US Territories – Between a ‘rock and a hard place’

Go Lean Commentary

The recipe seems so perfect for success. The US is the world’s largest Single Market economy, has the largest military establishment, and you are its sovereign territory. What could go wrong?!


Starting first with the foundation. The premise for the acceptance of US Territories is that the people are “alien and inferior”; 98.4% are racial and ethnic minorities. With that defective reasoning how can anything turn out well?!

And thus…the US Territories find themselves between a “rock and a hard place”.

The below VIDEO/TV show is a production by Comedian-Commentator John Oliver for the HBO show Last Week Tonight. He usually comments on a lot of news events in a satirical manner. But in that satire there is a lot of truth.

VIDEO: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): U.S. Territories –

Published on Mar 8, 2015 – A set of Supreme Court decisions made over 100 years ago has left U.S. territories without meaningful representation. That’s weird, right?
Content warning: Some profanity!

- Photo 1This VIDEO relates to the discussions in the book Go Lean…Caribbean and accompanying blog/commentaries primarily because there are 2 US Territories (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) in the center of the Caribbean. These cannot be ignored in the movement to unite and elevate the entire Caribbean region.

As depicted in the VIDEO, these territories are in crisis.

This is the purpose of the Go Lean book, as quoted from Economist Paul Romer (Page 8): “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”. The truth is that American society stages all of the Caribbean in a “parasite” role; to serve as a playground for their leisure, consumers of their products and staffing for their Armed Forces. There is no advantage to being American, except to leave; and this is what people do, time and again. (Emigration is one of the major causes for the crisis in the Caribbean US Territories).

- Photo 2On the other hand, the goal of the Go Lean book is to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). So the CU would be set to optimize Caribbean society, starting with economic empowerment. In fact, the Go Lean roadmap has 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 protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean movement asserts that the Caribbean region can do better; we must do better; we must not allow the US to take the lead for our own nation-building, for American self-interest (racism and capitalism) tend to hijack policies intended for the Greater Good. America thought their territories were populated with aliens, who could not be viewed as equals. Despite the 100 year old expiration of these prejudices, the policy remains. The mitigation and remediation to make territorial life successful must therefore come from another source. This is the siren call of the Go Lean movement.

(The scope of the Go Lean roadmap is limited to just the Caribbean territories, not the Pacific ones of Guam, Northern Marianas, and Samoa. Further, this commentary nor the Go Lean book advocates any political change of legal status of the territories to Statehood or Independence; rather this CU confederation alone is being promoted.)

There are more issues in consideration of this book. A compelling mission of the Go Lean book is to lower the “push and pull” factors that lead many to abandon the Caribbean homeland for American shores. The book posits that the region must create jobs so that its citizens do not have to leave to become aliens in a foreign land looking for a better life. The better life can be obtained right at home; Caribbean citizens can prosper where they are planted.

There are many Go Lean blog commentaries that have echoed this point. Here are a sample of related commentaries: Big Defense: Exploiting US Territories to fill the Armed Forces for their profit. Dreading the ‘Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’ as inadequate for PR/VI Caribbean must work together to address rum subsidies and promote this vital industry A Lesson in History: Economics of East Berlin; Failed-states can go from bad to worse. What’s In A Name? Latin & Caribbean people in the US still disenfranchised in American society. Caribbean Jobs – Attitudes & Images of the Diaspora Caribbean loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain Puerto Rico Governor Signs Bill on Small-Medium-Enterprises, attempts to re-boot commerce as 95% of businesses have 50 employees or less. Having less babies (and people) is bad for the Caribbean economy Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes Puerto Rico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center project breaks ground; model for future empowerment efforts. 10 Things We Don’t Want from the US – Discrimination of Immigrations

The foregoing VIDEO conveys that there is little respect in Washington, DC for the needs of the Territories. The islands having a voice, but no vote, really mean no voice at all, as they are inconsequential to all other legislators and power-brokers in Congress. Since the effort to elevate and empower the total Caribbean region cannot be pursued without these US Territories, there must be some engagement there. This effort is Day One/Step One in the Go Lean roadmap (Page 96). This approach is detailed under the American legal concept of an “Interstate Compact”; which allows the US Territories to confederate with their “foreign” Caribbean neighbors in this non-sovereign endeavor; thereby making these two island groups separate member-states of the CU.

Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands would have full benefits and voting privileges in the CU Trade Federation; the same for all British, Dutch and French “Overseas” Caribbean territories.

This vision is vital. The book Go Lean…Caribbean clearly hypothesizes that many problems of the region are too big for any one member-state to solve alone; that there is the need for the technocracy of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. The Go Lean roadmap therefore calls for this strategy of confederation with a tactic of separation-of-powers between CU federal agencies and member-states’ governments. This allows for a lot of autonomy from Washington, DC for Puerto Rico and the USVI.

This change is essential for progress and growth. Despite all the advantages of American affiliation, these US Territories suffer from monumental dysfunction. As a result, these “American citizens” there are on the move, abandoning their homeland and forging near-Failed-States in their wake.

The Go Lean book posits that we need more than jokes and satire to arrest the downward spiral for PR/VI and the rest of the Caribbean; we need action too. We need this roadmap.

We do not want to be the “laughing stock” of the developed world. We want to be recognized as protégés, not parasites! This point is pronounced early in the book with the Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 & 14) with many statements that demonstrate the need to remediate Caribbean communities – including PR & VI – and make the homelands better places to live, work and play:

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 preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxiii.  Whereas many countries in our region are dependent Overseas Territory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

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.

xxv.  Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries, like that of ship-building, automobile manufacturing, pre-fabricated housing, frozen foods, pipelines, call centers, and the prison industrial complex. In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries like tourism, fisheries and lotteries – impacting the region with more jobs.

The Go Lean book also details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the full region, and US Territories. The following samples are excepted from the book: economic prospects:

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 – Trade Mission Office – Washington, DC Page 117
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 Inferior 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 – The world should enjoy our hospitality Page 190
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the US Territories Page 244
Appendix – Interstate Compacts Page 278
Appendix – Puerto Rican Migration to New York Page 303
Appendix – Puerto Rican Population in the US – Census 2010 Page 304
Appendix – US Virgin Islands: Economy Past, Present & Future Page 305
Appendix – Electronic Benefits Transfers – e-Government & e-Payments for PR & VI too Page 353

The Go Lean book posits (Page 3) that the Caribbean islands, including the American Territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin 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; responding to “push and pull” factors. This abandonment must stop now!

While we want the rest of the world – the people of North America, Europe and beyond – enjoying our hospitality, culture, music, cuisine and produce, we most especially want to enjoy these for ourselves. We do not want to admire them from afar. We instead want to be planted and to prosper here in the Caribbean.

Considering the foregoing VIDEO, our birthright should be a privilege and the envy of the world, not the joke for the rest of the world. We want the world laughing with us, not at us!

A better future. This is our simple quest. This is easy to say, but hard to do. The heavy-lifting tasks must come from us in the Caribbean. This is the charge of the CU. We cannot expect solutions from Washington. They have no respect for any territories.

The people and governing institutions of all the Caribbean are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap for Caribbean empowerment. With the successful execution of this roadmap, we can make all of the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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