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AS I SEE THINGS: Recognising the need for change

Brian Francis

AS I SEE THINGS: Recognising the need for change

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Given the negative effects of the recent global financial and economic crisis on Caribbean countries, it was felt in many quarters that our small, open economies could not continue as if it was business as usual. Instead, the approach to the management of our economies had to be reconfigured, with governments leading the way and with strong support by other key stakeholders.
This new paradigm meant that our leaders could no longer sit back and wait for a recovery in the global economy. Rather, they had to come up with creative ideas for transforming our economic landscapes and more important could not be too bothered with failure.
In other words, our leaders had to take the bull by the horns and create an environment in which it was certainly better to try and fail as opposed to fail to try.
Indeed, this is exactly the kind of spirit I am now seeing developing in many of our Caribbean countries. What is particularly interesting is that our leaders seem to be recognising now that our economic environment alone will not allow us to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of our people.
Rather, critical issues pertaining to the other aspects of our business environments such as legal concerns and cultural developments must all be taken on-board in our quest to grow and develop our economies in a sustained manner.
And there are many examples to support this case, even though I can only focus on a small sample given space constraints.
Recently, Dominica announced its intention to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as it final appellate court. All of the legal issues to make this a reality are now being put in place.
In a similar light, the Grenadian government now has in its possession a report from its Constitutional Reform Committee that contains among other important recommendations the adoption of the CCJ as the country’s final appellate court.
Clearly, both Dominica and Grenada understand that the CCJ is an institution that was created by our own people to assist in the advancement of regional integration by affording Caribbean people the opportunity to have disputes settled without the involvement of the British Privy Council.
In essence, therefore, our own court will have the final say on what is legally acceptable within our local jurisdictions. And that is something over which we all as proud people of the Caribbean ought to take great pride in celebrating.
In Barbados, Government is moving ahead with plans to develop the cultural industries as a critical part of its strategy for the overall improvement and transformation of the local economy.
This action is certainly a positive development given the need to boost economic activity in the country as well as to enhance exports and foreign exchange earnings.
Even though I have only cited two examples of actions being taken by Caribbean countries to improve their chances of survival in a rather hostile global environment, I am hopeful that the message of change is being received by all.
After all, our countries have suffered for way too long; our economies have been depressed for much longer than we would have anticipated; and the pain and suffering of our people have become deafening. Consequently, the time for change is now.
And our Governments are demonstrating that they are willing to heed that call through concrete action.  The least we can do going forward is to play our part in support of those initiatives that are clearly positive developments for our ailing economies and countries.