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.
Ever since President Castro first announced that Cuba was embarking on a far-reaching process of economic change there have been concerns about the implications this may have for the rest of the region.
The UK Treasury’s failure to reform Britain’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) leaves the Caribbean’s relations with the United Kingdom in a difficult place.
With the present Eurozone on the point of collapse, the world’s developed economies on the brink of a second recession, and a slowing in advanced developing economies such as China and Brazil, the prospects for near term growth in the Caribbean appear bleak.
Since 1964 the Caribbean has received European development assistance. This has been provided, largely unconditionally, on both a regional and national basis to every Caribbean nation, including at times, Cuba.
Sugar no longer gets the coverage it once did. In years past when a development occurred that threatened the industry’s viability, there would have been extensive press and radio coverage, political comment, and a subsequent reaction from Europe and its diplomats.
Every year tourism trade fairs take place in locations from Berlin to Hong Kong.
For the last two weeks a large group of mainly young people have been, quite literally, camping out in the precinct of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
On November 29 the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will present his autumn statement to the UK Parliament.
Some time early next year the association agreement reached in May between Central America and Europe will come into force.
On October 6, Juliane Kokott, an Advocate General of the European Court of Justice handed down an opinion in a case that brings aviation, the environment, taxation and sovereignty face to face.
Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, scepticism about climate change appears to be gaining wider global credence.
Two separate developments in the last week, both involving China, demonstrate the fundamental ways in which international relationships are changing.
A decade has passed since the world came face to face with Islamic terrorism.
Aviation and tourism are vital components of the Caribbean economy. They provide employment, foreign exchange and taxes which in turn support schools, hospitals, national security and much more.
Anyone who has read the recent pronouncement by the usually optimistic Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Pascal Lamy, cannot help but conclude that there is no longer the global political will to deliver an all-embracing deal on trade liberalisation.
Trying to conduct a debate through the media on an issue of technical complexity is not wise.
For years, many in the US and Europe have been wishing that Venezuela’s mercurial President, Hugo Chávez, would depart and a more pro-western leader take his place.
Has the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of nations (the ACP) a future beyond 2020, the date that the Cotonou Convention expires?
Across Europe, many governments are in financial difficulty. From Greece to Ireland, Portugal and Spain, public expenditure cuts, austerity and retrenchment coupled with low levels of growth and rising inflation are creating significant political problems.
Ever so slowly the Turks and Caicos Islands are on their way back to having an elected government and a full constitution.
Sometimes it seems as if officials are engaged in a game that involves having those they are most meant to help, guess about their intentions.
In the middle of next month Jamaica will hold its annual diaspora conference.
On April 29, the so called Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organisation all but died.
For much of the last week the world’s media have focussed on the outcome of Cuba’s Sixth Communist Party Congress which took place in Havana from April 16 to 19.
Almost unnoticed, a development has occurred in Africa’s negotiations for their Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with Europe that could result in increased levels of foreign investment in the Caribbean and Overseas Territories.
Could a moment come when the Caribbean’s partners in Europe and North America reconsider the way they relate to the region?
The year 2012 will be an important one for the Carib-bean. It is the year when both Jamai-ca and Trinidad celebrate fifty years of independence and the one in which the Caribbean is expected to demonstrate at the London Olympics its spirit and success.
On March 24, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, made a long awaited announcement about the future of Britain’s controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD), the discriminatory tax that charges those travelling out of the UK more to fly to the Caribbean than to the west coast of the United States.
How well does the Caribbean relate to the European Union? A region that still sees Europe as the source of development assistance, has not fully erased a belief in special arrangements for commodities and is dubious about the value of the Economic Partnership Agreement, there seems little awareness of the ways in which Europe is changing.
A soil and food prices continue to rise and further levies are introduced on travel, could the Caribbean be priced out of the low to middle end of the European tourism market?
Few people in the English speaking Caribbean will know the name of Felipe Vicini, the Executive President of Grupo Vicini, the Dominican Republic conglomerate that is engaged in everything from energy to agriculture.
As this is being written the United Kingdom Government is preparing to launch a national tourism policy.