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.
A decade or more ago it would have been hard to find much that was tangible to write about China and the Caribbean.
Caribbean governments were, they suggested, looking at significantly cutting the regional secretariat’s budget and this would mean the loss of key staff.
On January 25 the BBC World Service announced that as part of a new funding arrangement with the British Government it will be cutting the broadcaster’s budget by 16 per cent or by around US$73 (£46M) per annum.
Although the Caribbean is making headway in arguing its case for a change in the level at which the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) is charged, the issue still has some way to go politically.
Trying to understand what is happening to the billions of dollars donated by private individuals and governments for post earthquake relief in Haiti is far from easy.
Some time this year, Caribbean heads of government will appoint a new Caricom Secretary General.
Will 2011 be the year that the languishing Doha development round finally moves forwards; or will it mark the point at which the members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) quietly accept that negotiating a single global undertaking on trade liberalisation is unlikely in the foreseeable future?
For the last few weeks the virtual organisation Wikileaks has been selectively making available classified US State Department reporting.
Some years ago, I heard the late Michael Manley, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, deliver a speech on the Caribbean’s changing place in the world.
Encouraging the Caribbean private sector to become more dynamic is far from easy.
Who will breathe life into the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe: government, the private sector, regional institutions?
Cuba’s economy is in a bad way. There is a widespread sense of social discontent and a deep concern among many groups in society including some of those who are committed to Cuba’s communist system.
It is not often that the Caribbean can say it is leading global thinking on an issue, but that it what happened this week when the Caribbean Tourism Organi-sation (CTO) released a detailed report on the damaging effect on tourism that the UK government’s controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD) is having.
Once again global food prices are spiralling upwards. On November 2 the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) announced that its global food price index had climbed for the fifth month in a row and had reached its highest level since its index peaked in July 2008.
On Monday, October 25, EU member states will review their common position towards Cuba.
One of the stranger aspects of the Caribbean is the disjunction between the many reports and studies produced by academic or multilateral institutions and the thinking of those intimately involved in the industries concerned.
A week ago a letter was sent from the British Defence Secretary Liam Fox to the British Prime Minister David Cameron.
On October 3, over 100m of Brazil’s 194m people will vote for a successor to that nation’s hugely popular and successful President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.