Caribbean Political Economy

Jamaica Women’s Coalition Marks First Anniversary, Marcia Forbes

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About 15 organizations representing a broad cross-section of Jamaican society, including NGOs, the government and the private sector participate din a forum marking the first anniversary of the 51% Coalition: Women in Partnership for Development and Empowerment through Equity.  This coalition’s primary thrust is to increase women’s participation in decision-making at the highest levels …

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A Significant Victory, Norman Girvan

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A release from the Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) in Trinidad and Tobago late on December 5, 2012 indicates that agreement has been reached to conduct a full independent review of the proposed Debe to Mon Desir Highway with terms of reference that address their main demands; pending which no work will begin on the contentious highway. Accordingly, Dr Wayne Kublalsingh ended his hunger strike the same evening.  On the face it this constitutes a significant victory, not only for him and the HRM, but more broadly for civil society in Trinidad and Tobago; with wider regional implications…

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A Fire Burning in the Dark Night, Intellectuals and Artists in Defence of Humanity

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After 500 years of resistance and at the time of celebration of Latin America’s bicentennial of Independence, the planet is facing a devastating new offensive by the United States and the powerful of the world. The determined struggle of massive popular movements and of revolutionary and progressive governments for democracy, social justice and the right to exercise their identity in North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America; is facing new scenarios of war employing multiple modes covering all aspects of life and physical space…

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Caribbean Regional Integration, Institute of International Relations

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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)

Jamaica’s Budget and IMF Agreement, JUST

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Jamaicans United For Sustainable Development

We commend the efforts of the Minister of Finance in coming to grips with some of the most difficult problems in the economy (but) relentless efforts must be made to root out corruption, non-performance and waste in the society as well as crime. Civil society and the Trade Unions have to become fully engaged in the co-management of the economy and see to it that every initiative announced through the Budget is implemented without delay…

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Call to Action on Caribbean Integration, CARICOM Civil Society Network

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This is an urgent message to all true Caribbean integrationists. The present circumstances in which the Caribbean Community of countries exist necessitate that regional integration is no longer an option left to the whims of Caribbean leaders. 2011 marks a year when Caribbean governments can no longer afford to pussyfoot around the concept of regional integration…

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Also go to Caricom Civil Society Network

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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Haiti EPA signing ‘sell-out of population’: National Coalition

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The STOP EPA National Coalition strongly protests the signing of the EPA on December 10th (International Day of Human Rights) by the new Préval / Bellerive government and calls on Haitian parliamentarians to speak out against the EPA and to reject its ratification, which would mean the death of the Haitian economy…

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ACP Civil Society Establishes Information Network, Joyce van Genderen-Naar

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On 10 and 11 December 2009 the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum was held at the ACP House in Brussels. Representatives from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Civil Society came together to discuss how to move forward after many years of silence and inactivity…

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Some Lessons of the Cariforum-EU EPA, Norman Girvan

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From Trade Negotiations Insights • Volume 8 • Number 8 • October 2009.

[Abridged version of,   The Caribbean EPA Affair: Lesons for for the Progressive Movement]

The CARIFORUM-EU EPA, which was initialled in December 2007 and signed in October 2008, precipitated one of the most intense public debates in the recent history of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). At the core of the controversy lay differing views amongst Caribbean elites on development strategy, trade policy, regional integration, and the manner of engaging with globalisation. This paper suggests some ‘lessons learnt’ from the negotiation process itself and from the efforts of civil society to secure review and renegotiation of the initialled text. It employs a political economy approach that considers issues of ideology, power, governance and politics…

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The Caribbean EPA Affair: Lessons for the Progressive Movement

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by Norman Girvan

Abstract: This paper discusses lessons for the regional progressive movement of the 2007-2008 campaign of Caricom civil society to secure public review and government renegotiation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA. To this end it highlights the role of ideology, power, governance and politics. It argues that the EPA institutionalises a relationship of asymmetrical power with the European Union based on the principles of neoliberal globalisation; and that it was secured through the manipulation of ‘divide and conquer’ and ‘carrot and stick’ strategies together with an ideologically driven framework for the negotiations,  that portrayed neoliberal policies as being automatically conducive to development.,  The protest movement succeeded in exposing the agreement to public scrutiny and debate and,  helped to secure insertion of a mandatory review clause in the final agreement. It failed to obtain a complete renegotiation of the EPA:,  the reasons include the absence of a strong regional political base and organisational capability, the amorphous character of Cariforum/Caricom governance; and the,  enormous external and internal pressures exerted on governments to sign what had been negotiated. Three techniques employed in the EPA process are highlighted: ‘technification’ of the negotiation process as an instrument of mystification and political exclusion; ‘sweetification’ of the presumed benefits of the EPA in order to facilitate political acceptance; and ‘treatyfication’ of the outcome of the negotiations in order,  to bind present and future government policies. These techniques may have salience in the politics of trade agreements in other countries and regions. The paper concludes by summarising lessons in the light of the possibility of modifying the EPA in the future and of upcoming negotiations with other trading partners involving issues similar to those that were contentious in the EPA.

Click here for paper (PDF file)

Infusing Development into Caricom/Canada/US FTA, CPDC

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AN INITIAL CIVIL SOCIETY ADVOCACY POSITION ON CARICOM/CANADA/USA FTA

It is imperative that the upcoming negotiations between CARICOM/Canada set a platform for the
creation of a true partnership agreement which will be based on development priorities.

Click here for CPDC Advocacy paper

Africans to Europeans: ‘EPAs will make the crisis worse’ – IPS

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At the beginning of March, political and labour union representatives from six African countries on a visit to five European capitals in March 2009 have told their hosts that ‘in Africa, the economic and financial crisis has already turned into a food crisis, and EPAs will make it worse..’

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Assembly of Caribbean People Declaration on the EPA

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The Economic Partnership Agreement is a Dangerous Neo-Liberal Project and is not in the Interest of the Peoples of the Caribbean. Renegotiate the EPA.

Click here for Assembly of Caribbean People EPA Declaration

CCL Declaration on EPA

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Declaration and Plan of Action by Caribbean Congress of Labour on the Cariforum EPA adopted at the CCL-ILO Round Table held in Barbados, June 23-25, 2008

Calls for a review of the recently initialled CARIFORUM-EU EPA with a view to its renegotiation to (i) Consider limiting its obligations to the requirements of WTOcompatibility,
(ii) Insert Protocols on productive sectors providing legally binding bilateral cooperation measures, (iii),   Insert legally binding development benchmarks designed to measure the socio-economic impacts of the EPA and (iv) provide for a mandatory review within three years of signature of the agreement, with the possibility of renegotiation…

Click here for CCL Declaration

Caribbean Congress of Labour Declaration on Regional Integration and the EPA

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Declaration calling for a four-point renegotiation of the EPA and the establishment of mechanisms to guarantee that the EPA and other trade agreements are supportive of the Tripartite Declaration and Plan of Action for Realizing the Decent Work Agenda in the Caribbean.

Click here for CCL Declaration

Renegotiate the EPA Petition, CPDC

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Petition launched by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) in June 2008 calling for the renegotiation of the Cariforum-EC Economic Partnership Agreement. The Petition was supported by over 400 signatories.

For full Petition click here

Lessons of the EPA, Norman Girvan

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Keynote Address at CPDC/FITUN Caribbean Regional Forum, UWI Campus, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, June 12, 2008 (Revised)

From before the EPAs were initialled a great deal of concern had been expressed that ACP countries were being the agreements being negotiated fell far short of the satisfying the Cotonou mandate to support sustainable development and regional integration. The view commonly expressed was that ACP countries were being, in effect, coerced by the EC into signing agreements to meet an artificially imposed deadline; and that these agreements that had much more to do with the EC’s global trade agenda than with the interests of ACP countries...

Click here for full address



Lessons of the EPA (PPT), Norman Girvan

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Presentation at the CPDC/Oxfam/Christian Aid Consultation on the Cariforum-EC Economic Partnership Agreement, St. Augustine, Trinidad, June 12, 2008

Lessons of the EPA PPT

The EPA and Caribbean Development, Norman Girvan

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Presentation at Civil Society Forum on the EPA held in Kingston, May 1, 2008

Click,  here for PowerPoint Presentation


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