BC’S B’DOS – Caricom comeuppance
AT PAGE 311 of the Hitler biography I was reading, I still had 658 pages to go – and this is the condensed, single-volume, almost 1 000 pages shorter than the two-volume Hitler, 1889-1936, Hubris, and Hitler, 1936-45, Nemesis. At the invasion of Poland (September 1. 1939, nearly 71 years ago), I imagined the trepidation of the people of Germany and Europe at being taken, only 21 years after the end of World War I, and by a single madman, into another continent-wide war. For those who remembered the 1916 Battle Of The Somme – in which almost a million soldiers died in five months of trench warfare over 12 kilometres of ground – Hitler’s 9/01 invasion of Poland must have been that generation’s version of our own 9/11, a pivotal moment from which the horror of the future could be discerned, and from which there could be no turning back. And then I thought about Germany today, still Europe’s dominant nation, but whose example to the Euro Zone and the world is of tolerance and peaceful negotiation, Frau Merkel notwithstanding. In a single anthropological generation between the end of WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germans had progressed positively at a rate as astonishing as the one at which they had descended, under Hitler, into barbarism.And then I put down Hitler and picked up THE NATION, and read an Editorial that, inter alia, sang the praises of outgoing Caricom Secretary General Dr Edwin Carrington and shook my head over the West Indian penchant for believing its own pappyshow.Now I’ve got nothing against Carrington. I can even be envious of his having spent 17 years at the helm of CARICOM, an organisation that has spent 37 years sidestepping its whole purpose. But what has Edwin, or anyone at CARICOM, done to deserve praise? After nearly four decades of CARICOM and two of Edwin, Bajans still hate Guyanese (but then, everyone does), Trinis still sneer at Bajans, Grenadians are the butt of everyone else’s jokes (and people from Guave are the butt of Grenadian jokes), Trinidad is tolerated only as long as it can pay for things, like a bad child-father, and Jamaica has been reduced, in our own Caribbean eyes, to dancehall, drugs and guns. Contrast the toppling of the Berlin Wall with the bureaucratic obstructions deliberately erected to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. Compare Germany, which dragged the world into war twice in one generation, but now leads the most civilised portion of our planet, with our islands, egos out of all proportion to their size, and ask yourself, honestly, what form of recognition do we deserve?We should create a CARICOM award, the Edwin, cousin to Hollywood’s Oscar, a figurine of a happily grinning little man, sweating profusely in a tuxedo, with a collar around his neck chaining him to his organ-grinder, a sensibly-dressed white man above him, calling the tune.
• BC Pires will not be getting that CARICOM Secretariat PRO gig.