Whither… Caricom?


Today’s the 48th anniversary of the signing of the historic agreement – the Treaty of Chaguaramas – that formed Caricom. Yes…Caricom was “born on the 4th July”, but came into effect on August 1, for obvious reasons. Just in case it isn’t that obvious, August 1 just happens to be “Emancipation Day”  and the effort was to make that more real. It was actually a long time in coming and the result of a long genealogy of “begetting” in the Biblical sense!

Caricom was “begot”  by the heads of CARIFTA – a free-trade body of the Big Four of Jamaica, TT, Guyana, and Barbados and the eight smaller BWI islands. CARIFTA in turn had been spawned after the “British West Indian Federation” of 10 British Territories (British Guiana wasn’t a member) – formed in 1958 – had fallen apart in 1962. Why? For the same reason Caricom hasn’t been able to fulfil its goal of moving from the Free Trade Area that was CARIFTA to becoming a  Single Market and Economy (CSME) – a real “community”.

To wit… that each of the Big Four is afraid of having to carry the others on their backs. We might all be “brothers”, but some are seen as “too heavy”! In 1962,  Jamaica made the first move when they held a referendum that affirmed their leadership’s desire to go solo. That, of course, made Eric Williams – Trinidad’s PM – utter his famous “1 from 10 leaves ZERO!” No, Dear Reader, he wasn’t mathematically challenged – having received a PhD in economics from Oxford! – but was pointing out that with the departure of Jamaica (one), the 10-member Federation was no more (zero). Both Jamaica and TT got independence that year and it was “every territory for itself and the devil take the hindmost”!

So the BWI Federation begat CARIFTA which begat Caricom which was supposed to beget the CSME which has been put on “pause” for a decade! And we arrive to the question posed in the beginning: “Whither Caricom?” Well, if it’s one thing we should’ve learnt by now is such a question can only be answered by the political leaders of the individual territories.

And if history is anything to go by, each of them will be looking to protect their little fiefdoms – even as they remember past slights. Remember Jamaica saying they wouldn’t be advised by Guyana, “a nation of panhandlers?” Or then oil-rich TT telling everyone else they “weren’t an ATM Machine”!

But we must remember it was the Caricom leaders who called out the Sanctimonious Gangster on his blatant rigging attempt. And it was a Caricom institution – the CCJ that has upheld the Rule of Law!

Causing the Sanctimonious Gangster to call for our withdrawal!

…law and order

Whenever the PNC’s out of power, there’s a breakdown of law and order. That this is “causation” and not “correlation” has long been settled. Starting from 1962 into the present (W Berbice), we saw the PNC use whatever  means necessary to seize power. We’d be pretty daft to believe that this go-round, anything’s gonna be different in the law and order business.

Coming out of the politicised ethnic violence in W Berbice – stirred up by Granger and Harmon –  they continue to push the envelope. First, they insisted that the Police arrests for the killings of the Henry cousins were a “fix”. Now they’re upping the ante after the Police arrested four persons – including a brother of Isaiah Henry – for the murder of Haresh Singh.

An alibi for the brother was proffered, but was immediately shot out of the water by incontrovertible evidence shown by the Police. They will not stop here.

They’re “boring” the hull of the ship we’re all sailing in by undermining the criminal law.

…free speech

It shouldn’t surprise us that those who’d destroy our democratic order have resorted to libel and defamation suits calling for damages in the hundreds and even billions of dollars.

That’s designed to gag free speech – the foundation of democracy.