A stern charge to the politicians of Caricom

There are critical components that constitute nation building. One of the greatest tragedies of being in the Caribbean region is an inherent political clientelism that borders on democracy by default. This perplexing phenomenon has deepened the poverty level throughout the Caribbean region.

Nepotism rules in the hierarchy of government for most of the developing territories in the region, whilst the big shot syndrome simultaneously perpetuates the quagmire of decadence.

When we look at Guyana, Jamaica and Haiti, we clearly come to the realization of failure that has no immediate solution. Caricom is a body that has failed. There is not one success story as a result of Caricom, except The Bahamas and Cuba.

Failure is a perpetual formula that is instigated by political clientelism for which only we in the region can blame ourselves. In this critical juncture of Bahamian development, we must clearly distinguish between politics and development. The repetitive cycle of the bureaucratic system has strangled the national development of nation building in the Caribbean.

The bureaucratic system throughout the developing countries, including the Caribbean, is the key instrument for the deepening economic failure. A good example is the entire continent of Africa, which was devastated by the hands of the bureaucrats. Governments throughout the region rely too heavily on the bureaucratic resources for development and this is where the problem lies. The recent Code of Ethics Bill that was presented before Parliament in The Bahamas is a step in the right direction and all governments throughout the Caribbean region should adopt this. There are thousands of stories throughout the Caribbean region of bureaucrats interfering with nation building and have cross conflict of interest. This is where democracy is instigated by default.

The "Single Market" Theory is Incorrect:

A "single market" for the Caribbean is wrong.

The dynamics of capitalism, including global and domestic market forces and the liquidity of global capital, are so complex that CARICOM cannot hope to understand, let alone take steps, in relation to a "single market".

The evolution of the EU as one block took, in historical terms, over a millennium-yet the EU continues to struggle with the implementation of its "common market" vision. They still have not resolved their issues, and this is despite:

* Having much more money than the CARICOM countries.

* Having much more resources in general, than the CARICOM countries.

Foreign Investment looks to the Country, not a Regional Body:

If The Bahamas were to join into a CARICOM "common market" initiative, it could be the death blow to foreign investment in our country. Why is this? Because of the reasons people invest in The Bahamas, or in other Caribbean countries. The criteria are the same for each investment decision:

* Geographic location and proximity to home country.

* Amenities and services.

* Safety of person and property.

* Legal system and systemic integrity.

* Nature and extent of capital and financial markets.

* Nature and extent of financial service providers.

* Nature and extent of communications and information technologies, including e-commerce platforms.

It is clear that the region has serious social and economic challenges ahead. I suggest that we look at a hemispherical integration, not trade but political and judicial. Once those institutions are established then we could begin with trade. NAFTA failed because there was no political instrument except to move NAFTA into the direction of multinational exploitation.

I would like to compliment the Christie Administration for not moving The Bahamas into a single market economy for Caricom.

The Bahamas can best serve the region by teaching them the principal market force economy in a small economy and that arrogance and size do not coincide. The region must be cognizant of a pragmatic economic approach in resolving their pending economic and social problems.
Dr. Kevin J. Alcena


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