SWIMMING UPSTREAM – What’s wrong with our politicians?
Too many of our leaders seem allergic to eating humble pie and come over as insular in their thinking. The CARICOM Single Market and Economy is under threat by narrow political ambition. The Caribbean Court of Justice is still not accepted by Trinidad where it is headquartered. St Lucia does not give LIAT the financial support even though it heavily relies on intra-regional trade and tourism. Guyana offers land to extra-regional countries cheaper than it offers it to fellow Caricom members. Where is the visionary leadership within the Caribbean? The new prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, recently made what I considered to be the insular statement that “Trinidad will not be an ATM”.Would you believe that Trinidad’s largest market for its goods has been within the Caricom for years? These Caricom countries seem obligated to acquire Trinidadian goods, despite that cheaper alternatives can be had within Asia.Thus, it’s imperative the new prime minister of Trinidad tread cautiously and think before making such ready statements. Someone should remind Persad-Bissessar that elections are over and words can be misconstrued.Just for the record let me share some info on Trinidad trade. While it exported EC$2.4 billion to CARICOM members in 2004, imports from within CARICOM were EC$247 million in 2004 as taken from the Caricom Secretariat website. Someone should share the aforementioned information with the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad owns half of Barbados, or so the man on the street believes, which redounds to an inflow of cash that strengthens its economy. Trinidad is flush with cash, thanks to its oil wells; but what would happen if oil prices plummet below a viable extraction level.Remember, united we stand, divided we fall! Who among our current crop of leaders are willing to speak up and out about the impotency of current leaders to make decisive and visionary decisions. Each Caricom country has a part to play in the development of its CARICOM neighbour for the greater good of the region. Synergetic relationships are a must if CSME and CARICOM are to work.
Long live the visions of Eugenia Charles, Errol Barrow and Tom Adams. These were true regionalists.
•Kammie Holder, the boy from the village is in amazement at how the people are united but the leaders divided.