Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies - Photo 1

Caribbean Rum, a product from island sugar cane, is among the best in the world.

This is a familiar focus of the Go Lean…Caribbean, movement, the book and accompanying blogs feature this and another Caribbean specialty agriculture: the best cigars in the world. The book posits that specialty agriculture is a core competence of the region (Page 58). This is part-and-parcel of the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

With that branding of “Trade Federation”, obviously there is an emphasis on Trade activities.

With that branding of “Union”, obviously there is an emphasis on collective bargaining.

Mastery of these activities is what the following news article calls for:

CU Blog - Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies - Photo 2THERE has been yet another call for rum-producing nations in the Caribbean to come together and confront the issues of subsidies which are affecting rum exports from this region to the United States.

Douglas Henderson, Executive Manager, Regional Sales and Marketing for Angostura, a leading rum producer in Trinidad and Tobago, said there has to be a collaborative effort to deal with the situation.

“Therefore, the challenge that we have is that in a lot of cases the Caribbean producers are having difficulties coming together to fight,” he told The Barbados Advocate.

The official pointed out that he is aware that some efforts were made to have the matter dealt with at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in addition to the fact that both Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are both trying to make inroads in having the subsidies removed.

“But until that happens, no company can stand still and wait. So we have to look to develop our business and do what we can,” he remarked.

CU Blog - Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies - Photo 3Henderson was recently in Barbados where he participated in the launch of a range of Angostura Rums to the Barbados market. The launch was a co-operative effort between Angostura and Massy Distribution.

The USA is providing the subsidies to multinational spirits companies operating in the United States Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico. Caribbean governments and producers who are members of the West Indies Rum and Spirit Producers Association (WIRSPA) have dubbed the subsidies inconsistent with trade rules of the WTO.

Just recently, the Barbados Ambassador to the United States, John Beale, issued a similar call for Barbados and the Caribbean producers to mount a campaign against the subsidies. He said that as a result of them, Barbados’ rum exports to the USA had declined by more than 20 per cent so far in 2014. Rum accounted for over $80 million in foreign exchange inflows into Barbados last year.

“Every Caribbean rum producer is affected by the subsidy and it is going to place those countries – US territories – at an advantage over us,” Henderson said.

He explained, “The USA market remains a huge market for any Caribbean producer of rum. Rums are growing in the USA and again when you come into the market and your price point is at a level that the majority of the market would choose not to try it, what you have to invest in advertising is so significant.”

The Angostura official further noted that every rum producer in the world is happy to compete on a level playing field. However, according to him, “a subsidy does not provide a level playing field, that’s where the concern is”, he added.
The Barbados Advocate – Daily Newspaper Online Site – (Posted 8/20/2014; retrieved 11/10/2014) –

The Go Lean book explained that the proper management of trade can increase wealth. The book relates the following on Page 21:

Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth: People specialize in the production of certain goods and services because they expect to gain from it. People trade what they produce with other people when they think they can gain something from the exchange. Some benefits of voluntary trade include higher standards of living and broader choices of goods and services.

The foregoing article alludes that the Caribbean member-states can do better in managing their trade negotiations (with the US regarding subsidies) with more efficient collective bargaining. This commentary asserts that it is a preferred option for the member-states to delegate this negotiation responsibility to the CU rather than going at it alone. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap to empower the region’s trade engines. This effort is dubbed Trade SHIELD and defined in great details in the book. The acronym refers to:


All in all, this roadmap calls for more than just negotiations (inclusive under the Strategic functionality). The Go Lean roadmap calls for confederating 30 member-states of the Caribbean (including the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands – also rum-producing economies – think Bacardi*), despite their language and legacy, into an integrated Single Market. The resulting entity will increase trade with the US and with the rest of the world, increasing the economy (GDP) from $378 Billion (2010) to $800 Billion. This growth is based on new jobs, industrial output and lean operational efficiency.

Size does matter! The traditional rum-producing countries (Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad, etc.) are considered Small Island Developing States. The CU on the other hand represents the Single Market of 42 million people, in which “the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts“. In addition, the SHIELD principles specify Logistics and Delivery functions in facilitating the Trade objectives. This is a microcosm of how the CU roadmap will impact all of Caribbean society. The 3 prime directives of the CU are listed as:

  • Optimization of the economic engines so as to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus (with persecutory powers for economic crimes) so as to mitigate the eventual emergence of “bad actors”.
  • Improve Caribbean governance.

CU Blog - Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies - Photo 4The roadmap creates some new Delivery options for Caribbean specialty agriculture (i.e. rum and cigars), namely electronic commerce and social media. Imagine subscribers on the Marketplace or Facebook easily ordering auto-fill monthly shipments of the best products the Caribbean have to offer. The CU intends to trade with the 80 million annual visitors and 10 million Diaspora.

This export trade allows for the preservation of Caribbean heritage.

Facilitating Caribbean trade is a strong theme for the Go Lean… Caribbean book and a frequent topic for these Go Lean blogs. These points of trade against the back-drop of Caribbean economy, security and governance were detailed in these previous blogs/commentaries: Korean Model – Latin America’s Trade dreams America’s Navy – Model for protecting Caribbean trade routes Cuban Cigars – Declared “Among the best in the world” US Senate bill targets companies that move overseas for unfair trade Cuba mulls economy and trade in Parliament session Amazon, a model of a Trade Marketplace, and its new FIRE Smartphone CU Strategy: One currency, divergent economies eMerge Conference Aims to Jump-start Miami Tech Hub in Exploiting Latin America Trade

The foregoing news article relates that the US is the culprit for the unlevel “playing field” for rum import-export trade activities in the region. The Go Lean movement posits that despite the reassuring words, the US is not assuming exemplary leadership for Caribbean empowerment – due to its own self-interest – that instead the region must “stand up” for its own self-determination.

This is not independence, this is interdependence! This point was echoed in the following blog commentaries: The Criminalization of American Business – Big Agra America’s War on the Caribbean Book Review: ‘Wrong – Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn…’ 10 Things We Don’t Want from the US – American Self-Interest Policies

The CU roadmap works to drive the needed change among the economic, security and governing engines to guide the Caribbean member-states to the destination of elevated societies. This change is based on new community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocates; sampled as follows:

Declaration of Interdependence Page 10
Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Security Principles Page 22
Community Ethos – Governing Principles Page 24
Community Ethos – Lean Operations – GPO’s Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Strategy – Vision – Integrating Region in to a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Strategy – Core Competence – Specialty Agriculture Page 58
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing the Economy to $800 Billion – Convergence of East Asian Tigers Page 67
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Agriculture Department – Licensing/ Inspections Page 88
Implementation – Assemble & Create Super-Regional Organs to represent commerce Page 96
Implementation – CPU: Consolidate / Integrate the Member-states Postal Services Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change – GPO’s Page 101
Implementation – Foreign Policy Start-up Initiatives Page 102
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Optimize Mail Service & Marketplace Page 108
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade – GPO’s Page 128
Planning – Ways to Improve Interstate Commerce Page 129
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Foreign Exchange – Caribbean Dollar realities Page 154
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories Page 244
Appendix – Trade SHIELD Principles Page 264

Trade is very much critical to the strategies to grow the regional economy. Increased trade will undoubtedly mean increased job opportunities. The CU/Go Lean plan is to foster and incubate key industries, such as rum industry, for this goal. One of the biggest rum producers in the Caribbean, Bacardi, originated in Cuba but have since located distillery plants in Puerto Rico, Bahamas and Mexico. They have endured and persevered despite much opposition. They are proud of their survival, depicting it in TV advertisements; see the following:

*VIDEO: Bacardi – Untamable since 1862 – Procession TV Ad:

Discover how the Bacardí family had the irrepressible spirit to overcome fire, earthquakes, prohibition, revolution and exile — none of which could defeat their spirit, because True Passion Can’t Be Tamed. Find out more about the Bacardí family story at

The rest of the Caribbean’s rum producers must also endure dire obstacles, and can now do so because there is help. This Go Lean roadmap proposes a new model, that of the Trade Federation, an entity to do the heavy-lifting of elevating the Caribbean economy, security and governing engines.

For the Caribbean, the status quo cannot continue – the region is already mature as a great place to “play”: tourism, carnivals/fiestas/parties, great rum and great cigars – “all play and no work”. But now, it is time for the region, the people and institutions, to lean-in to this roadmap for change, to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

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

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