Making a ‘Pluralistic Democracy’ – Multilingual Realities

Go Lean Commentary

So, what has happened in our Caribbean region of 42 million people and 5 colonial legacies (American, British, France, Netherlands, Spain) was inevitable:

Multilingual society!

There is no getting around it. If the planners for a new Caribbean want to form a unified, integrated community, they will have to select one of these language options:

  1. Dutch
  2. English
  3. French
  4. Spanish
  5. All of the Above

The answer must be #5. This is because the Caribbean is not a singularity; not in language, ethnicities nor culture.

In fact, the planners, the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean has presented that quest: to first make the Caribbean’s member-states a “Pluralistic Democracy”; and form a Single Market economy.

This “Pluralistic Democracy” would mean a society where the many different ethnic groups (and languages) have consideration, equal rights, equal privileges and equal protections under the law; where there are no superior rights to any majority and no special deprivations to any minority. The expectation of this Pluralism is for any one person to be treated like everyone else. The legal definition of Pluralism as a political philosophy is as follows …

… the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a political body, which permits the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions and lifestyles.[1] While not all political pluralists advocate for a pluralist democracy, this is most common as democracy is often viewed as the most fair and effective way to moderate between the discrete values.[2]Wikipedia

This vision of a Caribbean “Pluralistic Democracy” should be more than words, but action too. The truth of the matter is that while this writer is English-speaking, the majority of the Caribbean’s population is not. Notice the correct Population and Language Distribution summary here and the full details in the Appendix below (based on 2010):

  Population: Dutch English French Spanish
Totals 42,198,874 809,834 6,747,229 9,887,899 24,753,912
Percentage 100.00% 1.92% 15.99% 23.43% 58.66%

The movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean has repeatedly related that there is a need for new stewardship of the Caribbean societal engines (economics, security and governance). Our region – collectively and individually – is in crisis due to our many societal defects and dysfunctions. The book opened with this declaration:

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.

The Go Lean book posits that the best-practice for reforming and transforming our society will come from confederating and collaborating a regional response to our local inadequacies; that the problems in Caribbean society are too dire for any one member-state to assuage on its own; there is the need for a regional technocracy. Further, the book explains that an integrated collective is the only way to contend with the Agents of Change (Page 57) that have dynamically affected the Caribbean eco-systems. These Agents of Change include:

  • Technology
  • Globalization
  • Aging Diaspora
  • Climate Change

The Agent of Change of Globalization implies trade of goods, services and capital with stakeholders in any location around the world. It goes without saying that the natural language of Globalization will be …

… it is what it is!

Here in the Caribbean, we must contend with the above 4 primary languages, plus a number of Creole spin-offs (think: Haitian Creole French and Papiamentu in the Dutch Caribbean). So we are not able to declare any one language standard. And this is OK, as we are ready for this Brave New World! We have spanned the globe and identified the best tools and techniques for managing a multilingual society.

In terms of tools, notice below this innovative technology being introduced in the North American marketplace, this year:

VIDEO 1 – Google Pixel Buds are wireless headphones that translate in real time –

Tech Insider

Published on Oct 4, 2017 – Google Pixel Buds are $160 wireless earbuds introduced during their October Pixel event. Designed to wrap around the back of a user’s neck, the headphones can use Google Assistant to answer questions and translate languages in real-time.


VIDEO 2  – See how Pixel Buds translate languages on the fly –


Published on Oct 5, 2017 – Read the CNET review article here –
CNET’s Lexy Savvides and Sean Hollister try out the real-time translation feature for Google’s new Pixel Buds.

In terms of techniques, since our Caribbean territory is not the first region to contend with a multilingual population – and we will not be the last – we have great role models to consider.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean presents … Canada as such; a great role model that provides lessons-learned for a multilingual society. The Go Lean book – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all 30 member-states – to foster a “Pluralistic Democracy”. The reference to Canada’s role-model continues further:

  • 10 Lessons from Canada’s History (Page 146)
    #3 – Multiple Cultural Legacies and Languages
    Canada is officially bilingual (English/French) & multicultural at the federal level. The need to structure legal frameworks for diversity was a compelling motivation for confederation, (and an example for the CU to model). The[ir] constitution allows for individual provinces to reflect realities of their populations & cultural differences.

VIDEO 3 – O Canada in 11 different languages –

Published on Jul 1, 2017 – Canada’s national anthem sung in 11 different languages


For more than 75 years, CBC News has been the source Canadians turn to, to keep them informed about their communities, their country and their world. Through regional and national programming on multiple platforms, including CBC Television, CBC News Network, CBC Radio,, mobile and on-demand, CBC News and its internationally recognized team of award-winning journalists deliver the breaking stories, the issues, the analyses and the personalities that matter to Canadians.

This vision is very though-provoking for the Caribbean. It asserts that if we want to elevate our societal engines then we must do the heavy-lifting of reforming our value systems or our community ethos – the spirit that informs our beliefs, customs and practices –  to embrace all people in the region – despite the language – into an integrated brotherhood. This is the charter of the CU/Go Lean roadmap; it has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society. There is a lot of consideration in the book for optimizing communications to the masses. Consider the Chapter excerpts and headlines from this sample on Page 186 entitled:

10 Ways to Improve Communications

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) Initiative: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).
2 CU Defense Pact: State Militias & Naval Operations
The collective security agreement of the CU will allow the creation of a Homeland Security Department, to defend the member states against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The size of the CU market will allow it to afford cutting edge equipment, systems and training …
3 Media Industrial Complex

The CU will oversee the radio spectrum used for radio, television and satellite communications. The radio spectrum must be regulated on a regional level, because the islands are so close to each other and foreign states, that there must be coordination of the common resource pool – the spectrum is limited. This FCC-style (USA) oversight will also extend to internet broadband (wireless & wire-line) governance. With the CU’s financial reforms, the emergence of card-based and e-payment systems will allow for the full exploitation of the media business models. Also, the CU, through licensing, can mandate a certain amount of programming of the educational, inspirational and public service variety.

4 4 Simultaneous Languages – SAP-type Channels

The technology used for SAP (Secondary Audio Programming) channels will be deployed extensively to cover all four languages (Dutch, English, French and Spanish) in broadcasts to multi-state markets. Official websites, by the CU administration will be published in the four languages and this practice encouraged for private websites.

5 Public Broadcasting
6 Press Secretary / Public Relations Officers
7 Journalism Industry Certifications
8 Libel and Slander Due Process
9 Internet & Social Media
10 Libraries and Archives

The CU will build and maintain libraries throughout the region, in a hub-and-spoke fashion. The central library, in the CU’s capital seat, will maintain the domain for all the official archives for the governmental administration, and then further provide intranet access to all the satellite library branches. The libraries are also pivotal for e-Learning in the CU.

In order to ensure success for the Caribbean’s future, the region must foster a better landscape for communicating to all people everywhere. (This includes sign-language for the hearing-impaired as well). Imagine hurricane and tsunami warnings, lives could be at stake!

Yes, this Go Lean roadmap considers the heavy-lifting of structuring Caribbean society to be a “Pluralistic Democracy”. This is far better than the unsustainable status quo. “Unsustainable” is an understatement; we have a crisis; we are bleeding our populations front-and-center. Communicating with our citizens in their Mother Tongue does feel more welcoming. There are direct references to jobs as well, with this multilingual advocacy.

The Go Lean book describes (Page 212) the Call/Contact Center industry that can be fostered in the Caribbean. Wherever there are people speaking the same language, local Caribbean Call Centers can be utilized to communicate with these people. The book specifically identifies 12,000 new …

Direct and indirect jobs at physical and virtual call centers

Imagine telemarketing, collections and customer service calls to Dutch-speaking people in Amsterdam … from Aruba. Or calls to French Canadians … from Martinique. This multilingual-based industry helps the people in the Caribbean to prosper where planted.

This – a “Pluralistic Democracy” – is indeed a Brave New World.

  • Welkom – Dutch
  • We welcome it – English
  • Bienvenue – French
  • Bienvenido – Spanish

Now is the time for all stakeholders in the Caribbean – in all language groups – to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap. We can  just be ourselves, speaking our Mother Tongue. This is pivotal for our quest for a “Pluralistic Democracy”; this commentary is the final Part 3 of the 3-part series on this subject. The full collection is as follows:

  1. Making a “Pluralistic Democracy” – Respect for Diwali
  2. Making a “Pluralistic Democracy” – Freedom of Movement
  3. Making a “Pluralistic Democracy” – Multilingual Realities

Yes. this “Pluralistic Democracy” vision is a BIG deal, yet it is conceivable, believable and achievable for making the Caribbean homeland better to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – Caribbean Population and Language Distribution

Member Language Population Dutch English French Spanish
Anguilla English 13,477 13,477
Antigua and Barbuda English 85,632 85,632
Aruba Dutch 106,000 106,000
Bahamas English 342,000 342,000
Barbados English 279,000 279,000
Belize English 320,000 320,000
Bermuda English 67,837 67,837
British Virgin Islands English 24,000 24,000
Cayman Islands English 56,000 56,000
Cuba Spanish 11,236,444 11,236,444
Dominica English 72,660 72,660
Dominican Republic Spanish 9,523,209 9,523,209
Grenada English 110,000 110,000
Guadeloupe French 405,500 405,500
Guyana English 772,298 772,298
Haiti French 9,035,536 9,035,536
Jamaica English 2,825,928 2,825,928
Martinique French 402,000 402,000
Montserrat English 4,488 4,488
Netherlands Antilles
(Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eust, St Maarten)
Dutch 231,834 231,834
Puerto Rico Spanish 3,994,259 3,994,259
Saint Barthélemy French 8,938 8,938
Saint Kitts and Nevis English 42,696 42,696
Saint Lucia English 160,765 160,765
Saint Martin French 35,925 35,925
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines English 120,000 120,000
Suriname Dutch 472,000 472,000
Trinidad and Tobago English 1,305,000 1,305,000
Turks and Caicos Islands English 36,600 36,600
US Virgin Islands English 108,848 108,848
Totals 42,198,874 809,834 6,747,229 9,887,899 24,753,912
Percentage 100.00% 1.92% 15.99% 23.43% 58.66%

 Source: Page 66 of book Go Lean … Caribbean; Published November, 2013.

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