Caribbean Unity? Religion’s Role: False Friend

Go Lean Commentary

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

There is no way to miss this; the dread of “pedophile priests” is in the news … again:

The Pope apologizes for the abuse afflicted on victims by thousands of pedophile priests, just in Pennsylvania, after a Grand Jury handed down indictments for the accused priests and the administrators in the cover-up.
“The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced”. – Pope Francis

– (Source:

This is such a Big Story – see VIDEO in the Appendix below – there is even a request for the Pope to resign. Stay tuned to new developments on this “hot issue”; more and more revelations and upheavals are expected to emerge.

While this issue originated in the US State of Pennsylvania, there are many implications for the Caribbean. This is the same church that sanctioned and authorized the Slave Trade in the first place; (Pope Innocent VIII back in 1491). All of this history – then and now – forces us to ask these questions:

  • What role has the Church had on Caribbean life?
  • Has the Church been a uniting force … for good in the Caribbean?

These are important questions for the Caribbean. This commentary presents the thesis that the Church – the various religion organizations – have been a False Friend for integration, consolidation and collaboration among the Caribbean member-states.

Wait, what?!

The 30 member-states that constitute the political Caribbean have these colonial legacies and predominant religions:

Dutch-speaking – 3 Netherlands Dutch Reform – Protestantism
English-speaking – 18 England – Great Britain – United Kingdom Anglican – Protestantism
French-speaking – 5 France Catholicism
Spanish-speaking – 3 Cuba, Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico Catholicism
American Territories – 2 Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands Protestantism

Notice this list, both the English and Dutch Caribbean feature a “nationalistic” Church as the predominant religion.

It has long been established that just because these member-states are “Christian”, does not make them “Brothers”. Many wars have been fought in Christian lands where nationalism overrode religious affinity – members of the same faith have fought against each other. Even more animosity have existed in contrasting religious sects: i.e. Catholics versus Protestants.

This reality directly contradicts the statures, principles and spirit of the teachings of the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ:

35 By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”+ – John 13:35 NWT

This is the assertion (Page 20) of the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean that the Greater Good should be the community ethos – underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices – that is promoted in the region; that it can be pursued despite any religiosity. This book defines this Greater Good community ethos as follows:

“It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong”. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

This is the “why”; now the “how”.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), an intergovernmental entity to empower all 30 Caribbean member-states – both Catholic and Protestants territories. This would constitute a new regime for the region; one that is apolitical and religiously-neutral. We must not favor one religion over another. Rather, we must insist on a clear “Separation of Church and State”, because we have so many different churches in so many States. As related in the foregoing: the Churches will not be a model of behavior and character development. Our ideals must be Greater.

A “Separation of Church and State” mantra is embedded in the implied Social Contract. The Go Lean book defines (Page 170) the Social Contract as follows:

“Citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights”.

Some Caribbean countries rely on Churches to deliver specific social services: education, welfare, disaster recovery, etc. But under the Go Lean roadmap, religious institutions will be recognized, respected and defined as Non-Government Organizations (NGO), nothing more … nothing less. Caribbean integration – all the language groups in all 30 member-states operating as one Single Market – is the priority and this priority would facilitate a more efficient delivery of the Social Contract.

The purpose of this commentary is to lament the inadequacies in the Caribbean region, due to our lack of unity or disunity. This completes this series of commentaries on the absurdity of the premise that “there is some Caribbean unity” – what a joke! This submission is 4 of 4 from the Go Lean movement. The consistent theme from the full series is that the full Caribbean – all 30 member-states – have never been able to convene, collude, consolidate, collaborate and confederate. As a result our community have never thrived; and now only barely survive; we are flirting with Failed-State status.

What a joke our disposition has become. This has been declared in all the commentaries in this series, cataloged as follows:

  1. Caribbean Unity? – Tourism Missteps
  2. Caribbean Unity? – Ross University Saga
  3. Caribbean Unity? – No Freedom of Movement in/out of French Antilles
  4. Caribbean Unity? – Religion’s Role: False Friend

All of these commentaries relate to “how” the stewards for a new Caribbean can finally foster unity in this region. There had been previous attempts at regional integration, all with the same language/heritage grouping. Now, there is the need to recognize the deterrents to regional unity – religious and national alignment – and finally make progress.

God is Good!

The Church? Not so much! The Church must not be a priority! They have been False Friends to the Caribbean. This commentary is not advocating for a God-less society, just a religiously neutral one.

Today, there is the Caribbean Community or CariCom; it is not enough. It includes all the English-speaking territories, plus Haiti and Suriname. But that is only 20 member-states – in a Full or “Associated Member” status. “We” need universal participation for all neighbors in the neighborhood. This means you:

  • Cuba
  • French Caribbean
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico (Currently Observer status only)
  • Dominican Republic (Currently Observer status only)
  • Dutch Caribbean (Currently Observer status only)

These countries must be welcomed into the full brotherhood of an integrated Caribbean, despite any differences in religious affinity. That separation is very important; there are so many other issues at stake; think: economics, security (justice) and governance. The Go Lean/CU roadmap stresses the strategies, tactics and implementations to impact these societal engines. In fact, these statements are identified as the prime directives for the roadmap:

  • Optimize the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establish a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines, plus ensure public safety and justice institutions.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies, plus even oversight for NGO’s.

These prime directives transcend religions, languages or culture. They are designed to just deliver … on the empowerments that the homeland needs. The approach is to move the Caribbean region to a Single Market. CariCom started this vision, but failed to deliver on it. As related in the first commentary in this series, this new CU regime embraces the spirit of CariCom – the need for integration – but with a stronger foundation, one that includes all the neighbors in the neighborhood.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – opened with the assessment that the challenges belying the Caribbean are Too Big for anyone one member-state alone – there must be regional solutions. Thusly, the book calls for a regional interdependence. This need was pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 13):

vi. Whereas the finite nature of the landmass of our lands limits the populations and markets of commerce, by extending the bonds of brotherhood to our geographic neighbors allows for extended opportunities and better execution of the kinetics of our economies through trade. This regional focus must foster and promote diverse economic stimuli.

viii. Whereas the population size is too small to foster good negotiations for products and commodities from international vendors, the Federation must allow the unification of the region as one purchasing agent, thereby garnering better terms and discounts.

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. …

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

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 transform the Caribbean region into a Single Market with 30 different member-states, all striving for a “better society”. That “better society” is one that pursues the Greater Good. Consider the Chapter excerpts and headlines from this sample on Page 37 entitled:

10 Ways to Impact the Greater Good

1 Lean-in for Caribbean Integration
In addition to economic empowerment, this treaty calls for a collective security pact of the member-states so as to ensure homeland security, law-and-order, and assuage against systemic threats. It is an economic and historical fact that security solutions must accompany economic engines; otherwise any well-intentioned plans will be quickly defeated. As stated in scripture: “the love of money is the root of evil”. The community ethos for the CU therefore is for the greater good, at all costs.
2 Economic & Enforcement Openness
3 Reconciling the Poor/Black Experience
4 Public Relations – Messaging Against “Rats” (Snitches)
5 Focus on Justice
The CU will push a community ethos for justice and the rule of law, not “honor among thieves”. This will be fomented by the CU practice of transparency and accountability (including legislative oversight).  The many CU institutions for justice will be required to publish milestones and accomplishments so as to engender public trust and confidence.
6 Intelligence Gathering versus  Privacy
7 Military Deployments – Embedded Journalists
Since there are security threats for the region there is the need for a military apparatus. But to instill public confidence, the CU defense agencies will allow embedded journalists, even though their publications/broadcasts may be deferred.
8 Military Justice
9 Image Management
10 Foundation [and NGO] Alignment
There are many causes and advocacies that align with philanthropic foundations, NGOs and Not-For-Profits. The CU will liaison with these organizations, give them support and cooperation to pursue the greater good goals for the public.

The Caribbean must foster a better homeland that transcends the False Friends of the Church and other hypocrisies. Religion does have an effect on our culture and society, so we must pay more than the usual attention to their developments. Considering the lessons being learned from the pedophile priest crisis, we must also hold religious organizations – and NGO’s – accountable for their actions and violations of justice norms and requirements.

This Go Lean movement has previously detailed many related issues and advocacies for this kind of Truth and Reconciliation mandate in our region; consider this sample of previous blog-commentaries: International Women’s Day – Protecting Rural Women Making a Pluralistic Democracy – Respecting Diwali ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships’ – Fanatical Theologians Undermine Tourism Waging a Successful War on Orthodoxy Rwanda’s Catholic bishops apologize for genocide Repenting, Forgiving and Reconciling the Past A Lesson in Church History – Royal Charters: Truth & Consequence Muslim Officials condemn abduction of Nigerian girls The Pope as a Turnaround CEO – The Francis Effect

Christianity does not complete the religious landscape for the Caribbean. There are other faiths:

Source: Retrieved August 30, 2018 from:

The Caribbean is unique in that it has forged its own brand of religions:

  • Rastafarianism – The black power movements of the early 1900s helped launch a completely different kind of religion. Based on Christianity and the King James Bible, Rastafarian beliefs also include the worship of Ras (meaning Prince) Tafari of Ethiopia.
  • Creole Religions – The two best-known forms of these Creole religions are Voodoo and Santería. These were most often practiced on French and Spanish islands where Roman Catholicism was the religion of the whites. Other creole faiths/practices include Regla de Palo, Abakuá Secret Society, Espiritismo, Obeah, Myal, and Quimbois. These latter ones, Obeah, Myal, and Quimbois are Afro-Caribbean Creolized forms of witchcraft and healing practices. Ashanti and other linguistically united tribes were brought to the Caribbean as slaves almost exclusively by the British – the French and Spanish thought these Africans to be more likely to rebel. This means that these spiritual practices were performed almost exclusively on British islands, though Quimbois was a popular practice on Martinique and Guadeloupe.

These Afro-Caribbean Creolized forms of religious practices also have disruptive affects on regional unity.

In summary, religion have not been and cannot be the unifying force for the Caribbean; it must be something else.

We present the community ethos of the Greater Good. This is the best way to reform and transform the Caribbean’s societal engines to better allow for our pluralistic realities. This is the quest of the Go Lean roadmap.

All Caribbean stakeholders – church-goers and secularist alike – are urged to lean-in to this roadmap for change … and empowerment. We can make our region a better place to live work and play. 🙂

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

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


Appendix VIDEO – Former Vatican official calls for Pope Francis to resign –

Posted August 28, 2018 – Former Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano claims the pope knew about sexual abuse allegations against American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; Bryan Llenas reports.

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