Sun | Aug 14, 2022

Persevere or pity party?

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2022 | 12:06 AM


“We are too small geographically”, “we are too underdeveloped economically”, “we are too fragmented politically” [are] the common cries of those who doubt the Caribbean’s potential to achieve a level of regional integration similar to that of the European Union (EU).

One must give that, ironically, in this era of hyperglobalisation, the Caribbean has hit some form of ceiling when it comes to the integration movement. However, the aforementioned naysayers who burden academia and the political class with their self-serving soliloquies rooted in nothing but pessimism are exactly who we must reject, completely.

The realities of the Caribbean not ever achieving the economic or political might of the EU is not lost on even the most naive CARICOM proponent.

Why are so many policymakers and influencers ready to throw their hands up in the air and cry at the sky? If regional unity can be so conveniently used when CARICOM hoards together to be a voting bloc at the United Nations, then they can very well sit down and trash out the differences between nation-states that require resolution to expand CARICOM.

For the Caribbean experiment, our four areas of the next frontier must be universal customs and passport controls, compatible barriers of entry for corporate entities, addressing development gaps and achieving effective regional political governance. These will require states to be more willing to reduce their individual sovereignty to the regional mechanism. It would also require politicians and academics effectively communicating to the layman the need for a regional political and economic structure.

These things are invariably easier said than done, but it should not be seen as insurmountable. The future of the Caribbean region will be dependent on our integrative movement; and while many have set up their pity parties in the media and elsewhere, it will be those who are willing to sacrifice and persevere that will bring change.