OECS diplomat has dire warning for Caribbean countries

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - OECS diplomat has dire warning for Caribbean countries - Photo 3There goes the begging again…

The below news article is indicative of the past 50 years of  Caribbean integration movements (West Indies Federation, OECS or Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and CariCom); their prime directive appears to be to solicit aid from the richer North American and European nations. This is sad!

When are “we” expected to grow up?

This theme is weaved throughout the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) with the prime directive to elevate Caribbean society by optimizing the economic engines, establishing a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines, and improving Caribbean governance to support these engines.

50 years ago, most of the Caribbean member-states were petitioning for independence (Page 134). This status is naturally associated with some degree of maturity. Begging for money under the guise of international aid, does not reflect a readiness for  independence. As reported in the following article, “development funds” have been very important to the sub-region having been used as budgetary support at both the national and sub-regional levels.

By: Ernie Seon, Contributor

CU Blog - OECS diplomat has dire warning for Caribbean countries - Photo 1BRUSSELS, Belgium – The former director general of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr. Len Ishmael, says the Caribbean will never achieve the status of economic resilience, as long as the international community insist on graduating it to middle income status at the level of the European Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations.

Ishmael, who is now the OECS Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that European Development Funds (EDF) have been very important to the sub-region having been used as budgetary support at both the national and sub-regional levels.

“In the case of St. Kitts Nevis these funds have been vital through trade windows accompanying measures that seek to cushion the shock with the loss of the sugar market, and in the case of the Windwards, the banana market,” she told CMC on the sidelines of the just completed 100th African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Ministerial Summit.

But she said that over time, the islands have been graduated to middle income countries, given the fact the European Union has been using gross domestic product (GDP) per capital to undertake fresh comparative analysis with the rest of the world.

Ishmael told CMC that with that middle income status comes the loss of several privileges, and access to concessionary financing which inevitably makes capital more and more expensive.

As a result, she contends the islands are required to engage in commercial ventures so as to attract capital and loans which have been critical to support their development.

“We argue strenuously in this theatre that GDP as a means of speaking to the health and wealth of our countries is a bit of an artifice when you are dealing with islands that are naturally small.

“The fact that we are small mean that there are systemic vulnerabilities that come with our size, the fact that we have been able to emerge from cycles of real poverty, does not mean that the vulnerabilities associated with small size, are no longer there,” she noted.

The OECS diplomat said on one hand there is the European Union very much in favour of supporting vulnerability and providing finance to ensure sustainable development while on the other it is graduating the Caribbean out of the access to the very funds that it would use in pursuit of a life of sustainable development.

“So the issue of graduating is a very vital one in this theatre because GDP per capita is used not only in the EU but by the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank, multi-laterals, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and everywhere else to determine those countries which are graduated out of their ability to attract any new concessions for financing,” she said.

“In fact we have received word that St. Kitts Nevis will soon be graduated out entirely, you and I both know that as Small Islands Development States (SIDS) we are acutely vulnerable not just economically but environmentally and we don’t need to indulge in a conversation to know exactly what that means.

“Now we are not even safe from a wet weather event associated with last December’s tropical low pressure that wrecked St. Lucia and St. Vincent, not even a hurricane as a consequence of climate change, wrecked such havoc on our physical infrastructure including our livestock and crop supplies.

“The problem therefore for SIDS, is if we have no economic resilience, there is no way we can become economically resilient,” Ishmael noted.

She said that the paradox of all of this is that these small states are not saying that anyone else should be paying their way, but they argue that there should be across all theatres an understanding of the unique criteria that makes SIDS as vulnerable as they are.

“So it’s not all well and good to have a discussion on our vulnerability only when it comes to talking once every 10 years through Mauritius or the Barbados Plan of Action.

“These discussions should result in policy prescriptions that cut across all theatres, at the WTO, the UN General Assembly, post 2015 agenda for development or all of the global issues that directly impact us uniquely because of our small size.

“We will continue to ask that SIDS issues should be cross cutting and SIDS sensitivity is one that should be inherent to all national discussion on sustainable development,” she added.

The issue of graduating the Caribbean to middle income designation has been identified by the new ACP Secretary General Dr. P.I. Gomes as one of more challenging tasks of his five year term.

“We will need to resolve the principle of differentiation in the Cotonou agreement where Caribbean countries are being unjustly graduated to a middle income designation, and thereby excluded from grant assistance,” he told reporters.

“We need to fight graduation because of how it is calculated, it should not be on the basis of capital income alone, we are vulnerable because of the environment where we are located. One natural disaster and your GDP can be reduced to 60 per cent as happened in more recently in Grenada,” he added.

Gomes, Guyana’s Ambassador to Brussels and Europe, replaced Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni as Secretary General of the ACP group. He previously served as Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors a decision making body of the ACP group. He will serve as Secretary General for a five year period starting in 2015.

He said the Caribbean being considered largely middle income countries, with the exception of Haiti, which is the only lesser developed country (LDC) in the grouping, is a serious situation that needs to be addressed urgently.

“The Caribbean would also need to move very effectively in making optimal use of the development aid it receives in terms of ensuring that it has an impact, in addition to diversifying its sources of development assistance,” he said.

However Gomes said he did not share the view that aid is a big contributor to the GDP as the Cuban economy has shown.

“What I think is more important are the terms and conditions under which investments comes into your country and how they are able to help structural transformation of your economy,” he stated.
Caribbean 360 – Online Regional News Source (Retrieved 12-16-2014) –

Make no mistake, all these references to development funds, concessions, support, privileges, grants and assistance, are just synonyms for the money the islands in the region want to continue to receive.

CU Blog - OECS diplomat has dire warning for Caribbean countries - Photo 2This is begging…plain and simple.

The book Go Lean … Caribbean describes that change has come to the region. There are stakeholders for the Caribbean that do not want to beg. These stakeholders do not consider success is leaving the homeland and obtaining prosperity in some foreign residence. No, the hope is to “prosper where planted” in the Caribbean.

This is possible. We believe we can fly – see VIDEO below.

Yet, the Caribbean member-states need monies. The Go Lean book delves into innovative ideas for funding member-states treasuries. The book describes the roles and responsibilities of the CU oversight and stewardship. Where as federal governments normally bring a new level of governmental overhead and tax on public finances, this one is different. The CU pledges to increase the Caribbean “pie not split the slices”. This is “give, not take”. This pledge is embedded in the Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing as follows, (Page 12):

xiii. 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 government services cannot be delivered without the appropriate funding mechanisms, “new guards” must be incorporated to assess, accrue, calculate and collect revenues, fees and other income sources for the Federation and member-states. The Federation can spur government revenues directly through cross-border services and indirectly by fostering industries and economic activities not possible without this Union.

The Go Lean book posits, within its 370 pages, that the “whole is worth more than the sum of its parts”, that from this roadmap Caribbean economies will grow individually and even more collectively as a Single Market. This roadmap calls for growing  the region’s economy from $378 Billion (2010) to $800 Billion in a 5 year time span. This growth will naturally result in increases in government revenues as well.

The following details from the Go Lean book relate the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies to deploy efficient and effective government revenue options:

Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Strategy – Customers – Member-State Governments Page 51
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Climate Change Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers Page 71
Anecdote – Turning Around the CARICOM construct Page 92
Anecdote – “Lean” in Government Page 93
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Foreign Policy Initiatives at Start-up Page 102
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Better Manage Debt Page 114
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Planning – Ways to Model the EU Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Reasons Why the CU Will Succeed Page 132
Planning – Lessons Learned from the W.I. Federation Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Credit Reporting Page 155
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Revenue Sources … for Administration Page 172
Advocacy – Ways to Manage Federal Civil Service Page 173
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacies – Re-organize Industries & Stakeholders Page 188

The ‘shambled’ state of treasuries for Caribbean member-states and sub-regional organs has frequently been featured in previous Go Lean blog/commentaries. As sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3354 CARICOM Chair calls for Unity and an end to US embargo on Cuba
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3225 Caribbean Tourism less competitive due to increasing aviation taxes
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3090 Europe All Grown Up – Model for Caribbean Maturity
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2887 Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2359 CARICOM calls for innovative ideas to finance SIDS development
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2041 NY/NJ Port Authority – Model for Caribbean Union Governance
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1965 America’s Naval Security – Model for Caribbean Security
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1193 EU willing to fund study on cost of not having CARICOM
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1184 Bahamas Introducing 7.5 Percent VAT in 2015 to reboot treasuries
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1014 Canadian assessment: All is not well in the sunny Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=833 Model of One currency, versus divergent economies
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=816 The Future of CariCom
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 America’s War on the Caribbean; Not the Leadership role for region
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=467 Barbados Central Bank records $3.7m loss in 2013; need for C$ and CCB
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=451 CARICOM deliver address on reparations – Looking for $$$

CU Blog - OECS diplomat has dire warning for Caribbean countries - Photo 4Looking at the foregoing news article, there is too much attention on receiving international aid; it seems to be a fixation of the regional organs to “have their hands out” – a sense of entitlement. This is unbecoming; it reflects a negative ethos. The adoption of appropriate ethos is a strong focus of the Go Lean book.

All in all, we are not entitled to any foreign aid.

“Whoever does not work, neither shall he eat.” – Page 144 – this reflects a better, more mature ethos. This is a community ethos that fosters building effective economic engines, deploying an efficient security apparatus and organizing governing stewardship. The Go Lean roadmap describes the dependent (“hands out”) attitude as “parasite” but the mature, independent attitude as “protégé”.

The Go Lean book calls on the Caribbean region to be collectively self-reliant, both proactively and reactively, in the case of natural disaster events. The excuse related in the foregoing article: “one natural disaster and your GDP can be reduced” is a “tool of incompetence”.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people, governing institutions and regional organs, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. We can make a Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!
Appendix VIDEO I Believe I Can Flyhttp://youtu.be/43KirCJgrK0

For educational purposes only; no copyright infringement intended.



Share this post:
, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *