10 Big Ideas…

The Bottom Line on Kennedy’s Quest for the Moon

On 25 May 1961, US President John F. Kennedy announced his support for the American Space program’s “Apollo” missions and redefined the ultimate goal of the Space Race in an address to a special joint session of Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”. His justification for the Moon Race was both that it was vital to national security and that it would focus the nation’s energies in other scientific and social fields. This quest was succeeded. At 10:56 pm EDT, on 20 July 1969, the first human (American Astronaut Neil Armstrong) ventured out of the Apollo 11 landing craft and set foot on the Moon declaring: “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

1. Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy Initiative: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU)

The CU is a big idea for the Caribbean, our parallel of the American “moon quest”, allowing for the unification of the region into one market of 42 million people. This creates the world’s 29th largest economy, based on 2010 figures. The pre-ascension GDP figures are actually less that $800 Billion, but the aggregation into a single market will manifest the economic “catch-up” principle, in 5 years. After 10 years the CU’s GDP should double and rank among the Top 20 or G20 nations.

2. Currency Union / Single Currency

Apolitical technocratic monetary control, by the Caribbean Central Bank (CCB), and foreign trade with a globally respected currency allows for the methodical growth of the Caribbean economy without the risk of hyper-inflation and currency devaluations. The CU/CCB trades in Caribbean Dollars (C$) of which the currency’s reserves are a mixed-basket of strong foreign currencies: US Dollars, Euro, British Pound and Japanese Yen.

3. Defense / Homeland Security Pact

The political reality is that the economics of the region is tied to the security of the region, This treaty teams-up to implement anti-crime, anti-terrorism measures, both proactive and reactionary, to insure the economic engines. This will be in supplement with the US Defense initiatives but our role will increase while the US role decreases, we must assume the security needs for our own commerce.

4. Confederation Without Sovereignty

The CU is only a trade and security bloc, so the sovereignty of island nations remains with its current possessors. So Puerto Rico remains with the US; the Caymans with the UK; Curacao with the Netherlands; Guadeloupe with France, etc. Yet there are still severe consequences for violating the mandates of the CU, that of economic sanctions. When a country’s currency is maintained by the regional bloc, they are less inclined to egregiously work against their best interest. (This is the EU model). For Cuba, a Communist country, their political structure remains their choice, as the CU is only the technocratic and economic engine that does their trade bidding.

5. Four Languages in Unison

Dutch, English, French, and Spanish in parallel treks for all government and CU communications. This applies to printed communiqué and electronic media output. Therefore, the public/private websites in the region should publish in all 4 languages and TV-film productions broadcast with SAP-like options.

6. Self Governing Entities (SGE)

This includes technology bases, industrial parks, medical & educational campuses, foreign sovereign territories, foreign military bases (particularly from European legacy countries: US, UK, France, Spain, & The Netherlands) all managed at the CU/federal level. The effect is an economic engine for local (urban & rural areas) and regional economies. SGE’s are required to negotiate with local resources for supplies and services, thus the financial pay-off, but otherwise, there is no interference with the SGE’s modus operandi.

7. Virtual “Turnpike” Operations

Ferries, Causeways/Bridges, Pipelines, Tunnels, Railways and limited access highways will function as “blood vessels to connect all the organs” within the region, thus allowing easier transport of goods and people among the islands and the mainland states (Belize, Guyana or Suriname)

8. Cyber Caribbean

Forge electronic commerce industries to allow the internet communications technology (ICT) to be the great equalizer in economic battles of global trade. This includes e-Government (outsourcing and in-sourcing for memberstates systems) and e-Delivery, Postal Electronic Last Leg mail, e-Learning and wireline/wireless/satellite initiatives.

9. e-Learning – Versus – Studying Abroad

The Caribbean has tried the Study Abroad model, the result: a “brain drain” where our best students leave and may never return for residence, employment or investments, (only family visits). The new approach is to keep the talent here in the Caribbean, educate them here and notice the positive efforts on societal institutions.

10. Cuba & Haiti

Cuba has suffered under the US Trade Embargo for 50-plus years. Now the paradigm shift is that the CU will trade with the rest of the world on behalf of Cuba. The CU will be a reboot for Cuba. Haiti is the poorest nation in the hemisphere. But what they have is impassioned human capital as opposed to financial capital or valuable minerals. The CU is an economic reboot for this country, one that involves developing internally and not thru emigration. The economic principle is “every year of education raises a country’s GDP”. Haiti will exploit the opportunities of the rest of the Caribbean by employing “leap-frog” methodologies; there is no need for gradual advances, rather just jump to where technological infrastructure is moving to, not coming from.