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.
A week or so ago, six tourism ministers visited London as a part of a group co-ordinated by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).There they met with ministers, politicians and their industry counterparts.
What future for Caricom? Recent developments in the form of concern about Trini-dad’s commitment to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the appointment of a new Secretary General suggest that the coming months may well determine its future trajectory.
Is it possible to bridge the gulf in the understanding that exists between the Dominican Republic and the English speaking Caribbean?
– but little forward movement by private sector It is unlikely that you have ever heard of Christofer Fjellner from Finland or Peter Sratsny from Slovakia.
Britain has a new foreign policy. Its coalition government has begun to enunciate a more pragmatic approach that recognises the ways in which the world has changed, political and economic relationships overlap and new centres of power are emerging.
By David Jessop The Doha Round at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is deadlocked.
Tourism employs directly and indirectly one in every nine persons in the Caribbean and is the largest employer after the public sector.
As the region prepares for the thirty-first meeting of heads of government, it is clear that despite sporadic rhetoric to the contrary, pan-Caribbean integration is stagnating and that weak or no economic growth threatens what little unity is left.
In the Gulf of Mexico, oil continues to haemorrhage from a deep sea well nearly a mile beneath the ocean and about forty miles off the US coast.
Just over a year ago I wrote about the enemy within: the criminal Dons and their like who, across the Caribbean, are trying to create states within states.
On May 27 President Obama sent a new US national security strategy to Congress.
Within days of Britain’s new coalition government taking office it announced that it would replace its controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD) with a per plane tax or duty (PPD).
Nothing illustrates better the contradictions between economic globalisation and the relative powerlessness of states than the struggle under way to stave off the collapse of the euro and economic instability.
Caribbean governments will have to balance economic need against the risk When the oil rig the Deepwater Horizon sank in flames on April 20 few could have imagined that three weeks later the well would continue to spew crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and threaten the coastal economies of the southern United States and their reputations as holiday destinations.
In recent weeks my friend and colleague, Sir Ronald Sanders, has written more than once about what he and others regard as the failure so far of Caribbean politicians to defend strenuously the economic interests of industries like rum, sugar and bananas in the face of European offers of trade liberalisation to Andean and Central American nations.
Over the last decade or so, starting with rum in 1997, the Caribbean has seen its special trade arrangements with Europe eroded as the EU has sought something close to trade reciprocity with the ACP for either mercantile, philosophical or legal reasons.
Before last December’s climate change conference in Copenhagen, global public opinion was clearly supportive of an internationally agreed initiative to address the man-made aspects of global warming; now it is more divided.
On or around May 6, the United Kingdom will have a general election.
The View From Europe This month, senior Caribbean officials will meet in Jamaica with their European counterparts to consider the nature of the future Cariforum-European Union (EU) relationship.
In Madrid on May 18 the Spanish Government as President of the European Union will host the sixth summit of Heads of Government of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean.
No one should be in any doubt about the critical importance of Venezuela’s PetroCaribe programme.
Remember the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in Barbados in October 2008? Despite the huge regional controversy that ensued after it was agreed, it is now almost impossible to find anything in the public domain about its present status, despite the fact that some of the deadlines for implementation have already passed.
Is the Doha Round dead? That is a question that few want to ask or answer, not least because of what it implies about changing global relationships.
It is hard to comprehend the scale of the suffering that the people of Haiti have had to endure since January 12.
To almost no one’s surprise the United Nations two-week long Climate Change Conference held in December in Copenhagen ended without any binding agreement being reached on how to regulate global carbon emissions.