In light of recent events that have unfolded between Trinidad and Tobago and the other Caribbean countries after the passing hurricane Tomas of 2010 there are emerging issues which are of great concern for the future of the Caribbean region.
For those who may not be aware, but the Caribbean region has no alternative to integration (CSME) if it desires to be globally competitive. It’s a case of do or die. If we consider that many of the Asian-pacific islands, the European Union, African and many other country groupings around the world are coming together it should server as a wake-up call. The best example mentioned by Professor Norman Girvan (UWI) is Germany, a country whose GDP is larger than the combine GDPs of the Caribbean, who despite recent challenges has continued to push to strengthen integration within the EU. So many times I ask myself why do we figure we can make it on our own.
The statement “Trinidad must benefit” is not an incorrect statement, as the basic premise of diplomacy as we were taught revolves around this fact. And while it is also true that given the current domestic instability due to inflation and industrial action, the government of Trinidad and Tobago can barely find money to support its own internal needs far less to be willing to quickly shuffle money when ever the need arises.
The issue here is the attitude and the lack of consideration when speaking about and reacting to these issues. There is merit in suggesting that the previous administration had position itself as the “God-Father of the region” but at the end of the day we are still brothers and sisters in the Caribbean. Domestic violence in Jamaica affects St Lucia, rising levels of discomfort and frustration in St Vincent and the Grenadines affect Trinidad and Tobago. So in giving aid, in what ever form and in what ever quantity will result in some immediate benefits but will have a greater return in the long term stability of the region.
At this point I bring back the famous words from Eric Williams as he commented on the state of the Caribbean Federation where he says “1 less of 10 is 0.” I am fearful that the attitude and actions of this present administration in Trinidad and Tobago can have the greatest retarding impact on regional Integration, but I am hopeful that the Caribbean population can begin to see beyond their nose of nationalistic and politically blind allegiances and do something about it themselves.