Caribbean Governance the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis Essay
ABSTRACT: The importance of an efficient and effective Caribbean in the delivery of economic and social development is a long-standing theme of development policy. This however has not always been the case and the result is a Caribbean repeating past mistakes and compromising in some cases the theme of the development strategy. Global recession has consistently tested the resolve of the Caribbean and to this end there is a need to address the factors that have consistently led to the economic decline of the island states.
This paper examines the recent experience of the Commonwealth Caribbean in dealing with the current Global economic crisis with a particular focus on Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. It begins by examining the signs and the effect on each island. The paper then identifies five key issues that have emerged as factors contributing to and needing the attention of the heads in order to ameliorate against an occurrence in the future: regionalism, integration, transparency and governance are examined as being overarching themes the fundamental problems are dealt with individually within the essay.
In each case the background to its contribution to the problem is given along with the solution to the problem. A history examining the recession as a new phenomenon and by extention unprecedented is assessed. The paper concludes by discussing one key dimension of the global economic crisis experience: globalisation and the importance of politics in promoting and sustaining a successful relationship with the rest of the world. The final section sums up the main points.
The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author (Jepter Lorde) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus or its Board of Directors and/or Board of Governors. It is a fact that the world economy is facing the worst financial crisis since the great depression. It can be argued the crisis is taking place at a time when Caribbean countries are grappling with over arching themes of structural adjustment, transparency and governance as well as globalisation, integration and regionalism issues indicating a Caribbean challenged.
It is clear that these reoccurring themes are a reflection of the global economic situation and can threaten to reverse the few gains made by the region in recent years. The general consensus therefore is that the near unprecedented period of national recession currently being experienced in English and non English speaking Caribbean islands should be confronted with bold, swift and concerted actions to reduce the potential negative effects of the crisis on these developing states.
ECLAC or The Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean clearly articulates five main channels of impact or signs that can serve as lead indicators to the crisis they are financial contagion, excessive external borrowing, and reduction in foreign direct investment, external demand reduction of goods and services, reduced workers’ remittances as well as changes in relative prices (particularly commodity prices).
It is the position of this essay that the present situation is not unprecedented, this essay will seek to clearly identify the signs of the crisis and the corollary effects, as previously articulated by ECLAC, while at the same time outlining the factors that account for the exposure of the national state to this current state of affairs. Attention will be paid to three Caribbean islands where the issues are current and dynamic; they are Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
In order to clearly identify the signs of the crisis it would be intuitive at this time to contextualise the framework within which the essay is structured; the contributing key terms are global recession, crisis and unprecedented. Global recession is widely accepted and can only be confirmed if GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth is negative for a period of two or more consecutive quarters, by extention a national recession can be defined using the same parameters and be the recipient of a knock on effect attributed to the Global situation (Willis Peterson 2002).
A crisis is an end product, manifesting itself after showing signs the organs central to the operation of a system begin functioning erratically; in extreme cases they stop functioning entirely. The result, if the system is to be salvaged, is a slow and painful adjustment. (Barry Eichengreen 2002). External borrowing and the payment of interest rates is not new to the Caribbean and is described by Norman Girvan as being responsible for the single largest movement of money out of the region towards satisfying the myopic, parasitic appetite of an elite imperialist class.
This movement has contributed to the perpetual cycle of poverty, dependency and the corollary criminality due to high debt servicing arrangements and the inability of Governments to invest in the social and welfare development of its people, Jamaica therefore is no stranger to this. The lack of good Governance however has lead to a further exacerbation of the condition.
In examining good governance and the effect of external borrowing two items of note, the JLP win in 1981 coincided with the election of Ronald Reagan and the Neo-Liberal approach to global economic relations, an ideology the Edward Seaga administration was sympathetic to, the approach signalled not only a change in economic policy direction but also renewed contact between the government of Jamaica and the IMF (Davies 1996).
Having articulated a new policy direction the expectation therefore would be a turnaround in the fortunes of the Jamaican economy-this was not to be. The record showed a slowdown in key production sectors of bauxite, agriculture and textiles – to put it bluntly the country was in a worst position than was the case with the former PNP administration after having received more than preferential terms under the JLP administration. One aspect of the relationship was clear; it could not continue (Davies 1996).
Clive Thomas offers some insight to the situation, he makes an observation concerning the class relations in the Caribbean but the analysis in the Poor and the Powerless is collectively intuitive, salient and reflective of the relations taking place: “A fourth observation is that the petty bourgeoisie that presently controls state power is not a homogeneous group, but includes several fractions – professionals, political administrative, state-economic, and private – and although fractional conflict exists generally, in the absence of an entrenched ruling class, its self-interest leads it to develop closer relations with national private capital. Because of these considerations the state takes on the characteristic of being a “state for itself”, and in the absence of bourgeois democratic constitutional restraints, it can proceed rapidly to the institutionalization of all forms of corruption.
This, we believe, is the central explanatory factor behind the rise of corruption, and the pattern which it has taken in the region, i. e. , it constitutes a means of facilitating the consolidation of an economic base and the enlargement of property held by this class. ” The socioeconomic fallout from the association with the International Monetary Fund has stymied the development of the island and as undermined the limited gains made in the post independence era, is the current situation facing Jamaica unprecedented the answer is simply no. The year is 2009 and the incestuous relationship between aspects of the governing elite and unsavoury elements of the society has not so subtly festered to the surface.
The JLP is once again in office and scandal of epic proportions has gripped the party with the arrest of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, drug lord, reputed strongman and ‘don’ to the JLP. Horace Campbell Professor of African American and Political studies at Syracuse University had this to say: “The arrest of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in Kingston has reopened the issues of the use of thugs and gunmen to intimidate the poor in Caribbean. From Mexico to Guyana and from Brazil to Trinidad, gunmen and criminal elements integrated into the cocaine, guns, politics and banking business terrorise the poor and ensure that international capitalism thrives on the backs and bodies of the most oppressed.
Dudus had inherited a criminal infrastructure from his father (also known as Jim Brown) that had been organised by politicians to coerce and intimidate the working poor. ” The phenomenon of Garrison politics has been around since the 1970 in Jamaica, no doubt having the blessing of the political elite; it has however bought into sharp focus the inability of a Government to govern and to tackle the pressure of a Global and National recession in the face of excessive external borrowing and the filtering of Government funds to support an underworld dominated by gangsters and social parasites. Thirty years later Christopher Coke operates a state within a state funded by Government largesse, patron Clientilism and the sale of illegal drugs.
It takes the action of a grand jury in the USA and pressure to be brought to bear on Jamaica’s political elite to expose the attempts made by Prime Minister Bruce Golding to prevent the extradition and his relationship with the Jamaican ‘Don’ by contracting the services of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to lobby the US Government to discontinue extradition proceedings against ‘Dudus’. While grappling with this the country has found itself in the hands of the IMF to restructure the economy-a familiar refrain. Some seventy three died and prior to this latest embarrassment to the Caribbean hundreds if not thousands dispersed in 1980 in an attempt to settle differences between international capital, the local elite and the lumpenproletariat. Given the present state of affairs it would appear that many more will die but what is more alarming is their lack of knowledge of that fact.
The Caribbean and its association to the metropole can be traced back to about five hundred years, from the inception the colonial states were established only to serve the hegemonic and self serving ambitions of a ruling class far removed from the economic deprivation visited upon the inhabitants of the Caribbean. The relationship was brutal and coercive and structured to extract the maximum by way of output while at the same time perpetuating and maintaining constant dependence on the metropole (Eric Williams 1970). Barbados, given its geographic location at the time, had become a victim of the economic structure and showed signs of this during the early stages of the national recession from 1991-1994. The country suffered reduction of foreign direct investment and external demand reduction for goods and services, led by the then DLP administration under the leadership of then Prime Minister Lloyd Erskine Sandiford.
This structured economic isolation has its genesis not within the context of a dynamic global economic arena in which Barbados is a contributing player but from a system, long established by the former colonial masters, of Plantation Economy which posits that plantation slavery and specialization in export of primary commodities, in this instance Tourism, has marked the evolution of the societies in which it existed. The plantation economy theorist Lloyd Best explains, “The legacy of institutions, structures and behaviour patterns of the plantation system are so deeply entrenched that adjustment tends to take place as an adaptation within the bounds of the established framework” (Best 1968, p. 32).
The Caribbean economist Norman Girvan contends that the transnational corporation (TNC) is an institution that exists within the “rules of the game” of the plantation economy. He points out that the historic continuity of foreign ownership, terminal stage of production, limited domestic linkages, repatriation of profits, and persistence of the incalculability of value flows with transfer pricing by TNCs are similar to slave plantation–metropole flows. The tourism product in Barbados resembles exactly the description advanced by Girvan. Undiversified for almost fifty years it depends solely on the England, USA and to a lesser extent Canada for annual tourist arrivals.
Major players Hilton, Marriott, Sandy Lane and Four Seasons with the all inclusive package leave most if not all of the spend in the country of origin. Specialist areas within the culinary arts are held by foreign professionals with limited or no transferable skills to local workers. The results are unapologetic; with the fall in investment capital demand as a consequence shifts inward due to the exogenous shock resulting in reduced output in consumption and government spending. With this shortfall in potential output as opposed to actual output unemployment is the result with all of the social ill associated with it. Unprecedented therefore cannot describe the present occurrence because Barbados has experienced it before.
The year is 2008 and the Barbados government led once again by the DLP administration has found itself in the unenviable position of managing an economy with reduced output, falling external demand for the mono crop tourism, increase in unemployment and marked increases in criminality as well as reduction in foreign direct investment. This situation has been highlighted by the inability of the country to restart the famed Four Seasons project; it is not difficult to understand the dynamics between International finance capital and local investment. With the impact of the world economic crisis tightening its grip flight of capital was seen as an understood result. The sector depends heavily on the foreign visitor who has stopped travelling, with reduced spend the sector is not seen as attractive by way of investment. The result is a contraction of the industry and the flight of the funds to the metropole of origin the past has once again repeated itself.
It is no doubt therefore that civil assignments such as the Four Seasons project valued currently at US five hundred million has been on hold for two years, Merricks Beach Resort and Residence development project unable to secure the funding but also valued at some five hundred million US dollars and the long overdue Bridgetown to Hilton development project are all victims of the dependence on International finance capital and foreign direct investment. These projects are substantial and impact directly on the tourism sector the chief pillar of economic growth to the island. “It’s outrageous and insane, those crazy prices in Port of Spain…. It’s sad, and getting so bad, Oh Lord, capitalism gone mad. This was the cry of the Mighty Sparrow former Calypso King of Trinidad and Tobago in 1983. Prices were described as among the highest in the Caribbean. The latest style from the United States catches on with the unspoken assumption the rest of the Caribbean is behind the times (Barry et al 1984). An editorial in an Antiguan paper sums up Trinidad at the time: “Port of Spain is a hustlers paradise, a fair ground with pirates at large, music booming, New York trinkets on the side walk, everybody on a hustle…Our diseased and destitute sprawled on the roadsides, our mad directing traffic or otherwise engaging with their demons and quoting the song ‘Capitalism gone mad. ” Certainly not the paradise the Caribbean is known for however this clearly shows a Trinidad embracing the negative aspects of both a developed and underdeveloped world. A number of social ills to consider: increased criminality, alienation, decadence and as previously mentioned consumerism of the industrial metropole alongside perpetual poverty, social decay, economic dependence and foreign domination. This essentially summed up what Trinidad had become in the wake of a slump of global oil prices that had once catapulted the island ahead of its regional counterparts (Barry et al 1994). Trinidad had adopted a laid back approach to ownership only seeking tax dollars and production sharing contracts as the basis of relations with the TNC instead of direct ownership of the non renewable.
Barry, Wood and Preusch describe the results: “The in rush of foreign exchange, as a result of petrodollars, into the economy has been largely wasted on lavish import bills rather than transformation of the economy. “There is no morality left,” wrote one Caribbean commentator. “It is now a free for all. The paramount value today is money. ” The economic expansion ended as prices and demand for oil in global markets retreated. In1982, for the first time in eight years, the country suffered a trade deficit which totaled some two hundred million dollars. Put bluntly by the then Prime Minister George Chambers in the 1983 budget report, “The fete is over. The reality of a situation having its genesis in the global arena but with contributing factors locally saw the economy and most importantly people of Trinidad suffering then as they do now. The contributing factors are that of transparency and good governance on the part of the then Eric Williams administration and an ethnic and class divide that is the result of the imposition of colonial domination has sought to divide and separate the groups (Harewood and Henry 1988, 1989). Once again another island state and once again precedence is set. The year is 2008 many in the Caribbean depend on the charity of friends and families to supplement incomes as well as to serve as a depository for the hard earned foreign currency.
Trinidad and Tobago is no different; two major dynamics are being played out the first is the challenge for developing countries to create economic opportunities for trained nationals and second the marginalization of the said countries as a result of globalisation. The result has seen aging economies such as Canada and Europe attracting younger skilled labor from the Caribbean. For these reasons, it is certain that the phenomenon, that is remittances, will be with us for a long time. In Trinidad for example, these remittances have impacted the economy as they represent, although undocumented at some levels, a proportion of foreign exchange earnings, contributing to an improvement of the standard of living of many Trinidadians and Tobagonians, provide finance for balance of payments support, and aided economic growth and development of the economy (Solas 2001).
The Inter American Development Bank has lauded the efforts of the Caribbean in this area, it is in fact one of the instances where the thrift of Caribbean people is put to sound economic use. The analysis does not end there, Solas goes on to make three telling summary observations: The profile of a typical recipient in the State mentioned, is lower to lower-middle income or unemployed persons, the frequency of the remittance also speaks to the vital role it plays. For many households, the remittance is the means by which the basic necessities are met and finally income from offshore investments and migrant capital repatriation are typically handled within the formal banking system which consist of finance and insurance services.
If for any reason this process is disrupted for any length of time it could therefore have debilitating consequences for the sender, recipient and the economy. With the advent of CL Financial and a viral form of finance capital establishing itself throughout the Caribbean this option of investment has found favour with local as well as foreign Trinidadians hoping to create wealth within the Caribbean by way of remittances, in 2008 hopes of maintaining that discipline were dashed as CL Financial as well as subsidiaries CLICO and BAICO all declared some level of financial distress of varying proportions and the financial contagion once localized to the United States had arrived in the Caribbean.
Norman Girvan Professor Emeritus University of the West Indies gives an analysis: “What we need to think about is the meaning of the facts that have been disclosed in the statement. What these facts tell us about the state of corporate governance in what was one of Caricom’s largest conglomerates and ‘star performers’ in engaging with globalisation. What they tell us about the gaps in regulation and supervision of financial institutions in individual country jurisdictions, and across Caricom as a whole. And what they tell us about the costs of these defects—in corporate governance and in government regulation–to governments and to taxpayers. Trinidad has once again found itself in an undefined position and unable to act with the decisive and determined forcefulness needed to bring to heal the pervasive rot that has encircled the Caribbean, this time from within and compromising at the micro level the immediate well being of its citizens. On examining the issues class relations must be of importance as this once again has shown itself resilient and poignant with respect to an explanation of the results direction taken by the present administration led by Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar as opposed the decision taken by the then PNM led by Patrick Manning. Initially the PNM seen as a party representing the interest of the black community positioned a 100% payback on all monies deposited, this is however not the case with the present coalition UNC identified with the ethnic Indian population. The entire picture is very confused, which seems to be deliberate.
The two investments made in this situation – firstly, the basic and traditional insurance products such as pensions; life, health and general insurance and secondly, the depositor who was seeking high returns. The pension products offered a 12% rate of return, but the short-term depositors were much higher. The current discussion and argument is actually about the repayment of the depositors, not the traditional insurance policyholders. The fate of the policyholders is often invoked by depositors arguing for the return of their own deposits and that is why the separation between the two, which Winston Dookeran Minister of Finance makes, is so important.
To quote “…The number of traditional, long term policyholders affected by this crisis, covering pensions, life and health insurance, is around 225,000 persons and accounts for $6 billion in liabilities…” That is an average of $26,666 per policyholder. Again – “…There are approximately 25,000 customers holding these short term contracts, and the liability to this group is in the region of $12 billion…” That is an average of $480,000 per depositor. It is observed however, the voice of the traditional policyholders, who outnumber the depositors nine-to-one, is silent. But then again, it is clear that by far the greater liability lies with the depositors and further, that they appear, on average at least, to be owed about 18 times more than the typical policyholder.
The question must be asked who composes the ordinary shareholder and the answer is intuitive it would be the black working class of Trinidad and Tobago who by assessment by Harewood and Henry dominate the class of citizen in Trinidad unable to own the factors of production, have available to them large tracts of cash and therefore could not invest in dubious short term annuities as depositors. Trinidadians who did not invest are faced with the idea of taxpayers’ funds being used to rescue those who placed bets on high-return deposits it by extention will not end there because if the financial sector is seen as dubious and questionable in its operation then small incremental investors will find alternatives thus impacting the industry overall and GDP.
CL Financial chiefs and the depositors are being spared the consequences of their decisions by the bailout process. Afra Raymond concludes by making some telling points of identifying those groups as being differently treated from each other. “Duprey and his cohorts negotiated a Blank-Cheque Bailout at zero interest, without losing any of their assets. That deal is absolutely unique. Our taxpayers have effectively made a huge single loan (probably the largest in the Region’s history) to the wealthiest individual in the Region at Zero interest virtually every relevant professional body and Civic Society organisation has remained silent on this bold-faced attack on our Treasury.
Nothing from the Accountants, Lawyers, Bankers, Economists, Trade Unionists or Religious bodies the one recent exception to this has been the call by the Trinidad & Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) for investigations into the Angostura disaster. The CL Financial bailout has been cloaked in the robes of benevolence and stability, resulting in a situation which has minimized the floods of lawsuits which would have been confronting some of those responsible parties – Auditors, Attorneys, Company Directors and Officers In reality, the common-wealth of our entire society has been pledged to rescue a fortunate few. The CL Financial bailout is in urgent need of re-negotiation, to say the least, it wrong like a biscuit. ” It is a refrain that has haunted the island state for many years and each ime the mistakes of the past are repeated the results are more debilitating, it is therefore necessary for the Caribbean to reassess the position and to chart a new way forward. It will be intuitive to examine what was done wrong and implement what can be done right. It is by no means an easy undertaking addressing the problems of the Caribbean these problems are complex and entrenched in the colonial relationship of the past, it is believed however that if the attempt is genuinely made by leaders in the region to engage five key areas of interest the effects of the present global recession and any future business cycle fluctuation can be managed and at the same time reducing the impact on the socially vulnerable groups.
CARICOM can be described as the world’s second deepest regional integration scheme and as such set the framework for further structural development with the signing of the revised treaty of Chaguaramas creating the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Its mandate sets out the free movement of goods, services, capital and certain categories of skilled labour. It also envisions harmonization and coordination of economic policy and eventually a single currency. While ambitions under the CSME are very high, the institutional structure remains minimal. To a greater extent, the CSME still operates in an intergovernmental framework and as such its relevance to a Caribbean faced with exogenous shocks, the likes of which has the ability to erode decades of hard won gains, should be called into question.
The link between economic and political integration remains a contentious issue in a region where failed attempts at political unity still haunts the political landscape and where national sovereignty is guarded suspiciously. Decisions are still made by unanimous voting in both the Heads of Government Conference the highest decision making body—and the Council of Ministers. Even the newly created Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) lacks supranational authority in the form of direct effect of decisions. To date Barbados, Guyana and Antigua are signatories to the court but what is even more scandalous is the location of the court within the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago a non signatory and critic to its establishment.
The devil therefore is in the details, the lack of commitment on the part of the leaders has left the Caribbean exposed. If the Caribbean had shown the maturity at the time of the West Indian Federation under the leadership of the then Grantley Adams the community would have been more than able to weather the global economic storm and mitigate against a rise in unemployment and foreign direct investment having forged closer ties under the banner of Integration and regionalism. The reasoning is intuitive; with free movement labour will gravitate to where there is effective demand thus alleviating the pressure where there is no effective demand.
This is further buttressed by the industrial and merchant capital in the region being able to plan and invest in sectors in the Caribbean collectively thus spreading the risk and directing investment where it is most needed at preferential interest rates and sharing in the profits. The governance debate in the region is currently ‘in abeyance’. The lack of application of sound and consistent standards to the operation of the regions administrative business has prevented its ability to adapt to dynamic changes in the global economic environment. The belief therefore is that it should be revived, this time however in a manner which gives greater prominence to the development dimension and provides a broader interpretation of the elements of ‘good governance’ (Payne and Sutton 2000).
This will mean both more deliberative and purposive action by the state at the national and regional levels and more generally a reconsideration of the role of the state in the region. This brings into focus the Jamaica situation in handling the Coke affair. In so doing, the Commonwealth Caribbean must look beyond what Clive Thomas has described as ‘the post colonial development state’ and the successor ‘neo-liberal state’ (Thomas, 1998) to a new form of state with greater CSO involvement, a more supportive public sector and a wider vision, characteristics that are sadly lacking in a Caribbean that should know better given its colonial past and association with self serving hegemonic system.
It must also be a more ‘pro-active’ state, given the generally weak record of the private sector outside of a few enclaves in relatively few countries and the Trinidad and CLICO affair is bought into focus. The company was allowed to grow without regulatory control throughout the Caribbean; excuses were made from Trinidad to Barbados to Bahamas with the result being the disadvantage of the working class in the Caribbean. The key here is to build ‘state capacity’ in state management and planning in addition to the delivery of more effective and efficient public services to its citizens. In short, the role played by the state in the process of governance is another matter that has to be rethought in every dimension if Commonwealth Caribbean development is to proceed. ( Payne and Sutton 2000)
Globalisation is not a new problem to be solved and in as much as it is not new the solutions to the problem are just as illusive now as they were more than five hundred years ago. Indication of such a time line confirm that the Caribbean is in fact no stranger to the concept, the Caribbean has had a longer and more direct relationship with the modern economy than any other peripheral sections of the world. It must be noted that identifiable characteristics derive in large part from the extensity, intensity, velocity and impact of its interactions with the core countries of the world systems over the last five hundred years (Payne and Sutton, 2001: 11-20). It is therefore important that the concept is embraced and the extent to which the embrace is to be made articulated in clear and concise terms to the population.
The debate and it must move from the realm of debate if it is to have meaningful impact on the way the Caribbean engages the rest of the world is the concept of Strategic Global Repositioning SGR a formula coined by Richard Bernal, Jamaican ambassador to the USA during most of the 1990s. He advanced this concept in a series of presentations from 1996 onwards, defining it as: a process of repositioning a country in the global economy and world affairs by implementing a strategic medium to long term plan formulated from continuous dialogue of the public service, private sector, academic community and the social sector. It involves proactive structural and institutional transformation (not adjustment) focussed on improvement and diversification of exports and international economic and political relations. Achieving SGR requires changes in both internal and external relations. (Bernal, 2000: 311).
It required the following disparate and demanding actions: abandoning the traditional mind-set; diversifying exports; adjusting pro-actively; improving human resources; supplementing the skills pool with overseas nationals; developing strategic corporate alliances; creating a business-facilitating environment; improving physical infrastructure; modernising international marketing; and garnering capital, technology and skills (Bernal, 1996: 7-14). Although a vital role was obviously assigned to a dynamic private sector in this vision, SGR also envisaged an important redefinition of the capacity and purpose of the Caribbean state, with a view to making it more ‘effective’ and generally bringing it into line with the ‘good governance’ modalities of the PWC.
The concept of SGR unquestionably struck a chord with mainstream Commonwealth Caribbean political leaders and was widely embraced, especially by Owen Arthur, the prime minister of Barbados, who gave it voice in a number of forceful speeches delivered in the latter part of the 1990s (Arthur, 1996; 1999). This lapse in economic prudence has left the island state with little option to attempt stabilization and hope that the global environment to which it is inextricably tied improves. In the preceding sections, the essay has had a long, critical look at the period of national recession, identifying the signs of the crisis and an analysis of the factors that might have caused the exposure of the national state.
An important aspect of the discussion was the establishing the possible unprecedented nature of the crisis this was seen as important to give a historical land mark for discussion and a benchmark for future recommendations. These signs are not constrained exclusively to any one state and reflect the economic dynamic taking place at the particular time. ECLAC or the economic commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has been able to give a contextual framework by way of identifying the signs of the crisis and the overarching themes served as a bulkhead of both reasons for the crisis and possible solutions for the future. The essay to some extent has tried as well to draw a quantitative picture of the extent and nature of the crisis impact with reference to the research of Harewood and Davies and to a lesser extent Raymond.
The signs as articulated by ECLAC begin with, the major findings from the existing literature nothing new to the Caribbean, the issues of financial contagion, excessive external borrowing, and reduction in foreign direct investment, external demand reduction of goods and services, reduced workers’ remittances as well as changes in relative prices (particularly commodity prices). First and foremost, in spite of differences in the vantage points chosen and the theoretical constructs utilised to explain these phenomenon interested observers generally grant that the underlying forces dictating progress in the Caribbean or lack thereof has had a strong element from within. Evidence was presented of failed IMF bailouts, ineffectual administrations, and questionable governance issues.
It should be no surprise that academic within and without the Diaspora have raised their voices in opposition. In assessing the signs the positions taken by Davies and Thomas with respect of the class system brings into focus how Caribbean treat to each other and its contribution to the undermining of economic development. Where does the analysis lead by way of conclusion? The essay drew attention at the outset to the importance of Bernal’s argument about the Commonwealth Caribbean’s need for ‘strategic global repositioning’, but argued that his formulation of this conception had not been given sufficient critical scrutiny within the region and thus remained underdeveloped intellectually and politically.
We identified competitiveness, diplomacy and governance as the formative elements of SGR and have sought in this study to take the debate about SGR forward by working through in turn the key issues that arise in relation to these three policy agendas. They manifestly constitute the most pressing, and intractable, aspects of the Commonwealth Caribbean’s current development problematic (Bernal 1996). They also feed off each other in a series of ways that have been repeatedly highlighted. Works Cited: Eichengreen, Barry,. Financial Crises and What to Do about Them: New York, Oxford University Press, 2002. Peterson, L Willis,. Principles of Economics: IL 60430, Irwin Homewood, 199. Davies, Omar. 1986. The Debt problem in Jamaica: situation and solutions. Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, Dept. of Economics. Thomas, Y Clive. The Poor and the Powerless: Economic Policy and Change in the Caribbean London: Latin America Bureau, 1988) Williams, Eric, Capitalism ; slavery: Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1944. Best, Lloyd. , The mechanisms of plantation-type economies: outlines of a model off pure plantation economy, Social and Economic Studies 17 (3): 283-323. Barry et al. The Other Side of Paradise. New York: Grove Press, Inc 1984. Harewood Henry.. Inequality in a post-colonial society :Trinidad and Tobago, St. Augustine, Trinidad : Institute of Social and Economic Research, The University of the West Indies. | | Payne and Sutton, Repositioning the Caribbean within Globalisation 2001: 11-20 Bernal, Richard. Strategic Global Repositioningand Future Economic Development in Jamaica, North-South Agenda Papers, no. 18, Dante B. Fascell North-South Center University of Miami. TITLE: “We are currently experiencing a near unprecedented period of national recession in almost every English Speaking Caribbean country. ” Clearly identifying the signs of the crisis, what factors in your informed view account for the exposure of the national state to this current state of affairs? NAME: Jepter Y Lorde COURSE NAME: Caribbean Governance 1 COURSE NO. : GOVT 3017 INSTRUCTOR: Cynthia Barrow-Giles UNIVERSITY: University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. DATE: 1st November 2011.