, nonetheless endorsed the electoral process, Kevin Edmonds, who is St. Lucian, took part in an informal election observation mission with several Haitian grassroots organizations in November, 2010. He is a freelance journalist and graduate student at McMaster University’s Globalization Institute in Hamilton, Ontario.If any nation in the history of humanity has been terrorized by the naked brutality and hypocritical logic of modernity, it has been Haiti… (which) since it’s independence in 1804, Haiti has been the victim of both history and hypocrisy… The recent turmoil surrounding the Haitian elections on November 28th must be seen as an extension of international determination in undermining the Haitian people’s right to self determination…
By far the more potent explanation of our lack of self-esteem, our self doubt and mistrust of, and lack of confidence in, each other is the 300-year colonial experience. And if you want an explanation for the opposition to the abolition of the Privy Council and its replacement by a Caribbean Court, this is it: the feeling that we are not good enough and cannot be depended on to be just and fair and deliver justice in the way that an English court can…