The Caribbean – A People or A Place?

Go Lean Commentary

Is your Caribbean homeland “a People or a Place?

Let’s deliberate…

If you love your homeland and you are a proud citizen, your allegiance should continue even though you no longer live there, right? This is the argument that your Caribbean homeland is a people, not just a place.

But place/terrain is of utmost importance to our culture; think: beaches, mountains (i.e. Pitons in St. Lucia), etc:

Oh, island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest, waters, your shining sand
– “Island in the Sun” – Harry Belafonte –


VIDEO – Song: “Island in the Sun” –

Published on Dec 8, 2008 – 1957 hit song of Harry Belafonte.

Licensed to YouTube by: SME, WMG, Golden Dynamic (on behalf of ToCo Asia Ltd); Abramus Digital, CMRRA, SOLAR Music Rights Management, UBEM, BMG Rights Management, AdRev Publishing, Reservoir Media (Publishing), ASCAP, EMI Music Publishing, União Brasileira de Compositores, ARESA, and 11 Music Rights Societies


Even the name of our region comes from the 1,063,000 square miles of the Caribbean Sea.

Don’t get it twisted! Ours is the best address on the planet. The “place” is paramount to our identity.

This question “A People or A Place?” was asked of many Caribbean people. Here are their responses:

Caribbean Quotations
Is your Caribbean homeland “a People or a Place”?

  • Bahamas – Dr Donald McCartney, Educator: The Bahamas is a place, but its essence is found in the people who inhabit the place. In this regard, The Bahamas is both the place and the people. On the other hand, if the saying, a house is not a home is accepted, then one can conclude that The Bahamas, as place, cannot be construed to be a people. In the final analysis, The Bahamas is both the people and the place.
  • Bahamas – Anonymous – Diaspora – California Resident: In my personal opinion, the Bahamas is a place. Yes, i am a Bahamian, a proud one…It is a place where people with their culture reside, however the Bahamas is not a place that embrace and celebrate many of it’s people. Gays for one, and the poor is another… My allegiance will only go so far. My country does not accept my sexuality, for me that’s a big deal because my sexuality is a part of my life and I should not be discriminated against, in any form on a national level because of it. As a result, if I have an opportunity to seek citizenship elsewhere, of which I am pursuing I will embrace it. Although there are aspects of my background I want to continue throughout my life wherever I go, there are also aspects that I want to be a distant memory or forgotten.
  • Haiti – Louby Georges – Bahamian Resident of Haitian heritage: My personal take is the country should be a people. But for persons of other descendency, this country of the Bahamas has the characteristic that the culture is more of a place than it is the people. This country has it bad; they make it hard for anyone with an apparent foreign ancestry; they treat them like they do not belong, because they are not from this place. So the country has a warp sense that “home” is only for the people with long lineage of this place. So for me, I am forced to accept the realistic view that the Bahamas is a place.
  • Barbados – Florence Cheeks, Diaspora Member Pennsylvania Resident It’s both; it’s a place in that it identifies my spot on this earth, it’s also a people in that it expresses a history and a way of experiencing life. Barbados is my home. Even though I don’t live here, Barbados inhabits my psyche and I am always looking for opportunities to contribute to the continued growth of the nation. Ironically, I am writing this from my sister’s home in Barbados.
  • Jamaica – Pauline James, Diaspora Member Florida Resident: Jamaica is a people. Whenever you go in the world and Jamaicans are there, they are a force to be reckoned with. We do not hide the fact that we are Jamaican. “When we are good we are very good; when we are bad, we are very bad”.
  • Puerto Rico – Anonymous – Legacy – Florida Resident I would say PR is a place. I do have family there and they say Commonwealth and want all the benefits from the USA without wanting to become a State. I do not consider myself Puerto Rican since I do not live there. I consider myself North American. I can only claim that I have family from PR.

This is more than just an academic question. There is an actuality associated with the people of the Caribbean. The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – addresses the reality of the Caribbean Diaspora (Page 26), identifying that when people continue to abandon their communities, the Diaspora pool gets bigger and bigger.

Ways to Impact the Future – Need People Too – Not All About Money, or is it?
The quality of life for the citizenry is very important, otherwise, people leave, and take their time, talents and treasuries elsewhere. Family, cultural pride is more important than economics, and yet when the economics are bad, people leave. This is evident by the large Caribbean Diaspora in foreign lands – where they re-assembled their culture and civic pride.

The Go Lean book laments this status quo but considers the Diaspora as stakeholders in the Caribbean experience, though they are not physically in the homeland. The hope of the Go Lean movement is to reduce the Diaspora and dissuade future societal abandonment. This is pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence  (Pages 13) with these statements:

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.

There are many opportunities to engage the Diaspora population in more and better ways. This quest was also an original motivation for the Go Lean book and for the proposed Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The Declaration of Interdependence continues:

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.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic CU Trade Federation, for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap 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. Dynamics of the Diaspora have been elaborated in previous blog-commentaries; see Appendix A below.

To stop the brain drain and abandonment, we must fix the Caribbean homeland. This is the only way to improve our bad emigration trends, but despite being heavy-lifting, “Yes, we can“…make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

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

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


Appendix A – Previous Go Lean commentaries on the Diaspora: ‘Time to Go’ – States must have ‘population increases’
This is part 11-of-11 of a long series urging the Caribbean Diaspora to consider repatriating. There are solid arguments that the “grass is not greener on the foreign side”. It will take less effort to reform and transform the Caribbean homeland than to make a better life abroad. Art Imitating Life – Was ‘Thanos’ Right?
Its a fallacy to think that if a society suffers from famine and poverty, then by eliminating half of the population that there will be plenty of resources left for the remaining people. The Caribbean situation has proven this again and again. With our Diaspora gone, our population resemble half, yet still we are failing. Truthfully, we need more, not less! Calls for Repatriation Strategy
There are some in Caribbean governance that “see the light”. They know that the region have suffered from acute societal abandonment and there is the need to reverse the trend and urge people to return, to repatriate. Future Focused – College, Caribbean Style
is good and college is bad! if a person emigrates while in college abroad, all the micro and macro benefits from advanced education transfer to the new country. We must therefore try to deliver college-education within the region.






·   Grenada Diaspora – Not the Panacea

·   Dominica Diaspora – Not the Panacea

·   Haiti Diaspora – Not the Panacea

·   Jamaica Diaspora – Not the Panacea

·   Bahamas Diaspora – Not the Panacea

·   St. Lucia Diaspora – Not the Panacea Canada @ 150 – Happy Canada Day
There are many Caribbean people in Canada; it is the Number 3 destination for our Diaspora (behind the US and the UK). Why do they live in Canada and what can we learn from that experience?What can we gather for the Pros and Cons of Canadian life?There are “push and pull” reasons why Caribbean citizens have emigrated to places like Canada. We must lower these factors. The Dynamics of Diaspora Voting
Many in the Diaspora would still like to vote in their abandoned homeland, even though they may no longer be contributing to the society. That is “representation without taxation”. Once people divorce the homeland, it is hard to still try and dictate its governance.


·   ‘Black British’ and ‘Less Than’

·   Caribbean Image: ‘Less Than’? ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ …
This has always been a subject of sharp debate and contrast. Is it better to live “fast & furious”, even though there might be a shorter mortality, or is it better to go slow and last longer, as far away from risky propositions as possible? Shockingly, this is also a Caribbean debate: is it better to emigrate to L.A., New York, Miami, Toronto, London, Paris or any other foreign destination for faster success, or prosper where planted in the Caribbean homeland?
If only we can prosper where planted in the Caribbean. Miami: Dominican’s ‘Home Away from Home’
One-fifth of the population of those with Dominican heritage live in the US. There appears to be no progress in any movement for repatriation to the island, rather there is progress in movement to the South, to Florida. Of the Top 7 US states that the Dominican Diaspora lives in, Florida is the only one in the Sunbelt. The tropical landscapes in Greater Miami is reminiscent of the DR for many people. Stay Home! Immigration Realities in “foreign lands”
This 3-part series relates that many foreign lands, like the US, have societal defects of “Institutional Racism” and “Crony-Capitalism“. These societal defects create a ‘Climate of Hate‘ that causes people to haze and blame-game the “Black-and-Brown” immigrants from the Caribbean. Courting Caribbean Votes – ‘Jamericans’

Caribbean people leaving their homeland is like the “genie leaving the bottle” – there is no returning. Now we see the ‘Jamaican-Americans’ doubling-down on this legacy, even trying to influence US federal elections for more liberal immigration policies to bring more “homies“. This is part 2 of 3 from this series:

·   Part 1 – Courting the Caribbean Votes – Puerto Ricans

·   Part 3 – Courting the Caribbean Votes – Cuban-Americans Miami’s Success versus Caribbean Failure
Greater Miami area has benefited from societal failures in the Caribbean region. Miami has increased in population, economy, culture and prestige while the Caribbean states have limped along. Caribbean loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain
According to the analysis by the Inter-American Development Bank, the people in the “Caribbean 6” countries of Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago have wasted money on educating their populations, especially tertiary education. This is due to the fact that after the citizens leave, very little comes back fro the societal investments.


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