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.
Mutual incomprehension perhaps best sums up the way in which the anglophone Caribbean and the Dominican Republic presently regard one another.
Part 1 In the last seven months much has been written about Cuba and the reopening of full diplomatic relations with the US.
When Caricom Heads of Government met in Barbados at the start of the month, their proceedings were dominated by a discussion of Venezuela’s unjustified claim to much of Guyana’s coastline and most of its exclusive economic zone, and to the marine jurisdictions of a number of other Caribbean member states.
It is probably true to say that the average person has little idea what international financial institutions like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) do, beyond knowing that they are in some way responsible for having governments impose tough austerity measures and conditions in return for their support.
The maritime security of the Caribbean is an issue not often written about.
In a few weeks’ time President Obama will make a one-day visit to Jamaica.
Part 2 A few days ago, Dong Xiaojun, the Chinese Ambassador in Jamaica, wrote a commentary on the recent meetings held in Beijing between China and the Foreign Ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC); the political grouping that includes all of the nations in the Americas other than the US and Canada, and the dependent territories The Ambassador made clear that for China the meeting on January 8 and 9 was “of milestone significance and profound influence.” It aimed, he wrote, to institutionalise overall co-operation and move the relationship to a higher level.
The announcement in mid-December by President Obama and President Castro that Cuba and the US are moving to normalise relations has resulted in speculation about what this may mean for the Caribbean’s tourism sector.
Two days before Christmas, the Saudi Oil Minister, Ali al-Nami, made a statement that is likely to change geo-politics and the face of the world economy in 2015.
On December 16, something quite extraordinary happened. President Obama and President Castro spoke on the phone for nearly an hour.
On December 8, the fifth Cuba-Caricom summit will take place In Havana. Cuba has made clear that it sees the encounter as opening what it describes as an unique space in the hemisphere at a time when the region is moving towards more fundamental integration within the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
In a few weeks’ time in Lima, Peru, the twentieth session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place.
On the face of it, the collapse in global oil prices would seem to be good news for the Caribbean.
Four weeks ago, this column urged the Caribbean to begin to think the unthinkable.
Hardly anyone now questions the central importance of tourism to the Caribbean, the benefits it brings, or its long-term role in economic development.
As troubling conflicts loom and the world becomes much less secure, it is striking how Latin America and the Caribbean remain a relative zone of peace.
As far as I can determine, few if any of the current group of Carib-bean prime ministers, or opposition leaders keeps a diary recording events and conversations of importance.
On May 7, 2015 Britain will hold a general election. Under the terms of its Fixed Term Parliament Act, this date, which forms a part of the agreement that established the coalition government, may not be varied other than by new legislation.
A little over a week ago, Cari-com Heads of Government met in Antigua.
Two weeks ago the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, made a one-day visit to Havana.
In 2001, one in 10 voters in the United Kingdom were members of an ethnic minority; by 2050 the number will have risen to one in five.
Across the Caribbean concern is being expressed about the implications of civil unrest in Venezuela and what this might mean for the long term future of PetroCaribe, the concessionary agreement which underpins most Caribbean economies through the supply of oil at concessionary prices on deferred terms.
Each year since 1971 the powerful and influential of the world, the global super elite, have met in Davos in Switzerland to discuss the challenges facing the world economy.
The President of the European Commission (EC), José Manuel Barroso, has confirmed that Europe is presently in the process of debating a significant change in its policy towards Cuba.
Two years ago I suggested in this column that few Caribbean governments or companies were taking seriously the threat posed by cyber attack and cyber crime.
In the early part of October governments attending the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly in Montreal reached an outline agreement on a basis on which all civil aviation emissions will be regulated in future.
Thirty years ago this coming week American and Caribbean forces landed in Grenada.
All Caribbean nations have well developed contingency plans in the event of a natural disaster.
Two United Nations specialist agencies, the Inter-national Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) and the international Maritime Organisation (IMO) may this year separately agree a basis on which all carriers by sea and air will limit their carbon emissions, reported in the case of aviation to be contributing around two per cent of global carbon emissions, and for maritime transport to be at over three per cent.
For many economists, journalists and commentators, the Doha development round at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) died a while back, but has yet to be laid to rest.
It is quite possible that in less than ten years from now, raw Caribbean sugar will cease to enter the European market.
Caribbean nations have been relatively slow to recognise that long-term structural changes taking place in tourism require a new and strategic vision for a sector that many industry professionals in the region regard as underperforming.