Trini boycott will worsen tensions
There is one popular job site that lists available employment openings across the Caribbean. It was recently brought to my attention that on some advertised jobs, by request of the employers, it asks the question, "Are you a resident of Trinidad and Tobago?"
I could not understand why that would matter, certainly not considering that Trinidad was a signatory to the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which estab-lished CARICOM way back in 1973.
It's my understanding that the intention, under CARICOM, is, among other things, to allow for the free movement of talent across Caribbean islands. So why should it matter if someone was a T&T national or not? Had the question read, "Are you a CARICOM national?", I would, perhaps, understand. However, the targeted enquiry about place of origin suggests a bias to filling the position with a Trini - to the exclusion of others.
It concerns me, and begs the question, are we all playing fair? Are some countries only sticking to the parts of the treaty that are convenient to them? Is Jamaica abiding by terms that others aren't, and if so, why are we even bothering?
Based on recent reports from Jamaicans who were denied entry to the twin-island republic, we aren't even being allowed in as vacationers. What of those hoping to move for work?
I think we should test the theory, and not just with Trinidad, but with the other members of CARICOM who advertise open positions. The last survey done by tradingecononies.com suggests that 28.2 per cent of Jamaican youth are unemployed. I say that every one of them should apply for jobs in other Caribbean countries and see what happens.
Let's track it and see how many of the lot are actually invited to be even interviewed for the positions, let alone employed.
Truth, I know of a few Jamaicans who have been recruited abroad in Caribbean countries, but they are, as I said, few in number. I also know of very few non-Jamaicans who have secured positions here.
I ask the question, how much are the member states actually benefiting from the utopia that was first envisioned as CARICOM? I can't recall seeing products from smaller islands on Jamaican supermarket shelves in any noteworthy volumes. Nor can I recall any substantial benefits we have gained to date by being signatories to the treaty.
Unless we all enforce what we originally set out to, CARICOM will serve little purpose.
If executed properly and enforced as intended, there is real benefit to be had if we work together.
When Barbadian Carlos Brathwaite slapped not one, but four, sixes into the stands at Eden Gardens on Sunday, the entire Caribbean cheered as one. The triumphs of the West Indies' male and female teams in the World T20 final are the ultimate testimony of what we can achieve by working together.
The fans of many of the teams we defeated along the way to victory actually think "The West Indies" is a single island.
Not that we should validate their ignorance, but that reality should take us all down a peg or two. It's nothing short of heart-breaking seeing how we live as Caribbean people. How much prejudice exists among Caribbean neighbours all stemming from our varying levels of self-importance. Earth to us, we are all small islands in the eyes of the world, and if we continue to refuse to work together, we will forever be segregated dots on the map.
Boycotts - as promoted by the PSOJ's William Mahfood - and sanctions aren't going to get the parties involved to play fair. In my opinion, it will only fuel the animosity between us. Our governments need to go back to the drawing board and be honest with themselves.