My What The … Moment

Posted: May 5, 2013 in Politics/Current affairs
Tags: , , , , ,

I have been suffering through a very long blog writing slump as if the many different issues and challenges facing the world and Jamaica have almost lead to a sort of paralysis. I don’t know what it says about me that it is this most asinine article that has irked me sufficiently to write again.
The article I speak to is entitled “Kick CARICOM to the Kerb” written by a supposedly eminent legal mind however the content of this article severely brings such a designation into question in my humble/upset opinion. Mr. Lawyer’s arguments are not new but I strongly believe in the mantra “Who kno betta fi do betta.”

Argument 1 – The Caribbean region has no common identity. The evidence provided for this is that black slaves were in other places so why don’t we have links with them. Second piece of evidence from his eminence is that we eat different food. Do I have to provide counter arguments or are the assertions seem ridiculous enough in and of themselves. Never mind geographic proximity and the cultural, language and cuisine that we do share these count for nothing because we Jamaicans don’t like Mauby or bakes.

Argument 2 – West Indies Cricket is the only unifying entity, when the team was good it wasn’t a WI identity but buck ups of a generation of talent. Now this is the second most annoying aspect of this article and it surprised me it could get worse but later for that. REALLY MR LAWYER? What exams do students take in high school, they don’t come from a properly functioning regional body? Is not the UWI the premier academic institution in the region evidence of regionalism being reasonably successful? Not to mention areas such as telecommunication, postal services and disaster preparedness and emergency management and other unsexy, non-sensational areas that people ignore in favour of petty mess.

Argument 3 – Dem nuh like we so I’m not Caribbean I’m Jamaican. This is the argument that most Jamaicans will agree with but even that I have an issue with on a couple levels. On one level labeling an entire group based on a couple anecdotal experiences would mean all Jamaicans are con men that smoke weed. Secondly Jamaicans are just as guilty of this insular mindset. So the writer points to the T&T PM’s “ATM comment” clearly not remembering when the man on our 1 dollar coin likened the rest of the region as babies crawling whilst the almighty Jamaica was running. Not to mention the pride with which we love to refer to “small islands.” Same tune different day. All this is, is the remnants of baccra’s effective divide and rule campaign.

Argument 3 – we get the short end of the stick in trade so away with CARICOM. Another argument people will agree with readily and there is great truth in it, but not all of it is some evil system that is working against Jamaica alone. As day follows night if country A produces more goods than Countries B-Z then obviously country A is going to have a trade imbalance in a free trade arrangement. Does that make the arrangement in and of itself bad or does it mean untapped potential that countries B-Z need to work towards? I do yield however that in terms of trade in goods Jamaica tends to be more open than other countries, and that is a problem but how the argument is made and to then say do away with CARICOM as a whole is not well made by the writer in my opinion.

Where the wheels really fall off for the eminent lawyer is the assertion that instead of the CCJ, (cause we a nuh Caribbean people) to replace the privy council, we should for all intents and purposes beg our big snowy friend Canada a kotch and use their court as our final appellate court. LOL.

I really can’t deal with this anymore. Suffice it to say Mr. Lawyer has succumbed to the same view of CARICOM that most people across the region have and that is to fall into the trap of the sensational. ALL regional groupings have basically the same issues people have issues with people coming to take their jobs and people have issues with disputes relating to goods not getting into regional markets. Check the EU if you don’t believe me. What is noteworthy it is issues of economic integration that plague most regional groupings, CARICOM being no different. But that is just One Third of the story as CARICOM stands on 3 pillars – 1) Economic integration; 2)Functional Cooperation and 3) Foreign Policy coordination. If Mr Laywer and my fellow Caribbean people are fair CARICOM has been reasonably successful in the latter two pillars. The common institutions referred to above represent the strong functional cooperation I speak of and the ability of the region to take common positions and negotiate as a bloc versus multiple small states should not be scoffed at in a world of super powers and super blocs. Even in economic integration where most the issues lie it has not been all doom and gloom either.

CARICOM is by no means perfect that is not what I am getting at, at all here. A lot of work needs to be done but my submission is CARICOM doesn’t work to its full potential because our leaders don’t take it seriously and they don’t have to because we as the regional citizenry don’t hold them to account for their tomfoolery. I guess because we ourselves don’t take it seriously. So what you get when you take the approach of Mr Lawyer and the non-Caribbean Jamaicans (and other nationalities) is a circle if futility.

This was a lot and I still haven’t gotten all my thoughts off my chest but alas I won’t bore you any longer just to say if you physically read today’s newspaper and see the article, Note the unrelated picture above the article saying “What The F.” Can you say IRONY!!!


PS – see the article and decide for yourself if i’m too harsh:

  1. Sarah says:

    You make your case very well, and point out very valid criticism. Reading the article, what struck me is how he accuses other nations of big egos, attitude etc….but it seems clear his own are even bigger.

    Thanks for taking this on and revealing the problems with this article. As I non Jamaican, I found the subject educational.

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