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.
As each day passes, the internal situation in Venezuela deteriorates. Rumours of military coups and unstoppable violence swirl, street protests escalate, ordinary citizens suffer shortages of medicine, everyday foodstuffs, and almost everything else, while enduring rapidly escalating inflation.
In Havana on April 28, the Dominican Republic and Cuba agreed to explore the possibility of a partial scope trade agreement.
A few days ago the US House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously agreed a draft bi-partisan bill that seeks to have the administration give greater priority to the US-Caribbean relationship.
Last week in Doha, many of the world’s major producers of crude oil tried, but failed to agree to freeze production, in order to stabilise and eventually increase prices.
How well will the Caribbean cope with the ‘disruptive technology’ and ‘disruptive innovation’ that in less than a decade could change structurally, employment, competiveness and consumer thinking in most developed and in many developing nations?
If you read the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post or some of the world’s other heavyweight newspapers, you may have seen in recent months, articles discussing the abolition of currency.
At the last count, something like 619 regional trade agreements had been notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In Europe a far-reaching and multi-faceted policy review is underway that is likely to result in a significant change in European priorities.
Imagine this. You, a partner or family member is working overseas. You have been sending money home to support an aging relative or to make a regular payment on a mortgage.
On December 12 in Paris, France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, brought to a close the UN climate change conference, COP 21.“I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document,” he said, and then seconds later: “Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections.
Over the last few years Venezuela has through its PetroCaribe oil and development facility provided an economic lifeline for most Caribbean Basin economies; extending support in a manner that no other country has been willing to replicate.
Each year the elected leaders of Britain’s overseas territories (OTs) gather from around the world to meet with British ministers in London.
In September a special summit of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York saw 193 nations agree to seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Their objective was to establish a set of principles that up to 2030 will drive the development policy and programmes of governments and national and multilateral institutions everywhere.
In the last few weeks the European Commission (EC) has made available two discussion documents that will change Europe’s future relationship with the Caribbean and Latin America.
A little over a week ago the British parliamentarian, Sir Eric Pickles – a cabinet member until May of this year and a former Chairman of the Conservative Party – told the London Guardian that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was determined to have the BVI and the Cayman Islands adopt public registers of beneficial ownership either “through legislation, guidance or naked pressure”.
In a matter of days the European Commission will launch a communication (policy paper) on the options for post-Cotonou arrangements with the ACP, the grouping that brings together 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific nations.
The Caribbean has just eighteen congressional working days from Sunday September 20 to try to have the US Congress or the District of Colombia address an act naming seventeen Caribbean nations as ‘tax havens’.
A few days ago in London, the Bahamas Prime Minister, Perry Christie, told a meeting organised by Caribbean Export that the region needed a new formula to maximise investment.