The future of the Caribbean is in services

The View From Europe Nearly two decades ago, a former Caribbean minister with an unconventional background would try to shock those that he met into recognising that agriculture in the region was dying and that it was the services sector that represented the future.

Venezuela is now the single most important economic actor in the eastern Caribbean

The View From Europe By David Jessop (Executive Director of the Caribbean Council for Europe)In Europe and North America, governments and regulatory authorities are still debating how best to manage the behaviour of  financial institutions that have become so large that should they fail, their operations would pose a systemic risk to the nations in which they are located.

The edge of the economic precipice

The View From Europe In a matter of days, a task force of five Caricom leaders will meet in Jamaica to discuss a regional approach to the global economic and financial crisis.

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The law suit which threatens a nation It must be rare if not unique for a law suit to threaten the viability of a whole nation.

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In the latter part of this year, government leaders from around the world will meet for what the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has described as an “unprecedented” global summit.

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The Caribbean diaspora in the UK flexes its muscles For years now there has been talk about the manner in which the Caribbean might mobilise its sizeable silent army, the diaspora.

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Is growth limitless? From time to time, leaders from the financial services industry are invited by a well known intermediary to brief prime ministers and key ministers from the Caribbean. 

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What has happened to the Doha Round? David Jessop is the Executive Director of the Caribbean Council for Europe What has happened to the Doha Round at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the multilateral trade negotiation that was meant to encourage development through liberalising trade in goods and services?

The enemy within

Across the Caribbean, from Guyana to Belize, once peaceful and well ordered societies have become hosts to narcotics trafficking, money laundering, extortion, gun crime, kidnapping, robbery with violence, and more recently, those who would support acts of international terrorism.

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What will be the impact of normalised US-Cuba relations on the region? What will be the long-term impact of a changed economic relationship between Cuba and the United States on the Caribbean? 

The signs are that food prices are set to soar

The View from Europe It is not easy to obtain accurate and up-to-date statistics on the value of the food that the Caribbean imports, whether to feed its own population or the many visitors who come to the region each year.

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A change in approach at the summit Look closely at the official photograph taken at the start of the Fifth Summit of the Americas and it is hard to miss the symbolism.

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The issue of climate change has been obscured by the global financial crisis For the last week, the world has watched as the leaders of its twenty most powerful nations (the G20) have met to try to agree a co-ordinated response to the global economic crisis.

Meeting with the think tanks

The View from Europe (Executive Director of the Caribbean Council for Europe) Washington is a city of think tanks, each vying to influence policy.

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Enter a new super-power to the regionWhen Jamaica’s Usain Bolt effortlessly won the one hundred metres in the August 2008 Beijing Olympics it became one of the defining moments of an event that cemented China’s global presence in the minds of hundreds of million’s around the world.

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The Caribbean should not expect a dramatically changed relationship with the US In a few weeks time the President of the United States, Barack Obama, will attend the Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

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The Caribbean has to look beyond the pain of the economic crisis and ask what kind of model they wish to have Whatever the outcome, it is clear that the case brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission against Sir Allen Stanford in relation to some US$8B of certificates of deposit sold through Stanford International Bank (SIB), has resulted in a huge reputational blow with far-reaching and long-term consequences for Antigua, the region and its financial services industry.

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The new tourism market is becoming more segmentedAcross the Caribbean, governments and the tourism industry are developing new strategies and initiatives aimed at trying to offset the fall in visitor arrivals that most nations expect from April onwards as a consequence of the global economic crisis.

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In times of financial crisis social cohesion is essential News that the Government and Central Bank of Trinidad have intervened to take control of some of the subsidiary assets of one of the largest of the Caribbean’s transnationals, CL Financial, makes clear the dangers the global financial crisis has for everyone in the Caribbean.

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A little light for the Caribbean in the global gloom As the global financial crisis begins to have an increasingly potent effect on the Caribbean, governments across the region are beginning to take steps to mitigate some of its most immediate effects.

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Change is coming in Cuba In the last week Cuba has hosted receptions around the world to mark the fiftieth anniversary of its socialist revolution.

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In the present crisis national social partnerships have value A few days ago something quite extraordinary happened.

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The year 2009 will be a difficult one for the CaribbeanFor many, for reasons of family, religion and tradition, Christmas is both a moment of reflection and celebration; a time to look back, take stock and to consider what might lie ahead.

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There has to be a focus on survival strategies before the region is overwhelmed David Jessop is the Executive Director of the Caribbean Council for Europe On December 3 the President of the Caribbean Develop-ment Bank (CDB), Dr Compton Bourne, issued a stark warning.

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Europe has created the conditions for the perfect economic storm in the Caribbean On November 24, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister), Alistair Darling, proposed increasing a tax that already impacts negatively the Caribbean and other tourism destinations.

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Cariforum nations should follow Jamaica’s initiative in relation to Cuba On December 8 in Santiago de Cuba, Caribbean heads of government and representatives of a range of regional institutions will gather for the third Cuba-Caricom Summit.

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The Caribbean is heading for a severe economic contraction (Executive Director of the Caribbean Council for Europe) Slowly, ever so slowly the Caribbean is coming to recognise that it is far from immune from the global economic crisis.

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The outlook for tourism is far from brightAs the global economic outlook darkens, the Caribbean tourism industry has begun to look closely at its revenue forecasts and how best to position itself to weather the storm that will affect negatively arrivals from the second quarter of 2009 onwards from all of its main markets.

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The Caribbean and restructuring the global financial system On November 15, the heads of government from the world’s most powerful nations will meet in Washington to discuss how to restructure the global financial system.

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A new US policy towards the Caribbean? By the morning of Wednesday November 5, the world should know who the next President of the United States will be.

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Little government, private sector awareness in the region of recession implications Three weeks ago there was an almost tangible sense of fear in Europe.

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A fundamental philosophical divide has  emerged in the context of the EPA After months of argument and eleventh hour confusion, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Europe and Cariforum was signed in Barbados on October 15.

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EPA presents moment for leadership In times of crisis nations need leadership. Explaining to ordinary citizens the dangers that the global financial meltdown presents or speaking about why the countries of the Caribbean are signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe just as global markets are in crisis, mark out leaders with authority.

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The Caribbean needs to engage in a painful debate on ‘development’ “The euphoria of speculators has spawned the anguish of entire peoples… Only decisive action by governments, especially in countries at the heart of the crisis, will be able to control the disorder that has spread through the world’s financial sector, with perverse impacts on the daily lives of millions of people.

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The institutional arrangements in the EPA are of importance Tucked away towards the end of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will be signed shortly between the Caribbean and Europe is a section that deals with what are known as the institutional arrangements.

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Paying attention to tourism When Caribbean Heads of Government met in Antigua in July they devoted the first business day of their meeting to discussions with representatives from the tourism, hotel and regional airline industries.

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A high stakes gamble What should one make of the fiasco over the date of the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe?

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The collapse of the WTO ministerial leaves the Caribbean in limbo Set in a park with views across Lake Geneva to the snow-capped Alps, the elegant 1920s building that houses the World Trade Organisation is an unlikely, almost surreal setting for the intense multi-dimensional power play over global trade that ended suddenly last Tuesday afternoon (July 28).