Toxic Environment – Opposite of ‘Diversity & Inclusion’

Go Lean Commentary

Picture this:

You spend $2,000 per night for accommodations for your Caribbean vacation.
You go to bed, only to be awaken by a fuzzing noise outside. You pull back the curtains and there it is:

  • A burning cross erected outside your window!

How long before you want to leave?
Will you ever return?
Will you tell your friends to come visit or stay away?
Why this persecution?

  • The guest in this scenario is a known Gay Man (LGBT), or …
  • The guest in this scenario is a foreigner from Wuhan, China, or …
  • The guest in this scenario is a Muslim from Dubai, in the Middle East.

This describes the Toxic Environment that we suffer here in the Caribbean. The 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean, serving as a roadmap for the introduction of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), asserts that Caribbean economic, security (Public Safety) and governing stakeholders must work to mitigate and remediate our societal defects.

Despite the mono-industrial landscape of tourism, where we need to be inviting and hospitable to all visitors, many times we have chosen the opposite instead, to be: intolerant and judgmental. We give in, on a daily basis to:

This is not theory or conjecture; these intolerance, condemnations and judgments have happened and are happening … repeatedly.

Opponents of a gay rights bill gather in Guyana in 2003. (AP)

People march during a protest against gay rights in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 26, 2020.
The group marched demanding that President Jovenel Moise
rescind his most recent decree that rewrites the 185-year-old penal code,
addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Dieu Nalio Chery AP


Jamaican Anti-Gay Rally to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, Even Though No One Has Proposed It

A previous Go Lean commentary from April 8, 2017 identified this example of our severe Caribbean Toxicity. Consider this summary:

‘Loose Lips Sink Ships’ – Leaders Undermine Tourism
… there is no war in the Caribbean, but we do have battles. We have trade wars and economic struggles to try and maintain our way of life and to improve it. For so many of our countries, tourism is the primary economic driver – our regional ship – we have to be on guard and aware of any kind of disparaging talk that can undermine the appeal of our destinations.

The United States is suffering the dire consequence of “loose lips sinking ships” right now. The new President – Donald Trump – has made disparaging remarks about certain foreign groups, and then introduced policies that reinforce his disdain for these foreigners.

As a result, more and more foreigners are refusing to come to the US for leisure travel. …

Nobody wants to spend their money in a place where they are not welcomed.

This lesson must be learned in the Caribbean. We have the same threats afoot. Unlike the US, who has the leverage and surety of “richest Single Market economy in the world” to absorb the fall, the Caribbean member-states are mostly Third World and failing.

… Yet, some leaders – Christian pastors in this case – have proclaimed, in a signed petition to this new American President, a heightened level of disdain for certain American tourists. They are protesting the US Human Rights agenda to seek relief for Caribbean populations with affinity for persons ascribing to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-Gender (LGBT) lifestyles.

Rather than love and leisure … in the Caribbean, these community leaders are projecting “a climate of hate”.

A Toxic Environment bears bad fruit. It is not just homophobia that we are inflicted with, as we have hate and intolerance embedded within our Community Ethos – this refers to (as defined in the Go Lean book Page 20):

  1. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued.
  2. the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc.

Look at these additional phobias that have plagued our society, here in the Caribbean. These are the opposite of the pluralistic society that we feature/want. See these examples of anti-Diversity & Inclusion reality:

The problem with having an intolerant society is that our citizens are less inclined to embrace people that are different, even when you need them. This is the situation with China right now. As there is an exhaustion from North American and European investors in Caribbean communities, China has stepped-up and stepped-in with funds and development support.

We, in the Caribbean, badly need all the help.

Yet, our people are so reticent towards Chinese foreigners, despite that we “hung a Welcome Sign” for visitors from around the world. We must face it, we – a majority Black-and-Brown population in most of 30 member-states – are part of the problem, as it appears that we only want to embrace “White Christian” foreigners.

Fears of new virus trigger anti-China sentiment worldwide – February 2, 2020
As fears of a new coronavirus from China spread around the world, many countries are seeing rising anti-Chinese sentiment, calls for a full travel ban on Chinese and even public aversion to those from the epicenter of the outbreak.

The subject of the Sinophone eco-system – China, Chinese people and culture – has been an important subject for Caribbean considerations. We have published previous commentaries that advocated for a healthy relationship with the Sino World; consider the list of previous blog-commentaries here: Happy Chinese New Year – Embracing the Sinophone World After Dorian, Rebuilding Partners: China Versus America European Reckoning – China seeks to de-Americanize World’s economy 10 Things We Want from China and 10 Things We Do Not Want China’s Caribbean Playbook: America’s Script

The actuality of Intolerance is the opposite of the qualities a pluralistic society like the Caribbean needs to develop. We have a new found economic engine that we can now exploit: Global Tourism. Imagine the profits that can be garnered for just being Better Versions of ourselves, “to just live and let live”. While this is just Common Sense, we find that Common Sense is not so common. In fact, just the opposite have occurred; in some societies Islamophobia has been enshrined in Public Policy. See the example from Australia here:

Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy in Australia
… any 28-year-old in Australia has grown up in a period when racism, xenophobia and a hostility to Muslims in particular, were quickly ratcheting up in the country’s public culture.

In the period of the country’s enthusiastic participation in the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims have frequently been treated as public enemies, and hate speech against them has inexorably been normalised.

We must do better in the Caribbean. In fact, Muslims are an integral part of our regional society; they have every right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we honor that, not only can we have peace, but profit too. Imagine catering to the global Muslim community to enjoy our hospitality. (We had asserted the same about the Hindu community). See the Appendix VIDEO below for a glimpse of a previous celebration.

That requires a welcoming attitude of Diversity & Inclusion. Some communities see the need for this work – see here:

Trinidad – Confronting issues in Islam
… Non-Muslims should always be encouraged to exercise tolerance and understanding. But the standard defence of denying the ‘perpetrators as true Muslims’ or stating that ‘this is not Islam’ is no longer convincing. This may be part of the reason for the absence of worldwide outpouring over the massacres in Istanbul, Baghdad and Saudi Arabia as opposed to the response that Paris, Brussels and Orlando received. The backlash has gone beyond hate crimes and prejudice and is now one of apathy and indifference ie, ‘If they want to kill each other, let them go right ahead, as long as they leave the rest of us alone.’ The unfortunate truth is that Muslims, regardless of how friendly or moderate they may appear, are still looked upon with suspicion.

This is what is meant by “Good Community Ethos”, the positive group qualities, that this Go Lean movement encourages our people to foster.

Diversity & Inclusion is not automatic; in fact, it is the opposite; it takes hard work. But if we do the work, we can have benefits; we can remediate and mitigate a Toxic Environment. Diversity & Inclusion can and do work. Look at this opportunity:

How an ancient Islamic holiday became uniquely Caribbean on Trinidad shores
In Trinidad, the 100,000 Muslims who make up 5 percent of the island’s total population, celebrate the day of Ashura, as Hosay – the name derived from “Hussein.”

The first Hosay festival was held in 1854, just over a decade after the first Indian Muslims began to arrive from India to work on the island’s sugar plantations.

But Trinidad at the time was under British colonial rule and large public gatherings were not permitted. In 1884, the British authorities issued a prohibition against Hosay commemorations. Approximately 30,000 people took to the streets, in Mon Repos, in the south, to protest against the ordinance. Shots fired to disperse the crowd killed 22 and injured over 100. The ordinance was later overturned.

The “Hosay Massacre” or “Muharram Massacre,” however, lives in people’s memories.

As we see, Orthodoxy – from religious and cultural heritage – can hurt community harmony; it can discourage people from the libertarian view to “live and let live”. The Muslim World so often was on the receiving side of religious intolerance. But don’t get it twisted, Islam and the Muslim World is not a model for Diversity & Inclusion themselves; we have lots of examples of their intolerance (i.e. Middle East country of Jordan and their LGBT Intolerance).

This commentary is a continuation on the Teaching Series related to Toxic Environments where we addressed the pseudo-phobias – irrational fear or hatred – that have made life unbearable in the homeland. But now we see how this kind of intolerance imperils the economic engines as well. Yes, we’ve “shot ourselves in the foot” … again!

Every month, the movement behind the Go Lean book presents a Teaching Series to address issues germane to Caribbean life and culture. For this month of September 2020, we are looking at the actuality of persecuted minorities in this homeland. The qualities we need in the region is that of Diversity & Inclusion. Instead we get the opposite …

… we get homophobia, xenophobia and islamophobia; which are not real “phobias” (fear) but instead are representative of dislike, disapproval, prejudice, hatred, discrimination and/or hostility.

This means that we are not exactly the “greatest address on the planet”. Nope, our homelands are among the identified Toxic Environments on the planet. This is entry 3-of-6 in this series; this one presents the thesis that “our toxicity have long reaching consequences on the community quest to “live, work and play” here in the region. Our Toxic Environment makes it hard to retain our guests and tourists with encouragements for future and frequent visits. Instead, our Caribbean (tourism) industrial stakeholders must do the heavier lifting to always attract newer-and-newer visitors, rather than the easier job of repeat customers.

Consider here, the full catalog of the series this month:

  1. Toxic Environment: Ready for Football – Washington “Redskins”
  2. Toxic Environment: Homophobia – The problem is the Hate, not the Fear
  3. Toxic Environment: Opposite of Diversity & Inclusion
  4. Toxic Environment: Lessons from Yugoslavia
  5. Toxic Environment: Ease of Doing Business
  6. Toxic Environment: Make the Caribbean Great (Anew)

How can we abate the Toxic Environment described here-in:

Answer: Promote Diversity and Inclusion.

A previous Go Lean commentary from December 19, 2019 identified the benefits of an inclusive foundation – the opposite of a Toxic Environment – by studying the international conglomerate Mercedes-Benz or DaimlerBenz. Consider this summary:

Learning from Another ‘Great Place to Work’: Mercedes-Benz
A lot of companies formed 133 years ago are no longer around.

  • Time takes its toll
  • Business models change
  • Technology improves
  • Values are reformed

For the companies that have survived the “Win or Go Home” tournaments, it is important to study them and learn lessons of their successes … and failures. …

This “Old Dog” has learned a lot of “New Tricks”.

They are considered one of the Great Places to Work, by the formal Great Place to Work® Institute; they are in the Top Ten on the 2018 List. …

One such Value Reformation that Mercedes-Benz has completed that other companies, institutions and regions – this mean YOU Caribbean stakeholders – can learn from is the emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion. …

How we shape Diversity & Inclusion
Daimler employs more than 298,000 people from around 160 nations. And that is just one aspect of our company’s diversity. We shape Diversity & Inclusion with appropriate offers and measures for our employees in five dimensions:

  1. We work in international teams.
  2. We bring people from different generations together.
  3. We promote equal opportunity for all genders.
  4. We defend the rights of the LGBTI+ Community.
  5. We include people with disabilities on an equal footing.

Source: Posted December 9, 2019; retrieved December 19, 2019 from

The subject of Diversity & Inclusion has been an important subject for Caribbean considerations. We have thusly published a few commentaries that advocated for more Diversity & Inclusion. Consider this list of previous blog-commentaries: Brain Drain – ‘Live and Let Live’: Introducing Localism Brain Drain – Brain Gain: Yes we can! Caribbean ‘Pride’ – “Can we all just get along” European Reckoning – Settlers -vs- Immigrants Good Governance: The Kind of Society We Want – Minority Protections Soft Power – Clean-up the Toxic Environments for Economic Benefits Making a ‘Pluralistic Democracy’ – Multilingual Realities Respect for Minorities: ‘All For One’ Sir Sidney Poitier – ‘Breaking New Ground’ as a Diversity Role Model

Majority versus minority; strong versus the weak; rich versus poor; Haves versus Have Nots…

… everywhere we turn, there are diverse people that needs to be included in the manifestation of society. This inclusion means a “seat at the table, not just being on the menu”. It is simpler than it sounds; all we have to do is “Live and Let Live”.

This has not always been the case in the past. In fact, we have some Bad Orthodoxy – many times the Caribbean religiosity has hurt rather than helped – that we must distance ourselves from. A lot of our friends, have not always been so friendly; a lot of our enemies have not been so adversarial. We need to reform from the past as we work for the new, brighter, better future.

Yes, we can …

Let’s accept the truth: we have been toxic! Let’s do the work that must be done to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play.  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean 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 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 & 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.

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

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 13):

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. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

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.

xiv. 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.

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.

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


Appendix VIDEO – Hosay in Cedros, Trinidad (2007) –

Dion Samsoondar
Posted October 8, 2011
– A look at the final day of Muharram, or “Hosay” , a Shiite muslim ritual as observance in the tiny southern seaside village of Cedros, Trinidad in the Caribbean. Natural sound of tassa drums fill the air as villagers parade the tadjahs on the main street of this fishing community before the mini replica tomb are lead to the ocean for final rites. Video shot in 2007 with JVC GY-HD100U ,and edited in CS3 by Dion Samsoondar (2007).

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