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A roadmap for the introduction & implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation

There is something wrong in the Caribbean. It is the greatest address in the world for its 4 language groups, but instead of the world “beating a path” to these doors, the people of the Caribbean have “beat down their doors” to get out. For some Caribbean countries, their population has declined or been flat for the last 3 decades. This is only possible if despite new births and the absence of war, people are fleeing. This scenario, human flight, is a constant threat to prosperity for all the Caribbean despite their colonial legacies. Our youth, the next generation, may not be inspired to participate in the future workings of their country; they may measure success only by their exodus from their Caribbean homeland.

42 million residents, 10 million Diaspora, 80 million visitors & an $800 billion economy.

Bigger than initial appearances …

The Caribbean Union Trade Federation organizes the region to empower its economic engines, provide security assurances and prepare/respond to natural disasters.

  • 2.2 million new jobs …
  • … new industries, new services, and new opportunities
  • … counter-response to the challenges of globalization
  • … invitation for the Diaspora to come back home
  • … keep our youth from setting their sights on foreign shores
  • … the world’s best address… finally realized.

The Caribbean Union Trade Federation, a lean, agile champion for Caribbean causes.

Quotation: If there is a load you have to bear, that you can’t carry, I’m right up the road; I’ll share your load, if you just call me. Song: Lean on Me by Bill Withers

Many people love their homelands and yet still begrudgingly leave; this is due mainly to the lack of economic opportunities. The Caribbean has tried, strenuously, over the decades, to diversify their economy away from the mono-industrial trappings of tourism, and yet tourism is still the primary driver of the economy. Prudence dictates that the Caribbean nations expand and optimize their tourism products, but also look for other opportunities for economic expansion. The requisite investment of the resources (time, talent, treasuries) for this goal may be too big for any one Caribbean member-state. Rather, shifting the responsibility to a region-wide, professionally-managed, deputized technocracy will result in greater production and greater accountability. This deputized agency is the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This book advocates that all Caribbean member-states lean in to this plan for confederacy, collaboration and convention.

Why is this plan important?

For those who live, work or play anywhere in the Caribbean, this plan is a very important issue. Change has come to the Caribbean! To benefit from this change, we need to be at the right place at the right time. That place is the “corner” of where opportunity meets preparation. There have been some efforts at regional integration, but only for individual language groups.

The Caribbean Union is the next evolution from the structured economic integration that became the Caribbean Community, but now for all neighbors. CariCom was enacted in 1973 and then revised in 2001 for more integration, branded the Caribbean Single Market & Economy. This effort sputtered. The CU is a new manifestation of this integration attempt; a graduation for CariCom.

The CU should better provide for the region’s basic needs (food, clothing, energy and shelter), and then be in position to help supply the rest of the world. Previous Caribbean societies lived off the land and the sea; but today, the region depends extensively on imports, even acquiring large quantities of seafood, despite the 1,063,000 square miles of the Caribbean Sea. The CU Trade Federation is a technocracy, empowered to reboot the economic engines of the member-states, by fostering new industries (new “purse”) across the entire region and deploying solutions to better exploit the opportunities of the global trade market. Thus generating all new revenues; with no need to re-distribute any existing “purse” among the member-states.

The economy of the Caribbean is inextricably linked to the security of the region. Therefore the CU treaty includes a security pact to implement the mechanisms to ensure greater homeland security. These efforts will monitor and mitigate against economic crimes, systemic threats and also facilitate natural disaster planning and response agencies.

There is an apropos proverb: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Starting here and now, the Caribbean starts its planning for success; to snatch “victory out of the jaws of defeat”. Failure is just too familiar. Already we have member-states (Haiti, Guyana, Cuba and Dominican Republic) on the verge of a Failed-State status, plus most Puerto Ricans have fled their island. These states are not contending with the challenges of modern life: changing weather patterns, ever-pervasive technology, and the “flat world” of globalization. To reverse the fortunes of these failing states, and guide others in the opposite direction to a destination of prosperity, the Caribbean must re-boot the regional economy and systems of commerce.

Though a lot of the options the CU advocates were available to Caribbean member-states in the past, the reasons and rationales as to why they were not pursued is now of no consequence. We cannot ignore the past, as it defines who we are, but we do not wish to be shackled to the past either, for then, we miss the future. So we must learn from the past, our experiences and that of other states in similar situations, mount our feet solidly to the ground and then lean-in, to reach for new heights; forward, upward and onward. This is what is advocated in this book: to Go Lean … Caribbean!

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