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.
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.