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.
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.
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.