... Bury the hatchet and move on

Published: Monday | December 23, 2013 Comments 0

Jamaica's High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Sharon Saunders is urging the lead players in the two countries to cease glossing over the causes of the lingering tensions between the nations.

"We need to speak very candidly about the issue," asserted Saunders, who is stationed in T&T but monitors Jamaica's diplomatic affairs in Caribbean Community states.

"Too often, we, including our leaders, are not as candid and forthright as we need to be," said Saunders.

"They (leaders) are diplomatic and try not to step on each other's corn rather than telling the ugly, bald truth," she added.

Saunders suggested that exposing the issue was necessary to distil the solutions.

"They tend not to want to hurt each other, but perhaps it is time, as it is in any family, to speak the truth and find a way to move forward."

She stressed that the tension between Port-of-Spain and Kingston must not be allowed to fester any longer.

"I definitely have a role to play in the whole trade relationship," Saunders told The Gleaner.

From her vantage point, Saunders suggested that tension between the two countries has been at a tipping point for some time and has now reached boiling point.

underlying causes

"Both sides have not dealt with the underlying reasons in a very pragmatic way perhaps because it may not be politic to do so, or the timing was wrong," she said. "But I think that at this stage, we now need to examine in detail the underlying causes of the tension."

Saunders suggested that some of the causes extend prior to Independence for both countries in 1962.

"These stem from prejudices and perceptions that have not been dispelled (and) have been heightened by certain flashpoints," she suggested.

According to the veteran international relations expert, the situation has not been helped by the fact that Jamaica is geographically removed from the eastern Caribbean.

"We (Jamaicans) have not, over time, been as closely informed about the cultures of our Caribbean sisters and brothers," she said.

Added Saunders: "There is less and less of an understanding and an assimilation of the culture."

She endorsed the opinion that Jamaica has not been able to appreciate the cultures of its neighbours because of the dominance of its own culture.

"It's harder for us to flex, and so people assimilate to us rather than we assimilate to them," she added.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com

Share |

The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner.
The Gleaner reserves the right not to publish comments that may be deemed libelous, derogatory or indecent. Please keep comments short and precise. A maximum of 8 sentences should be the target. Longer responses/comments should be sent to "Letters of the Editor" using the feedback form provided.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Top Jobs

View all Jobs

Videos