Once again things look rosy in the Caribbean. World Cup Cricket is in the air and “All ah we is one family”. What with CARICOM visas, seemingly easy movement of workers and smiles across the waters it all looks good. But don’t forget that here in the Caribbean we have a little thing many among us call a “Ten days mentality’.
While it is extremely admirable that the many, seemingly endless meetings of Heads of Governments, Ministers of this or that, sports groups, financial institutions, inter-island committees, carnival entities, art ensembles and a host of others invariably express satisfaction with the outcomes of those meetings, the more discerning among us are left to wonder if we’re getting a good deal less than the entire ball of wax.
For years we have been told of the enormous benefits that will accrue to us as an entire united Caribbean. For years there have been efforts, all admirable, to unite these minuscule volcanic mountaintops. From the days of Jules Fedon in Grenada to the latest sub-regional grouping there has been no lack of reasons for the wholesomeness, both economic and otherwise, of One Caribbean.
Yet for some odd reason, whenever the thing takes off, it repeatedly runs into snags. Why?
A couple generations ago Federation was touted to be the best thing since sliced bread, but we all know the route that eventually took. The biggest thing after that was CARICOM, and, thankfully, it seems to be staying the course. (Although one wag said” Cari-com, and cari-gone!”.
But there still remain numerous things to be worked out before we can say we are truly united. The questions of one passport, freedom of movement, taxes, leadership, among others, are remaining on the burners for far too long.
Sure, there are logistics to be worked out, hurdles to be overcome. But if the countries of the world that can buy most if not all of us with the small change that slipped down into the creases of their wallets have seen a reason to unite – remember, they started out with G7, then G8 – why can’t we move along at a faster clip?
The Father of Trinidad and Tobago, Eric Williams, postulated that slavery was not abandoned for humanitarian reasons but for economic considerations, and by now the entire planet knows that he was correct. The world spins on an economic pivot, and the sooner our leaders acknowledge that with more than mere lip service, the sooner we will take a more voluble and meaningful place in the business affairs of the globe.
Winning awards for great drinks and nice vacation spots and insightful literature is wonderful in its place, and shows the vast potential which exists. But we now need to kick it up a notch and let a United Caribbean Voice be heard resoundingly around this third stone from the sun.