Caribbean loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain

Go Lean Commentary

The chart in the foregoing news article is more than troubling, it is just plain bad.

According to the analysis by the Inter-American Development Bank, the people in the “Caribbean 6” countries, including the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago have wasted money on educating their populations, especially tertiary (college) education.

“Say it aint so…”

Brain Drain 70 percent Chart

Title: IDB: T&T lost more than 70 per cent of tertiary educated from brain drain
T&T has lost more than 70 per cent of its tertiary level educated labour force through emigration to developed countries, according to an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report released Tuesday.

The report looks at events up to 2012.

The T&T labour force, according to statistics from the Central Statistical Office is made up of 635,100 persons as at the first quarter of 2013.

The report entitled, Is there a Caribbean Sclerosis? Stagnating Economic Growth in the Caribbean, said 79 per cent of the labour force in T&T who received tertiary level education up to 2011 migrated to member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“The OECD has been called a think tank, monitoring agency, rich man’s club and un-academic university. Whatever you want to call it, the OECD has a lot of power. Over the years, it has dealt with a range of issues, including raising the standard of living in member countries, contributing to the expansion of world trade and promoting economic stability,” according to Investopedia. The term “OECD countries” is often used loosely in economics as a euphemism for developed countries.

“Euro sclerosis” was a term coined in the 1970s to describe stagnant integration, high unemployment, and slow job creation in Europe relative to the United States, authors of the report explained. Since then, the term has been used more generally to refer to overall economic stagnation, they said.
The Guardian – Trinidad Daily Newspaper (Retrieved 06/19/2014) –

There is a similar concern expressed in the book Go Lean…Caribbean that education in the Caribbean needs to undergo a total re-boot, to be re-evaluated/re-organized, since the region has for far too long “fattened frogs for snakes”. The book further charges that this issue is not just in the CariCom states as the Caribbean 6 group represents, but also in the Dutch, French, and Spanish Caribbean. This problem is a real crisis for the Caribbean.

Alas, the book posits that a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste” and thereafter proposes solutions and mitigations to effectuate change in the Caribbean. The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

The roadmap is for the elevation of Caribbean society. The prime directives of the CU are presented as the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book posits that all of the Caribbean is in crisis with this brain drain problem. This point is stressed early in the book (Page 13) in the following pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence:

xix.   Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xx.   Whereas the results of our decades of migration created a vibrant Diaspora in foreign lands, the Federation must organize interactions with this population into structured markets. Thus allowing foreign consumption of domestic products, services and media, which is a positive trade impact. These economic activities must not be exploited by others’ profiteering but rather harnessed by Federation resources for efficient repatriations.

This blog obviously relates to the now vibrant Caribbean Diaspora, the causes of emigration, and the continuous interaction with the “exile community”. These subjects have previously been covered in these Go Lean blogs, highlighted here in the following samples:

a. Remittances to Caribbean Increased By 3 Percent in 2013
b. Is a Traditional 4-year Degree a Terrible Investment?
c. Zuckerberg’s  $100 Million for Newark’s Schools was a waste
d. Antigua Completes Construction of New National Library
e. Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes
f. CXC and UK publisher hosting CCSLC workshops in Barbados
g. Book Review: ‘Wrong – Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn…’ – Example of Irish Famine leading to Emigration

The foregoing news article focuses on the tertiary emigration rates for Trinidad & Tobago, but the accompanying chart/photo demonstrates that many Caribbean countries have this same problem: 89% in Guyana, 61% in the Bahamas. These numbers validate the crisis.

How did this crisis come about? What are the past/present experiences and what are the future prospects of the Caribbean Diaspora? An examination of this subject is most effective using an analogy of a road journey. A review of the past helps us to better understand the roadmap. The road began at some point in the past and continued up to today. Where will the road end?

The Go Lean book posits that the Caribbean is the greatest address in the world. So why would people want to leave? The book answers by relating “push” and “pull” factors. Push, in that the dire economic conditions in the Caribbean homeland, plus governmental failures in response, caused responsible people to look elsewhere to fulfill their responsibilities and aspirations. On the other hand, pull factors came from the geo-political circumstances in the world. For the Anglophone Caribbean, the pull factors were tied to their British colonial status. At the end of the second World War, British labor markets were devastated and so the invitation went out to the Caribbean colonies to come to England for gainful employment opportunities. The 1948 British Nationality Act gave British citizenship to all people living in Commonwealth countries, and full rights of entry and settlement in Britain. Many West Indians were attracted by these better prospects in what was often referred to as the mother country. The ship MV Empire Windrush brought the first group of 492 immigrants to Tilbury near London on 22 June 1948. The Windrush was en route from Australia to England via the Atlantic, docking in Kingston, Jamaica. An advertisement had appeared in a Jamaican newspaper offering cheap transport on the ship for anybody who wanted to come and work in the UK [a].

Today, a majority of the African-Caribbean population in the UK is of Jamaican origin; other notable representation is from Trinidad & Tobago, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Guyana, and Belize.

Parallel anecdotes exist for American, Dutch and French Caribbean colonies. (In total, there were over 60 million deaths from World War II; with very few losses in the Caribbean).

In the decades that followed European sclerosis, as cited in the foregoing article, the target of Caribbean emigrants shifted to North American destinations,

The Go Lean book posits that the recent global financial crisis has created economic stagnation in the very same countries in which the Caribbean Diaspora sought refuge. These countries are no longer a place of refuge – it is time to repatriate back to the Caribbean. But not back to the same parasite economies of 1948, or 1958, 1978, not even 2008. The Go Lean roadmap calls for a Caribbean re-boot, creating a Single Market of all Caribbean countries despite their European/American legacies; this is the plan for “Step One, Day One”. This approach allows for the optimizations discussed above for the economic, security and governing engines.

The Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the Caribbean re-boot:

Anecdote – Caribbean Single Market & Economy Page 15
Anecdote – Dutch Caribbean: Integration & Secessions Page 16
Anecdote – French Caribbean: Organization & Discord Page 17
Anecdote – Puerto Rico: The Greece of the Caribbean Page 18
Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influences Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choice Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 23
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Strategy – Vision – Single Market & Economy Page 45
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Federal versus   Member-States Page 71
Implementation – Year 1 / Assemble Phase Page 96
Implementation – Year 4 / Repatriate Phase Page 98
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate Page 118
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Student Loans Page 160
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Reduce Crime – Repatriates’ Hate Crime Status Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Retirement Page 221
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Elder-Care Page 225
Appendix – Analysis of Caribbean Diaspora Page 267
Appendix – Analysis of Caribbean Remittances Page 268
Appendix – Analysis of Caribbean Emigration Page 269
Appendix – Alternative Remittance Modes Page 270
Appendix – Interstate Compacts Page 278
Appendix – Jamaica’s International Perception Page 297
Appendix – Nuyorican Movement Page 303
Appendix – Puerto Rican Population in the US Page 304

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the regional re-boot described in the book Go Lean…Caribbean. This big deal for the Caribbean will neutralize the “push and pull” factors that contributed to previous emigration patterns and a vibrant Diaspora. Losing 60, 70 and 80 percent of the college educated population is not a formula for nation-building success.

(One solution is the adoption of e-Learning schemes for residential educational options).

Caribbean Beach #2The Caribbean region features the world’s best address. The world should be beating down the doors to come to the Caribbean, not the Caribbean people beating down doors to get out. Already the best place to play, the region now needs to become better places to live and work. This is possible, if we Go Lean.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – Cited Reference:
a. Retrieved June 21, 2014 from:


Share this post:
, , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *