When it comes to valuing tourism’s economic contribution, most Caribbean governments share publicly only arrival numbers and the country of origin of their visitors.
By any measure, the Caribbean’s infrastructure requirements are substantial. If the region is to be able to increase its competitiveness and give citizens the quality of life they desire, its transformation has become a matter of urgency.
Last month a report appeared indicating just how important one of the Caribbean’s overseas territories has become in facilitating global trade.
There is a pervasive view within and beyond the Caribbean that the regional integration process is foundering, and that its progress is being held back by an absence of political compromise and a failing bureaucracy.
According to speakers at the recently held Chicago Forum on Global Cities, nearly four fifths of future growth is likely to come between now and 2030, from urban centres with over 0.5 million people.
Last month, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) produced a worrying “situational update” on the implications of the accelerating numbers of Venezuelans arriving in Trinidad, Brazil and Colombia.
On June 16, speaking in Miami, President Trump announced measures reversing aspects of his predecessor’s policy of normalising relations with Cuba.
A little over a week ago, the British people went to the polls.
A few days ago, China struck a remarkable deal: it agreed with the state of California to work on projects that will help lower US greenhouse gas emissions.
For the Caribbean, climate change and its mitigation is like no other issue: it is existential.
When the former US President, Barack Obama, announced in late 2014 that he was easing travel restrictions on US citizens wishing to visit Cuba, a frisson ran through the tourist industry in the rest of the region.
A few days ago, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, and the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, agreed to work towards a closer relationship.
In much of the world, young people feel economically marginalised, politically alienated and in a struggle against insecurity and inequity.
Last week, after months of growing street protests, detentions, escalating violence, at least 36 deaths, and shortages of almost all basic necessities, Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro, announced the creation of a constituent assembly with the ability to re-write the country’s constitution.
Around the world, public health care systems are in crisis. From India to Australia, nations in the developing and developed world are struggling to meet the expectations of their local populations.
It is no secret that governments around the world regularly practice their response to security threats.
One of the most common complaints about tourism is that it does not spread the wealth it creates into rural and urban communities.
On March 29, after forty years of membership, the British government formally gave notice that it will leave the European Union (EU) in 2019.
Before the end of this month, Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, will invoke article 50 of the European Treaty, starting a process that will lead to the UK leaving the European Union (EU) in 2019.
A few days ago, an astute observer of the US political scene told me: “Watch what the new administration and Congress does, not what the President tweets.
Unless the sugar industry in Caricom can develop in the coming months a co-ordinated and concerted plan of action, it is quite possible that in a few years’ time there will be little left of an industry which, for evil and good, has played a central role in the making of the Caribbean.
“Tourism is a vital sector to the economies of Member States”. So said Caricom Heads of Government in the communiqué that followed their recent inter-sessional meeting in Georgetown, Guyana.
In the last few weeks, Washington think tanks, financial services analysts in New York and London, and publications from the New York Times to the Petroleum Argus, have all found a reason to express a view on Guyana, the Caribbean nation they now see as set to become one of the Western hemisphere’s major oil producers.
When it comes to Cuba, the world’s media tends to focus on the obvious: the possible outcome of the new US administration’s policy review, the multiple difficulties faced by Cuba’s over-centralised planned economy, or the implications of Fidel Castro’s passing.
In the coming months, it is likely that the way in which governments think about international trade and their fundamental values will evolve rapidly, as the promises and threats that President Trump made on the campaign trail become US policy.
One of the few issues about which the new President of the United States has been consistent, is his approach towards Mexico.
Late last November the Government of Antigua gave notice to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Disputes Settlement Body (DSB) that if the United States did not reach “an appropriate and beneficial settlement” in relation to a legal adjudication made previously in its favour, it would act to recover the revenue it has lost.
Few people understand how great the daily pressures are on a prime minister or a president.
Some time ago I received an email asking me how many five star hotels there are in the Caribbean.
On December 13, the US Congress sent to President Obama The United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016 for signature into law.
At the end of last month, China published a detailed 16-page document, ‘China’s Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean’, which sets out a new approach to relations between the Americas and the world’s second largest economy.
On November 28, the US President-elect, Donald Trump said that “if Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the US as a whole, I will terminate deal”.
Being able to identify the policy changes that will transform the future is normally far from easy.
While most of the world has been focused on the outcome of the US presidential elections, other events of long-term importance to the region have been taking place.
Dispossessed by economic globalisation, faced with growing economic inequality, and wanting change, the people of the United States have elected Donald Trump to be their President.
In a few days’ time, the outcome of the US presidential election will be known.
Just over a week ago Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Visa and many more premium providers of global web services, temporarily went offline.
What does solidarity between nations mean in the early twenty first century? Are the values inferred practical or advisable, in a multipolar world in which self-interest, overlapping relationships and multiple economic and political ideas compete?
After a period of uncertainty, it has been confirmed that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will enter into force on November 4.
How should the anglophone Caribbean respond to Brexit? Should it, based on the expert advice it has received from the Caricom Secretariat and its own trade negotiators, now be actively exploring with the UK an approach that secures an equivalent trade relationship to that which it has with the EU under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)?
A few days ago the US President, Barack Obama, gave what in effect was a farewell address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Part 2 How should we regard the Caribbean’s future? Should it be with pessimism as some commentators suggest, or with optimism?
Over the next ten years it is likely that the ways in which we all think about the Caribbean will change radically.
In the middle of last month Danilo Medina was sworn in as President of the Dominican Republic for a second term.
A few days ago, Karolin Troubetzkoy, the President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), spoke to the media about some of the challenges that she believes now face the tourism sector in the region; the industry that in recent years has become the single largest contributor to Caribbean economic growth.
Last month the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) published a paper ‘Chinese rise in the Caribbean – What does it mean for Caribbean Stakeholders?’ Although, in its conclusions, it said little more than a number of Caribbean commentators have observed previously, it is important for three reasons.
As has been widely reported, Cuba has entered a new period of austerity.
Earlier this month Caricom heads of government met in Georgetown. Among the many issues they considered was Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
If the opinion polls are to be believed, the British electorate may vote by a small majority to leave the European Union (EU) in the country’s June 23 referendum.
There is no shortage of astute advice, or practical thinking about the region’s future.