LETTER OF THE DAY - CARICOM the way forward?

Published: Wednesday | December 11, 2013 Comments 0


I had the pleasure of reading Michael Lallo's letter which was published on Monday, December 9, 2013, titled 'Keep your rot to yourselves!' The writer who originates from San Fernando, Trinidad, expressed displeasure for calls by some Jamaicans to boycott "Trinidad-made" products.

The tone of the letter betrayed scorn and obvious impatience with Jamaicans who seem oblivious of his repugnance. His understanding is that Jamaica is home to lawless individuals who are unable to provide his island with more than illicit drugs and contract-killing services.

He chided The Gleaner for assuming the responsibility as "the moral compass for the Caribbean; especially, Barbados and Trinidad". This skewed view of Jamaica begs the question of whether regional integration is the way forward.

The Gleaner must be commended for the unbiased move of publishing Lallo's letter. I, however, hope to focus on more relevant issues such as assessing the regional gains of integration rather than the backward approach of the writer's separatist thinking.

There is strength in numbers, especially for states that are disadvantaged by size. Therefore, integration seeks to downplay this by strengthening capacity to participate in trade, and supporting or developing infrastructure programmes in support of growth.

The myopic view of the writer, evident in his allusion to the 'First-World' status of Trinidad and Barbados, is similar to the backward view of numerous CARICOM nationals. This self-reliant approach to integration is a sure road to failure and will lead us no closer to reducing the regional and worldwide phenomenon of crime and improving cross-border control.

Misplaced pride

The writer's na´vetÚ is pronounced in his statement, which reeks of misplaced pride, that: "We have Jamaicans for hire in contract killing in our country and many are into the drug trade and other crimes." I was disappointed that he failed to share some of the useful strategies that could be discussed and later implemented to reduce criminal activities and/or immigration concerns which certainly plague developed countries.

Integration allows member states like Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago to cooperate and confront mutual issues. After all, a service will not continue to be provided if there is no demand for it.

I encourage us all as CARICOM nationals to resist the urge of self-importance in these early stages, and never ignore the strength that lies in unity.



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