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

Civilisation faces ‘perfect storm of ecological and social problems’

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Celebrated scientists and development thinkers have warned that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies. In the face of an “absolutely unprecedented emergency”, say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has “no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation…

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Durban Climate Talks: Disastrous Outcome For Poor People, Christian Aid

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CARICOM nations and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have concluded that an average rise in global temperature of more than 1.5 degrees C will spell disaster for them. But according to this report from Christian Aid,,   ‘By giving themselves until 2015 to agree a new deal which only takes effect in 2020″ (as decided at the Durban talks that ended December 11) , “governments are delaying desperately needed action and condemning us all to dangerous warming of much more than 2 degrees.”

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South Centre Report on Durban Meeting


Wangari Maathai: Reclaiming the Earth, Horace Campbell

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‘The best tribute we can pay to this great woman of Africa is to continue to organise so that we can gain higher levels of spiritual awareness and build the shared values for peace and social justice across the planet,’..

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The Way Forward For The Caribbean As A Region, Robert Stephens

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Let us admit the fact that as individual islands and certainly in the case of Jamaica, if we continue down our current insular path of Governance and Economic Under-Development we will not survive as a sustainable society. Norman Manley and those who proposed a Federation as the path to sustainable development were correct over 50 years ago and the concept seriously needs revisiting. Here are some simple facts…

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To Honour Our Women, Protect Our Vulnerable, and Govern for Everyone, Dilma Rousseff

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The newly inaugurated first female president of Brazil, Latin America’s most populous country and the world’s eight largest economy, has promised in her inaugural speech to eradicate extreme poverty and make the country “one of the most developed and least unequal nations in the world – a country with a solid and entrepreneurial middle class; a vibrant and modern democracy, full of social commitment, political liberty and creativity” (From the Huffington Post).

Text of Rousseff speech

Crusader, Friend, Father, Teacher–John Maxwell Remembered, Alicia Dunkley

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HE spent over five decades fighting unpopular battles, stepping on countless toes in his quest for truth and in defence of right. He was rarely silent, having never met an argument he did not want to have...


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Haitian Community Hails John Maxwell Myrtha Desulme

Energy: The New Agenda, Raymond Wright

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enegy-ray-wright

The global energy situation is reaching a crisis point in terms of sustainability. The depletion of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) will continue unabated considering the increasing rate of energy consumption worldwide. It is expected that global energy demand will nearly double by 2050. The new and long term energy future that we envisage will be powered by alternative energy and cleaner fossil fuels. Billions of dollars must be expended on upgrading electricity transmission networks to handle increased demand and the variable input of renewables such as wind and solar. Much of the capital financing will come from private investment, but Governments will need to continue to implement policies that foster investment by private companies in order to encourage the growth of renewables. The enormity of the challenge also means that Governments should do their part to encourage the societal and technological shift towards new and improved energy systems. As civil society and political leaders face the difficult and varied choices, they should remember that failure to act now could force society into more painful choices in the future. We can no longer afford to ignore the clarion call of the future. Instead we must plan ahead and strive toward energy sustainability and security. Despite the hurdles confronting us, the drive to create a new energy system can only be beneficial to everyone. This new and cleaner energy system will assist in reducing the rapid rise in greenhouse gas emissions that is now accepted as a contributor to global warming. Competition among energy sources will stimulate innovation, keep energy affordable and increase global energy security. That is the mission, and the New Agenda. This book deals with conventional as well as renewable energy sources, sustainable architecture, energy efficiency and climate change mitigation.

The Author
Raymond Wright, a former Group Managing Director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, has experience and expertise in a wide range of energy matters. He is trained as a geologist and is a former Commissioner of Mines and Geology. He has co-edited a major work, Geological Society of America Memoir 182, Biostratigraphy of Jamaica, published in 1993. He has published widely in various international journals and books on many subjects including energy, environment, resource policy, micropaleontology and stratigraphy. He has been a consultant on energy programmes and policy for a number of multilateral and bilateral agencies on most continents. Dr Wright holds a PhD from Stanford University, an MPhil from University College, London and a BSc from Durham University. Dr. Wright has received several awards, including the Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) conferred in 1989 and the Chubb Award for Excellence from the Geological Society of Jamaica in 1993. At the 2002 World Renewable Energy Congress in Cologne, Germany, he was awarded the accolade of Pioneer in Renewables. His most recent awards are the inaugural CARICOM Science Medal for the excellence of his contribution to the earth sciences in the Caribbean, and the Jamaican National Medal for Science and Technology (2008).

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Available at http://www.amazon.com/Energy-Agenda-Raymond-M-Wright/dp/9768217820

Copenhagen: Key Issues Facing Developing Countries, Martin Khor

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Martin Khor is Executive Director of the South Centre. South Centre Climate Policy Brief.

Click here for paper,  (PDF file)

Island States Outraged At Attempts To Undermine Copenhagen Outcome, AOSIS

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6 November, Barcelona – The 43-member Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) today expressed outrage at attempts this week to steamroll the world’s most vulnerable countries into accepting a watered down political agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December, rather than internationally legally binding outcomes…

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Amazon Massacre & The US-Peru FTA, Raul Zibechi

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On June 5, World Environment Day, Amazon Indians were massacred by the government of Alan Garcia in the latest chapter of a long war to take over common lands-a war unleashed by the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Peru and the United States…

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Victory In The Amazon: Defeating the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Pact Laura Carlsen

Port of Spain Declaration: A Critical Analysis, Mervyn Claxton

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An in-depth critique of the Port of Spain Declaration prepared for the Vth Summit of the Americas, for its failure to address fundamental issues in sustainable development from the perspective of the interests of the Global South. Discusses issues of land degradation,,   sustainable agricultural practices, ecology and agroecology, water resource depletion, lessons of the Cuban experience in sustainable growth with equity, developing a culture of sustainability, renewable energy, toxic emissions, nitrous oxide, global warming, deforestatiion, the role of traditional agroecological practices and indigenous knowledge, disaster prevention, food security, intellectual property, biopiracy, cultural heritage, creativity, and the extreme envionmental situation in Haiti. Concludes with,   concrete proposals for an Internet discussion of sustainable development practices and policies,   forr the Caribbean and initiatives that Caricom can take with respect to Haiti and,   at,   the upcoming (2010) conference,   of the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development.

I strongly believe that all public policies, actions, and decisions would benefit greatly from a critical examination and that the more searching the examination, the healthier would be the society concerned and the better the quality of its democracy. I also firmly believe that such criticism is useful and valuable to the extent that it is complemented by suggestions or proposals for alternative policies/actions which are demonstrably or, at least, arguably better than those criticized.

A given public policy or action may be criticized for one or more justifiable reasons but unless that policy or action can be shown to be worse than adopting no policy or undertaking no action at all on the particular matter, and if the person who criticizes it is unable to propose feasible alternatives which are demonstrably/arguably better than the one criticized, he/she should acknowledge the possibility that the policy/action in question might be the least worse option available to the authority and, as such, does not merit outright condemnation. I have always tried to apply that principle to any criticism I make on all issues I examine, whether they concern public policy or not. It is a principle that I applied in this paper, which criticizes quite severely many if not most of the policies and actions advocated in the Port of Spain Declaration of Commitment.

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Canada-Colombia FTA Could be a Lose-Lose Deal, COHA

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Far from being unanimously supported, the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement has been strongly criticized by human and labor rights organizations in Canada and Colombia..

Click here for analysis of Canada-Colombia FTA