EDITORIAL: What Caricom leaders should have said at the UN

EDITORIAL: What Caricom leaders should have said at the UN
External Minister Alva Baptiste.
External Minister Alva Baptiste called for a post-2015 agenda that addresses issues of concern to SIDS, in his address to the UN recently.

The persistent sucking sound of beneficiary dependents who appear to have no intention of being weaned, and who don’t seem to want to grow up and assume responsibility for themselves, could be heard at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

That, unfortunately, appears to be the mindset and policy of most Caricom states whose leaders used the occasion of the General Assembly, which provides an audience of global political leadership, to continue to ask for aid or to be reclassified among the world’s poor countries.

It’s embarrassing, to say the least. For our leaders’ whining is tantamount to an adult saying I cannot make it in life, please treat me as a child.

Donor nations are no doubt fatigued and, in some cases, their foreign aid spend is being increasingly questioned by their citizens who point to great need in their own countries.

Take the case of England, for example, which has been making cuts in essential services, such as health and security as it grapples with a huge debt of approximately £1 trillion. More and more, the British Government’s commitment to foreign aid is being questioned by Britons. And who can blame them for asking?

As we have argued in this space before, Caricom nations would do themselves a favour by organising their affairs in a manner that would avoid them having to seek financial assistance from developed countries.

Being able to stand our own feet brings us respect and avoids insults of the type levelled at Africa by United Kingdom Independent Party member Mr Godfrey Bloom in July this year.

Mr Bloom, readers will recall, attacked England’s commitment to foreign aid by complaining about money sent to “bongo bongo land”.

We would have been pleased had the Caricom leadership used the UN General Assembly to say some of the following. First, Caricom is small, but it has set an example to the world in democracy and, in spite of challenges, we have achieved middle-income status with high levels of health and education.

Second, we support the UN and the rule of international law as it protects small states like ours. Third, we actively join the international community in the fight against transnational crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and climate change.

Fourth, we will contribute to helping those less fortunate than ourselves by offering technical assistance in tourism management, sports training, health care and education. We are willing to provide teachers, doctors and other experts to help the poor, and in humanitarian situations.

Instead of engaging in cap-in-hand diplomacy at the UN, we should really ask nothing but to play our part in making the world better.

This article appeared in the Jamaica Observer newspaper.


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  1. I agree with Rita to a point. We need to stop begging! Begging keeps us in a state of dependency and slavery (my opinion). But, how do Caricom make an impact when countries like: Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, etc make it difficult to unite? Take this as an example. If I, as a Lucian, visit Trinidad, Barbados, or Jamaica, we are hassled with all kinds of questions. My question is, "WHAT THE HELL IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CARICOM PASSPORT"?

    We (the small island people) want this unity . . . check out OECS!


  2. Well said Rita. They all pretend to know what they're talking about but once they're up against big people they come up short. Who is Alva? [insert politician] What has he done in life of any merit? Has he started a business or done anything successful?


  3. People who are willfully unaware of their history are doomed to be victims to the errors of their forefathers!!


  4. Yea, when at home they pretend as if they are big shots, but once out side of our region, they are like beggars who can't seem to stop asking for help.

    The world is tired of our begging. They are tired of our BS. Unless we get a life our pleas will fall on deaf ears.


  5. Well said. But the writer fails to mention the fact that we are but small vulnerable economies, and the first step to standing on our 'own two feet' is be holding hands. Time for CARICOM to be serious about CARICOM!


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