Thursday 21 August 2014
A new commentary has been posted. It is entitled: Kamla is right: Joint Caribbean action vital to ensure no health crisis. The commentary supports a call by the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, for a special meeting of Caribbean leaders to co-ordinate a response particularly to the Ebola virus that has ravaged West Africa. The costs for African countries have gone far beyond medical treatment and includes harsh effets on businesses, productivity and tourism. The Caribbean can ill afford the problem. In this context, it is right to act to avert a crisis.
The Ebola virus has ravaged parts of West Africa
The previous commentary is: Scotland's Independence: Should the Commonwealth Caribbean care? It argues that :while Scotland will be a medium-sized state operating on the margins of the big countries, the UK will also be diminished. The extraction of Scotland from the economy of Britain would significantly reduce the UK’s ranking in the world’s largest economies from 6th where it currently stands to 10th – falling behind Brazil, Italy, Russia and India. This would call into question Britain’s pre-eminent position in the UN Security Council, the IMF and World Bank, and even organisations such as the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Caribbean should care about a weak Britain in the world.
Alex Salmond leader of the Scottish Nattional Party
Another commentary is: No Caribbean appetite for a Rum fight. It notes that despite several calls for a robust response from CARICOM governments, inlcuding a challenge at the World Trade Organisation, two multinational rum producing companies located in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are displacing rums manufactured in Caricom countries in the US market based on huge subsidies. CARICOM governments have failed to act together to stop this unfair advantage showing no appetite for a Rum fight even though they will lose jobs and revenue.
The previous commentary is: China casts a long shadow over Japan-CARICOM talks. It argues that considerations of China's role in the Caribbean's development and its current situation of animosity with Japan will affect the discussions between Japan and CARICOM countries although it will not be mentioned officially. In the event, the talks with the Japanese Premier present an opportunity to lay out the challenges CARICOM economies face by the the onerous policies of international institutions in which Japan has a strong voice.
Japanese Prime Minister, the Mexican President and their wives at the start of a five nation tour of Latin America and the Caribbean by the Japnese Premier
Latest Interviews with, and quotes of, Sir Ronald
Thursday 17 July 2014
The Latin American Advisor, based in Washington, through its publication Inter-American Dialogue, posed the following question to Sir Ronald Sanders on Thursday, July 17th 2014.
How Successfully Is Caricom Addressing Caribbean Issues?
Q Outgoing Caribbean Community Chairman Ralph Gonsalves on July 1 opened the 35th annual summit of the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, with calls for unity among the members to address issues affecting the region including climate change, economic and immigration issues, all of which will be addressed inthe group's strategic plan for the next five years. Gonsalves also called for deepening integration and a single market as the keys to regional development. How successful has Caricom been at addressing the region's most pressing issues? What are the biggest challenges facing the Caribbean, and does Caricom's strategic plan propose the right measures?
A. Sir Ronald Sanders, consultant and former Caribbean diplomat:
"Caricom is a collective of its governments. It can only address the region's most pressing issues if all governments are willing to move in unison. The most pressing common issue is unemployment. The second (except for Trinidad and Tobago) is the high cost of energy. Many countries also have high debt, growing fiscal deficits, no access to large sums required for financing infrastructure, including alternative energy projects, or to low-cost borrowing from international financial institutions.
Deepening integration and a single market can contribute greatly to improving the region's current situation and its prospects, especially through production integration by the private sector and collaborative approaches by governments to debt forgiveness and rescheduling and raising money for jointly owned projects.
The strategic plan proposes desirable measures, but the absence of detail of how they are meant to address the most pressing problems, the machinery by which this will be done, and how the measures will be implemented does not permit meaningful analysis or conclusions. The secretariat is strapped for cash as are many of the governments, a few of which are struggling monthly to pay wages, service debt and provide basic goods and services.
It is difficult to see how the plan will be funded unless there is committed financing from external agencies on a predictable basis, but such agencies will want a legally binding plan with legally empowered machinery for implementation and governance. Caricom is not there yet, although an agreed strategic plan is, at least, an important step."
Jamaica Gleaner Quote
Sir Ronald's comments about the relative place of the US and China in Caribbean considerations was quoted by a columnist in the Jamaica Gleaner on Sunday 27 April 2014. See URL below:
A previous interview with Sir Ronald Sanders was conducted by the IPS news service. Along with others Sir Ronald discusses the dangers posed to Caribbean states by sea level rise. Click on URL below: