Categorized | Features, General, Local

Commentary: CARICOM is dead!

By Dr Isaac Newton

Dr. Isaac Newton

Dr. Isaac Newton

It is time to grieve, mourn, and bravely accept the rigor mortis of the Caribbean Community’s death.

The signs of our grave are in regional conferences, declarations, and summits. These are rarely backed by evidence-based deliverables. We cover up strategic blunders in gut feelings and anecdotes. With too shallow a notion of integration, we copy international models that work admirably in other regions of the world, but fail to bring structural changes at home.

The more chilling pronouncements flow from one treaty to the next, the stiffer regional institutions become. Even worse, the more hopeless conscientious ‘Caribbeaners’ feel about our single market and economy, the more we decompose.

Viable freedoms to live anywhere in the Caribbean, to cultivate a regional serenity, and to have a Caribbean Court of final appeal are lifeless aspirations.

CARICOM’s death is functional. It is locked in place by Caribbean people losing their honour. Nothing stops us from undermining our unity or suffocating our interdependent identity.

This is not death in symbol. This is death of soul and system.

Eloquence in political survival has killed us. The results: Caribbean people are caught in a rush to squeeze each other out of small domestic markets. There is a flamboyancy to get close to developed nations with little regard for regional consequences. There’s ruthless zealotry at play. When personality cult and immigration persecution of each other makes us inhumane, regionalism is pulled from life support.

Although we can’t stop CARICOM’s death, we can use it as a cycle of new beginnings.

To forge a regional life that produces innovative solutions, we must replace existing thinking and behaviours with more sophisticated systems aimed at profitable outcomes.

There are enough experts and extraordinary island people who are willing to invest their time, talents and energies to offer new solutions to our current crises. Some are ready to improve quality life for all.

Others prefer to spearhead a chain of events that leads to the economic and social transformation of our people. Very few are willing to risk conspired malice, targeted spite and vengeance-mindedness that attack ‘objective doers’ who speak powerful truth and truth to power.

Upon smelling the stench of CARICOM’s death, you will have a repulsive reaction. You simply can’t continue to appreciate island love, people, food, friends, family, carnival and cricket only to reject regional productivity. In all areas of common challenges and shared differences, you must feel a certain transgression — that purposeful clarity of leaving behind backwardness and bad-mindedness to apply our indigenous intelligence.

Escaping the bowels of self-hatred requires fresh eyes to explore the internal value we have to offer the international community. We need to identify the benchmarks of success to capitalize on unlimited resources at home. This will help us resist defeatism.

An acute emphasis on deeds over polite talks will turn the human side of regionalism away from historical fantasy, post-colonial musings, and futuristic hysteria.

We’ll have to find the strength to tone down internal insecurities. We’ll have to move ahead of the present, not be retarded by the past. The answer is simple, but the task is difficult. We must relate to each other with full blown trust, heartfelt acceptance, and blooming compassion!

Not just our leaders, but we-the-people must become more intimately involved in CARICOM’s resurrection. There is no room to be neutral. Subjugating our sovereignty to our collective preservation is the only way to resuscitate CARICOM, and restore its rightful place in the psyches and souls of Caribbean people.

Progressive governments won’t fall out of coconut trees. Island builders won’t be imported from foreign shores. Political thinkers that align CARICOM’s needs with global trends won’t all come from the University of West Indies.

Perhaps our revolutionaries are in our very midst, next door if you please; grassroots if you search. The qualities that could make us so much more successful will never shoot our functional capacity.

But to recoup the driving substance inherent in our collective ideals, we need an ethical crusade. It will manifest its potency in the rebirth of CARICOM at the Secretariat and communal levels. It will nurse good people and put them to work on a common goal. It will help us select leaders that won’t keep our best minds in the cold to horde political power.

We-the-people will screen all public servants for a mindset of failure. They will be expected to tackle cronyism and dethrone private ordeals in exchange for executing with excellence.

Can we break this ethical blockage? Can we promote moral responsibility in earnest? If we do, our inalienable rights will free us to participate in good governance with dignity and pride. In acting for regional betterment, we must be sensitive to temptations of narrow financial interests, entrenched party politics that kills the progressive spirit, and exclusive familiarity with all things foreign that disregard homegrown capital.

If this ethical crusade spreads to wide-scale concrete and intangible success, big things could happen! Power to the people could be restored, governments could defend the wider interests of the Caribbean Community, and we-the-people could harness capitalism and democracy to support a thriving livelihood for all Caribbean people.

A breakthrough pathway to regional development is within reach. It is premise on creating a self-sufficient, fully comprehensive green energy haven. This must be coherently tied to a world class education that competes globally and win. Measuring victory on deeper terms is critical. It begins by putting our best talent to work together at home and abroad. It continues by making social justice, respect for the elderly, the protection of our children, gender equity, and our overall wellbeing our greatest concern.

There are many sides to death. CARICOM must die to inactivity, procrastination, and mediocrity. Institutionally, the organs of the Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana must be felt in each island state with penetrating relevance and enforceable bite. In pursing new opportunities and managing regional needs with global priorities, the Secretariat must become more flexible, transparent, strategic and effective at integrating partner interactions with internal processes that deliver practical results.

Now tell me. What is so unrealistic about breathing new life into CARICOM from the inside out, and the outside in?

We’ve got to stop dying from the poison of our own lethal injections!

It will take equal access to resources to erase long-term poverty. It will take entrepreneurial coaching and self-love to truly develop every family, village and community, and it will take a radiant embodiment of the Golden Rule for CARICOM to live again!

 Photo: and caption: Dr Isaac Newton is an international leadership and change management consultant and political adviser who specialises in government and business relations, and sustainable development projects. Dr Newton works extensively in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, leadership, political, social, and faith-based issues

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Dr Isaac Newton

Dr. Isaac Newton

Dr. Isaac Newton

It is time to grieve, mourn, and bravely accept the rigor mortis of the Caribbean Community’s death.

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The signs of our grave are in regional conferences, declarations, and summits. These are rarely backed by evidence-based deliverables. We cover up strategic blunders in gut feelings and anecdotes. With too shallow a notion of integration, we copy international models that work admirably in other regions of the world, but fail to bring structural changes at home.

The more chilling pronouncements flow from one treaty to the next, the stiffer regional institutions become. Even worse, the more hopeless conscientious ‘Caribbeaners’ feel about our single market and economy, the more we decompose.

Viable freedoms to live anywhere in the Caribbean, to cultivate a regional serenity, and to have a Caribbean Court of final appeal are lifeless aspirations.

CARICOM’s death is functional. It is locked in place by Caribbean people losing their honour. Nothing stops us from undermining our unity or suffocating our interdependent identity.

This is not death in symbol. This is death of soul and system.

Eloquence in political survival has killed us. The results: Caribbean people are caught in a rush to squeeze each other out of small domestic markets. There is a flamboyancy to get close to developed nations with little regard for regional consequences. There’s ruthless zealotry at play. When personality cult and immigration persecution of each other makes us inhumane, regionalism is pulled from life support.

Although we can’t stop CARICOM’s death, we can use it as a cycle of new beginnings.

To forge a regional life that produces innovative solutions, we must replace existing thinking and behaviours with more sophisticated systems aimed at profitable outcomes.

There are enough experts and extraordinary island people who are willing to invest their time, talents and energies to offer new solutions to our current crises. Some are ready to improve quality life for all.

Others prefer to spearhead a chain of events that leads to the economic and social transformation of our people. Very few are willing to risk conspired malice, targeted spite and vengeance-mindedness that attack ‘objective doers’ who speak powerful truth and truth to power.

Upon smelling the stench of CARICOM’s death, you will have a repulsive reaction. You simply can’t continue to appreciate island love, people, food, friends, family, carnival and cricket only to reject regional productivity. In all areas of common challenges and shared differences, you must feel a certain transgression — that purposeful clarity of leaving behind backwardness and bad-mindedness to apply our indigenous intelligence.

Escaping the bowels of self-hatred requires fresh eyes to explore the internal value we have to offer the international community. We need to identify the benchmarks of success to capitalize on unlimited resources at home. This will help us resist defeatism.

An acute emphasis on deeds over polite talks will turn the human side of regionalism away from historical fantasy, post-colonial musings, and futuristic hysteria.

We’ll have to find the strength to tone down internal insecurities. We’ll have to move ahead of the present, not be retarded by the past. The answer is simple, but the task is difficult. We must relate to each other with full blown trust, heartfelt acceptance, and blooming compassion!

Not just our leaders, but we-the-people must become more intimately involved in CARICOM’s resurrection. There is no room to be neutral. Subjugating our sovereignty to our collective preservation is the only way to resuscitate CARICOM, and restore its rightful place in the psyches and souls of Caribbean people.

Progressive governments won’t fall out of coconut trees. Island builders won’t be imported from foreign shores. Political thinkers that align CARICOM’s needs with global trends won’t all come from the University of West Indies.

Perhaps our revolutionaries are in our very midst, next door if you please; grassroots if you search. The qualities that could make us so much more successful will never shoot our functional capacity.

But to recoup the driving substance inherent in our collective ideals, we need an ethical crusade. It will manifest its potency in the rebirth of CARICOM at the Secretariat and communal levels. It will nurse good people and put them to work on a common goal. It will help us select leaders that won’t keep our best minds in the cold to horde political power.

We-the-people will screen all public servants for a mindset of failure. They will be expected to tackle cronyism and dethrone private ordeals in exchange for executing with excellence.

Can we break this ethical blockage? Can we promote moral responsibility in earnest? If we do, our inalienable rights will free us to participate in good governance with dignity and pride. In acting for regional betterment, we must be sensitive to temptations of narrow financial interests, entrenched party politics that kills the progressive spirit, and exclusive familiarity with all things foreign that disregard homegrown capital.

If this ethical crusade spreads to wide-scale concrete and intangible success, big things could happen! Power to the people could be restored, governments could defend the wider interests of the Caribbean Community, and we-the-people could harness capitalism and democracy to support a thriving livelihood for all Caribbean people.

A breakthrough pathway to regional development is within reach. It is premise on creating a self-sufficient, fully comprehensive green energy haven. This must be coherently tied to a world class education that competes globally and win. Measuring victory on deeper terms is critical. It begins by putting our best talent to work together at home and abroad. It continues by making social justice, respect for the elderly, the protection of our children, gender equity, and our overall wellbeing our greatest concern.

There are many sides to death. CARICOM must die to inactivity, procrastination, and mediocrity. Institutionally, the organs of the Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana must be felt in each island state with penetrating relevance and enforceable bite. In pursing new opportunities and managing regional needs with global priorities, the Secretariat must become more flexible, transparent, strategic and effective at integrating partner interactions with internal processes that deliver practical results.

Now tell me. What is so unrealistic about breathing new life into CARICOM from the inside out, and the outside in?

We’ve got to stop dying from the poison of our own lethal injections!

It will take equal access to resources to erase long-term poverty. It will take entrepreneurial coaching and self-love to truly develop every family, village and community, and it will take a radiant embodiment of the Golden Rule for CARICOM to live again!

 Photo: and caption: Dr Isaac Newton is an international leadership and change management consultant and political adviser who specialises in government and business relations, and sustainable development projects. Dr Newton works extensively in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, leadership, political, social, and faith-based issues