St Patrick’s Day 2021 – Does It Really Matter? – ENCORE

Does St. Patrick’s Day matter to us here in the Caribbean?

Yes, it does!
Or … Yes it should!

You see, despite the fact this is a cultural and religious celebration – held every 17th day of March – commemorating the foremost patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day recognition is really a recognition of Irish people.

This is a BIG Deal

… not just to acknowledge the 6.5 million people on that island, but rather to acknowledge the 80 million people worldwide that herald some form of Irish heritage.

So to Ireland and Irish people the world over, we hereby declare:

We see you!

This was the declaration of a previous blog-commentary from the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean … Caribbean. (We even have our own “Ireland of the Antilles”, a moniker for the Eastern Caribbean island of Montserrat). It is only apropos to Encore that previous submission from March 17, 2015 here-now:


Go Lean Commentary – The ‘Luck of the Irish’ – Past, Present and Future

Today (March 17) is Saint Patrick’s Day. Why do people wear green?

It’s a move of solidarity for Irish people and culture.

This is a big deal considering the real history.

This subject also has relevance for the Caribbean as Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the British Caribbean Territory of Montserrat, in addition to the Republic of Ireland,[10] Northern Ireland,[11] and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. While not a holiday elsewhere, this day is venerated by the Irish Diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. See a tribute here from an American job site:

Title: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Southfield, Michigan – We hope you are showing your Irish spirit by wearing green!

Here are 5 fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day:

CU Blog - The Luck of the Irish - Past, Present and Future - Photo 2

1. Of course with St. Patrick’s Day comes the massive appearance of shamrocks. Shamrocks have definitely become a central symbol for this day. In the olden days in Ireland, the shamrock was seen as sacred. The four leaves of the clover represent faith, love, hope, and of course, luck.

2. Good luck finding a four-leaf clover. The odds of finding a four-leafer on your first try are 1 in 10,000.

3. St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a dry holiday. Irish law between 1903 and 1970 made St. Patrick’s Day a religious holiday for the entire country, which meant pubs were closed for the day. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is arguably one of the largest drinking holidays with an estimated $245 million spent on beer for March 17.

4. Green or Blue? Though green is a very popular color on St. Patrick’s Day, the original color that was very popular and often related back to St. Patrick was not green, but blue. In Irish folklore, green is known as being worn by immortals, and often signified new life and crop growth.

5. The Irish flag. The flag representing Ireland is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.

CU Blog - The Luck of the Irish - Past, Present and Future - Photo 5

Source: Credit Acceptance Internal Staff Intranet site; retrieved March 17, 2015.

This subject also provides a case study for the Caribbean, as the Irish Diaspora is one of the most pronounced in the world. This is the model of what we, in the Caribbean, do not want to become.

According to information retrieved from Wikipedia, since 1700 between 9 and 10 million people born in Ireland have emigrated, including those that went to Great Britain. This is more than the population of Ireland at its historical peak in the 1830s of 8.5 million. From 1830 to 1914, almost 5 million went to the United States alone.

After 1840, emigration from Ireland became a massive, relentless, and efficiently managed national enterprise.[1] In 1890 40% of Irish-born people were living abroad. By the 21st century, an estimated 80 million people worldwide claimed some Irish descent; which includes more than 36 million Americans who claim Irish as their primary ethnicity. [2]

CU Blog - The Luck of the Irish - Past, Present and Future - Photo 1

The city of Chicago, Illinois dyes the river green in tribute for St. Patrick’s Day

CU Blog - The Luck of the Irish - Past, Present and Future - Photo 4

The White House in full St. Patrick Day tribute mode

CU Blog - The Luck of the Irish - Past, Present and Future - Photo 3

London; on the Thames River

The Diaspora, broadly interpreted, contains all those known to have Irish ancestors, i.e., over 100 million people, which is more than fifteen times the population of the island of Ireland, which was about 6.4 million in 2011.

In July 2014, the Irish Government appointed Jimmy Deenihan as Minister of State for the Diaspora.[3]

Why this history?

In 1801 Ireland acceded to the United Kingdom (UK).

The Irish Parliament, charged with the heavy burden of directing Ireland’s destiny, was abolished in 1801 in the wake of the Republican United Irishmen Rebellion and Ireland became an integral part of a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under the Act of Union. Without the power to direct their own affairs, the island found itself victimized by fate and bad fortune.

The Great Famine of Ireland during the 1840s saw a significant number of people flee from the island to all over the world. Between 1841 and 1851 as a result of death and mass emigration (mainly to Great Britain and North America) Ireland’s population fell by over 2 million. In the western province of Connacht alone, the population fell by almost 30%.

The Go Lean … Caribbean book relates that this is also the current disposition of so many of the Caribbean Diaspora; (10 million abroad compared to 42 million in the region). These ones love their country and culture, but live abroad; they want conditions to be different (better) in their homelands to consider any repatriation. The book details where in Puerto Rico, their on-island population in 2010 was 3,725,789, but Puerto Ricans living abroad in the US mainland was 4,623,716; (Page 303).

In a previous blog/commentary, a review of a book highlighted some strong lessons from Ireland’s past that are illustrative for the Caribbean’s future. The book is by Professor Richard S. Grossman entitled: Wrong: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them. The following excerpt is extracted from the book review by the London School of Economics:

As an example, we can take a closer look at the chapter on the Irish Famine, (1 of the 9 lessons), which took place from 1845-1852. Grossman not only describes what happened, but puts it into the perspective of  other famines, starting from the BCE period. In terms of absolute numbers, the Great Hunger in Ireland was not the worst famine recorded but it did tragically lead to the death of twelve per cent of Irish population, forcing many others to emigrate. The author details how the potato – which originated in the Americas – arrived to a fertile Ireland, and that the poorest third of the Irish population consumed up to twelve pounds of potatoes per day (per capita). Only after this introduction the economic policy is mentioned. Grossman compares the responses of two Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom to the famine: Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell. Russell was so committed to the limited government intervention that he refused to buy food for the starving masses in order not to disturb the free formation of prices in the market. Similarly, he refused to increase the scale of public works that would give jobs to Irish workers so as not to disturb the free labour market. The paradox is that when the Great Famine occurred, Ireland was not a poor country. The Famine would not have been so ‘great’ if it were not for the free market ideology followed by the policymakers at that time. As it turns out, leaving things to the invisible hand of market is not always an optimal solution.

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), a technocratic federal government to administer and optimize the economic/security/governing engines of the 30 member Caribbean states. The quest is to provide a better direct stewardship, applying lessons-learned from case studies like Ireland in the 1800’s.

Ireland has fared better since those dire days of the potato famine, but still its people, the Diaspora, endured a lot of misery, resistance and discrimination in their foreign homes. As reported in this previous commentary, the usual path for new immigrants is one of eventual celebration, but only after a “long train of abuses”: rejection, anger, protest, bargaining, toleration and eventual acceptance. Wearing green today – or any other March 17th’s – is a statement of acceptance and celebration of the Irish; as a proud heritage for what they have endured and accomplished.

The island of Ireland today is comprised of 2 countries: the independent Republic of Ireland and the territory of Northern Ireland, a member-state in the United Kingdom, with England, Wales and Scotland; (last year Scotland conducted a referendum in consideration of seceding from the UK; the referendum failed).

The Republic of Ireland ranks among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita.[11] After joining the European Union, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth. The country achieved considerable prosperity from 1995 to 2007, during which it became known as the Celtic Tiger. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash.[12][13] Today, the primary source of tourism to Ireland – a primary economic driver – is from their Diaspora; see VIDEO in the Appendix below.

There are a lot of lessons in this issue for the Caribbean. Ireland did need better societal engines, economic-security-governance; this was accomplished with their assimilation into the EU. If only that option was available in the past.

This is the exact option being proposed now by the Go Lean roadmap, to emulate and model the successes of the European Union with the establishment of the Caribbean Union. It was not independence that brought success to Ireland, but rather interdependence with their neighboring countries “in the same boat”. This is the underlying theme behind the Go Lean movement, to “appoint new guards” to make the Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. This Declaration of Interdependence is pronounced at the outset of the Go Lean book (Pages 11 & 13):

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.

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.

xxv. Whereas the legacy of international democracies had been imperiled due to a global financial crisis, the structure of the Federation must allow for financial stability and assurance of the Federation’s institutions. To mandate the economic vibrancy of the region, monetary and fiscal controls and policies must be incorporated as proactive and reactive measures. These measures must address threats against the financial integrity of the Federation and of the member-states.

The Go Lean movement declares solidarity with the culture and the people of Ireland.

We too have endured a lot of misery in our foreign abodes. We would rather prosper where we were planted at home in our homeland, but due to economic, security and governing dysfunctions have had to emigrate.

The Go Lean book details a roadmap with turn-by-turn directions for transforming our homeland. The following is a sample of the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the Caribbean region for this turnaround:

Community Ethos – Economic Principle – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principle – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederating a Non-Sovereign Union Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Keep the next generation at home Page 46
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Tactics to Forge an $800 Billion Economy Page 67
Tactical – Separation of Powers Page 71
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate to the Caribbean Page 118
Implementation – Ways to Promote Independence – Interdependence Page 120
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – A Single Market in the G-20 Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Better Manage Image – Not as Unwanted Aliens Page 133
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Enhance Tourism Page 190
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the British Territories Page 245

The Go Lean book posits (Page 3) that the Caribbean islands are among the greatest addresses in the world. But instead of the world “beating a path” to these doors, the people of the Caribbean have “beat down their doors” to get out; despite the absence of any famine, or war for that matter. This abandonment must stop … now!

May we learned from the history of Ireland in our quest to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. And may we have the luck of the Irish, as conveyed in this Classic Irish Blessing:

May you always have…
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix- VIDEO: Happy St Patrick’s Day from Discover Ireland –

Uploaded on Mar 8, 2011 – This short film is an ode to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day (which means we used a little bit of poetic licence!). Hope you all enjoy it. Happy St Patrick’s day!


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