(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley has proposed the live streaming of plenary sessions for future stagings of Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government Regular Meetings.
She said that, too often, leaders make decisions among themselves and leave out the people who are to benefit from the decisions.
“…We recognise that no one is watching us in our words. And I wonder whether that in and of itself does not bring us to the point that, in the same way we speak to our people through this opening ceremony, through a speech that are conversations among ourselves in plenary, not in caucus, ought not now to be the subject of instant streaming broadcast so that our people can understand what we are doing, [and] why we are doing what we are doing,” she pondered.
The Barbados prime minister argued that, often times, politicians speak to trade and regulations and forget the people’s interest.
“Behind closed doors at retreats and in isolation from our advisers and our populace, we have developed noble and lofty ideas and then delegate their execution to the officials below,” she said.
Mottley was speaking at the opening session of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Wednesday night.
Mottley argued that the West Indies Federation and subsequent attempts at Caribbean nationhood failed, in part, “precisely because they followed a top-down approach instead of a people-driven one”.
“Our political leadership must facilitate and shepherd, not control and stifle. What is most needed, I am convinced, is for us to give our people the scope to express their natural inclination of togetherness and inclusion in ways that are productive and beneficial to the region as a whole. They should not have to jump through hoops to make this happen,” she said.
Mottley noted that what is also needed is for Caribbean leaders to foster the genuine buy-in of people at all levels in the region, especially young people.
“To do so, we must begin by recognising that in 2018 we now have a constituency of integrationists by intuition and by belief, a generation of educated, worldly wise, confident Caribbean citizens who learn, live and love together, trade, work and play together, share in each other’s joys and cry at each other’s tragedies,” said Mottley.