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.
Spend time in Brussels, or in any other European capital that has a close relationship with the Caribbean, and it soon becomes apparent how fast thinking about policy is changing on a broad range of issues that may affect the region’s long term interests.
Has the time come to give greater consideration to the opportunity presented by what might be described as the space in between: the millions of square miles of ocean and sea bed that lie between the islands and countries of the Caribbean?
Despite clear evidence that visitor arrivals into the Caribbean from Britain continue to decline – down by 9.6 per cent in 2011- the UK Treasury has chosen once again to ignore the representations made by Caribbean Governments about the economic damage caused by Air Passenger Duty (APD).
A few days ago, the United States Trade Representative’s office informed the US Congress that it is planning to negotiate a Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
Venezuela’s late President, Hugo Chávez, was one of those figures about whom almost everyone had an opinion.
Last week, St Lucia’s Prime Minister, Kenny Anthony, issued a warning about Europe’s future relationship with the Caribbean.
There are strong signs that the numbers of visitors from the US and Canada are once again on the increase, and the world’s most advanced developing economies, in-cluding China and Brazil, are returning to previous high levels of growth.
A week or so ago, the Board of the Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association (CHTA) passed unanimously a resolution calling on Caribbean heads of government to convene a summit on tourism.
Over the last year, a number of studies have looked at the adverse effect crime is having on Caribbean development.
Venezuelans must prepare for “complex and difficult days” ahead, according the country’s Vice President, Nicholas Maduro.
‘Education, education, education’, was the expression used by Britain’s former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to describe his three main priorities just before he first took office.
A week ago, before Hurricane Sandy rampaged across the Caribbean, up the US east coast and through New York, a wide variety of opinion polls showed a virtual dead heat in the US presidential race; or at least a result that was too close to call.
One of the most sensitive subjects for the travel industry is the issue of security.
All Caribbean governments are faced with a conundrum: how to stimulate growth at a time when they know they have little option but to cut public expenditure, reduce their indebtedness and introduce tough austerity measures.
Caribbean governments, tourist boards and hoteliers are no strangers to the difficulties of dealing with the cruise lines when it comes to issues that touch their loosely regulated but highly profitable industry.
A few days ago the World Bank issued a report containing a dire warning to developing countries.
In a week’s time Caribbean Market Place, the Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) premier annual business event will take place in Nassau.
Most years Caribbean governments and their counterparts from beyond the region hold policy level encounters at which they discuss matters of common interest.