CARICOM – Sir Ronald Sanders Says “Damn The Torpedos – Full Speed Ahead!”

caricom-barbados-ronald-sanders.jpg

UPDATED by Cliverton. Scroll to Bottom.

Original Post by Marcus…

“Doan Worry ‘Bout Nothin” Says A Man Who Wants No Questions From Barbados

Nope. We stupid ordinary citizens have no reason to hold up the full implementation CARICOM – so says Sir Ronald Sanders in the Barbados Advocate article The Caribbean At The End Of 2006 And Beyond (link here).

According to one of the other articles I found about Sir Ronald Sanders, he is a true elite believer in CARICOM …

In the book entitled “Crumble Small”, Sir Ronald who worked at the Caribbean Development Bank and served as consultant to the OECS and chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force stated that the small states of the Commonwealth Caribbean are in crisis and that there is need for urgent action at the domestic, regional and international levels to spare them from sinking into widespread poverty and becoming client-states of larger nations upon whom they could become economically reliant.

The man might have a point, but still I get very nervous when people start pushing with the “Just do it, everything gonna be OK” arguments for instituting CARICOM.

What’s Holding Up CARICOM?

According to Sir Ronald, two things are holding up the full implementation of CARICOM …

1/ Politicians Playing On People’s Fear Of Being Swamped With Immigrants (Notice he doesn’t say “unreasonable fear of being swamped with immigrants”)

2/ Ordinary People Don’t Understand What CARICOM Means

In an article in the Barbados Advocate, Sir Ronald lays out why he thinks CARICOM is stalling…

… At the root of this lack of progress in deepening CARICOM’s integration arrangements are two things: political pandering to, if not exploitation of, the fears by groups within national communities that they will be swamped by an influx of other Caribbean nationals into their territory; and a failure to explain effectively that CARICOM should be a single space, like the United States, where people, production, and capital of each state move freely just as, for example, the people, production and capital of Texas move to New York…

… from the Barbados Advocate article The Caribbean At The End Of 2006 And Beyond (link here).

You Have My Attention, Sir Ronald – But Do We Have Your Attention?

Can Sir Ronald or anyone assure Bajans that the full implementation of CARICOM will NOT result in Barbados being “…swamped by an influx of other Caribbean nationals…” ? We have enough immigration concerns and problems right now even without CARICOM, thank you.

Sir Ronald also says that we just don’t understand “… that CARICOM should be a single space, like the United States, where people, production, and capital of each state move freely just as, for example, the people, production and capital of Texas move to New York.”

Has Sir Ronald and the other CARICOM pushers ever considered that maybe we stupid Bajans DO UNDERSTAND what CARICOM is all about?

If Sir Ronald and other CARICOM pushers want to see progress, then they had better stop whining that we stupid ordinary people just don’t understand – and start to directly answer the valid concerns that we have.

UPDATED – by Cliverton

Just found an article by Sir Ronald Sanders on the web – seemingly at odds with his CARICOM position…

Multiculturalism Endangering British Society

It would appear that Sir Ronald has no problems with hordes of Jamaicans being able to bring their violent culture to Barbados, but damns multiculturalism in Britain. Does he see CARICOM only as a financial arrangement? Can he not see that CARICOM’s cultural implications are probably much more significant than the economic impact?

Or is it that we Caribbean island darkies are all the same to Mr. Sanders?

(Update & this offensive comment by Cliverton)

20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, CARICOM, Culture & Race Issues, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

20 responses to “CARICOM – Sir Ronald Sanders Says “Damn The Torpedos – Full Speed Ahead!”

  1. ross

    What country does Sir Ronald Sanders come from?

  2. BFP

    I believe he is or was the High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda to London, and I saw a note somewhere that he was born in … Guyana? I forget!

  3. BFP

    Interesting article by Sir Ronald – seemingly at odds with his CARICOM position…

    Multiculturalism Endangering British Society.

    It would appear that Sir Ronald has no problems with hordes of Jamaicans being able to bring their violent culture to Barbados… but damns multiculturalism in Britain.

    http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000030/003018.htm

  4. Jason

    “Or is it that we Caribbean island darkies are all the same to Mr. Sanders? ”

    Too true Cliverton. U said my mind right away.

  5. akabozik

    He be any relation to “Colonel Sanders” of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame?

    🙂

  6. reality check

    ahh there nothing ike that titled self-righteous sanctimonius approach to we the little people!!!

    Pray tell, who gave him a title and why? or did he buy it in the cocktail bureaucratic circle of life?

  7. Stupid Bajan

    “Does he see CARICOM only as a financial arrangement? Can he not see that CARICOM’s cultural implications are probably much more significant than the economic impact?”

    Well said Clive!

  8. Xavier udo

    Re: Sir Ronald Sanders

    Born Ronald Singh (RS) in a not so rich part of Georgetown, Guyana many years ago, RS used his wit and talent to work not only at the above mentioned organisations but also at the BBC in London and subsequently as High Commissioner for Antigua in London on two occasions.

    As an astute servant to the formed Antiguan PM, RS was later knighted – twice. Once by the GG in Antigua and later at the hands of HRH in the palace.

    Now known to his friends as Sir Sir, this Caribbean nomad has done well for himself by any standard.

    However his humble beginnings have played a role in him acting today on behalf of his former countrymen to knock on the door of the first world nation Barbados in an effort to get them domicile under the pending Caricom agreements.

    A futile task but one to be discussed over many a rum.

    The very best to Sir Sir and others like him during the festive season.

  9. ross

    I asked the question but had already guessed he was from Guyana. Thanks for the details.

  10. Stupid Bajan

    I respect Mr. Singh/Sanders for working his way up. I still think he is wrong to ignore or poo-poo the culture impact of Caricom.

  11. I am confused with this talk of Caricom. I thought we had gone way behond that, and Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) was what we were now concerned with?

    Clearly Sir Singh is unconcerned that to bundle the Caribbean states in one neat bag, there have to be islands which will benefit, others that will suffer.

    Barbados obviously falls into the second group as it is the best off when you balance social equilibrium and standard of prosperity against the greater natural resources of our larger Caribbean brethren.

    An influx of “undesirables” into Bim seems unavoidable once the decision to integrate fully is taken. As we have most to lose, we must consider the implications very carefully. Unlike Federation there will be no turning back once the die is cast.

  12. Going into the Advocate article I see that Singh/Sanders lists himself as a businessman and ex-diplomat. For BFP to show a photo captioned “Senior Ambassador with Ministerial Rank…” is out-of-date and misleading. It would be interesting to know where his business interests lie, but one may safely assume The Caribbean.

    Also misleading is his statement:
    “Beyond 2006 CARICOM must deepen its integration process and must, particularly, facilitate the factors of production to make Caribbean economies more competitive in the global economy.” Fine sounding words, but….

    “Factors of production” customarily include: Capital, Labour and Raw Materials, to which, these days, should be added Expertise.

    “Facilitate” means “make easier.” But how on earth can “deepening of the integration process”, whatever that woolly phrase may mean, have any direct affect on the factors of production?

    For Caribbean nations to “be more competitive in the global market” is pie in the sky, except so far as tourism goes, where our natural advantages are unequalled. You can deepen the integration process all you want, it won’t make us more competitive globally in any way I can see.

    For example; Trinidad oil and gas won’t be more competitive just because they will be able to employ Guyanese to drill for it. The unions will see too it they don’t pay them less.

    So why this unseemly attempt to rush us into an integration process which has no discernible economic advantages, and for Barbados in particular, many social disadvantages. What is this name-changed ex-Senior Ambassador’s agenda?

  13. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Barbados: Caribbean integration

  14. Euthydemos in Athens, GA

    At the risk of missing the point, it does seem to me that Sir Ronald is saying that it is
    unmanaged
    multiculturalism does not work.

    “For instead of contributing to a strong single society, it fragments society and weakens the nation through the creation of separate groups with individual identities and competing values and traditions.”

    So it would seem that he is cognizant of the effects of unmanaged multiculturalism. He goes on to say;

    “When immigrants enter a new society particularly one in which the language and customs are different from the land of their birth, the government should make provision for them to learn the language and to gain knowledge of the cultural norms. They should not be left simply to muddle through the system.”

    This would seem to incline to a governmental role in assimilating and facilitating the integration of individuals into cultures, not simply into economies, though the provision of services or education designed to incorporate them.

    Providing for free mobility of “the factors of production” which does include labour, by necessity posits the subsequent “existence of persons from ethnic minorities who are born “in” their society but are not “of” it, hence the challenge that faces government, how to manage multiculturalism so that it does not reinforce separateness?”

    The response could be one of dissinterested laissez-faire market mentality, ie. the American stance toward its immigration problem, or a response of engagement and activism.

    It requires not the maintenance of separateness, through the use of increasing governmental controls, or the reduction of individuals to simply “units of labour input,” but rather the actual facilitation of means of integration that will allow individuals to maintain their individuality, but also come to function within the norms and bounds of their new adopted culture.

    “Without such an approach, multiculturalism will do nothing more than promote discontent and weaken the nation; as it will in every other country in which it is not managed for the good of the society as a whole.”

  15. Euthy in Georgia, U.S.A.
    I see you have selected Sanders’ remarks about the U.K. to comment on. While he hits the nail on the head as to what their problems are, he offers no realistic solution how the British Government can prevent Muslims immigrants from having their own schools/faith classes, and remaining aliens in their host country.

    But in the West Indies we generally don’t have that problem. The great majority of us are of the same ethnic background, speak the same tongue, and are Christians. Even the Hindus and Moslems among us are far better integrated as West Indians than their counterparts in the U.K.

    But that has little to do with fully integrating our islands so that we lose our individuality.

    From the sound of him Sanderson would have made a good British governor back in the colonial days. He knows what is best for the darkies and they must be made to understand what he intends to implement is for their own good.

    “Let their peoples move, mingle and intermix until individual differences are a thing of the past, just like the U.S.of A. They will soon get used to it, and Barbadians will soon forget that their cultural patterns are distinct from Jamaicans.” Ha!

    The way Sanders talks it really sounds as if he has forgotten his roots. Even a person as didactic as him cannot impose sudden social homogenity upon the varying peoples of the Caribbean islands. It has to be a gradual process like the absorption into Trinidad of an estimated 300,000 Grenadians between 1965 and 1985.

    Any Barbadian politician who tries to do what Sanders preaches is likely to cause a backlash of resentment that they will never forget.

  16. Euthydemos in Athens, GA

    Bystander, I think it is probably a very tall order to say “let’s be open and hope for the best.” In all likelihood, your prophecy about backlash is correct, and few politicians have the courage to do what is best in the long term when they face the ballot box in the short term. But Sir R.’s prescription seems to be not to just hope for the best, but rather take an activist stance whereby positive attempts are made to integrate newly mobile societies. And I don’t think Sir R. is the only one making this case.

    Yet, as you say, “that has little to do with fully integrating our islands so that we lose our individuality.” If “the great majority of {you} are of the same ethnic background, speak the same tongue, and are Christians,” I don’t quite see how individuality is imperiled by migration. If it is not a cultural barrier, then what is it?

    The resistance to immigration here in the US often hints at racist xenophobia, impelled no doubt by the sheer numbers of Mexicans, and others from central america countries that seem to be flocking here now. But this is clearly a cross-cultural migration and fears are flamed by the obvious apparent differences in race, religion and even language, not to mention, work skills, lifestyle preferences and educational attainment that the new population typifies. It seems too that the fears can be based on a social, religious, or even economic dimension. I have heard claims that they will swamp our social service systems, not pay taxes, flood our jails, ruin our public schools, and bring a wave of crime, drugs and gangs.

    But almost no effort is made, at least at the policy level, to provide for any mechanism of integration. A few churches and non-profit agencies pop up to provide translation or other services, but we pretty much expect new arrivals to sink or swim on their own. Our Civil Society is very thin indeed after six years of ‘compassionate conservatism’ which is in fact neither compassion nor conservative.

    So it seems natural that enclaves, barrios, or ghettos spring up to perpetuate difference and entrench not only economic and cultural isolation, but physical as well. Because many of the new arrivals are undocumented, they are outside the legitimate employment/taxation/service structures and are by necessity forced into an underground cash-based (and therefore often quasi-illegal) economy.

    So I guess what I am saying is that it does not have to be a false dichotomy of on the one hand “total social homogenization” and on the other “total separation/isolation.” But rather it could, at least conceivably, be a case of “integration which maintaining and even embracing cultural difference and diversity.”

    But not being from Barbados, perhaps I do not have a sense of what the real fear is.

  17. Euthy in Georgia, U.S.A.

    I do not disagree with what you say in the context of the U.S.A. We are all aware Immigration Policy is a big bone of contention both between and within Republican and Democrat parties.

    I have always felt society should accept immigrants on the understanding they will integrate into the fabric of the community, not retain their identity as ethnic ghettos. The U.S.A. has shown this can work well for 150 years. And still has recently with Cuban-Americans, perhaps in contrast to Mexicans.

    However it is the Caribbean we are talking about here, not the philosophy of immigration in general.

    Perhaps it is our being scattered islands which make our differences so clearcut. Barbados is proud of what sets it apart from its Caribbean neighbors, and doesn’t want to lose those distinctions. Call that insularity if you want, but when we look at the chaos in most other CariCom states, how can you expect us to want to be like them? We have worked hard to get where we are. We don’t want to fritter it away to satisfy political theorists.

    Barbadians are possibly unaware how much they have (been) changed over the last 30 years. We have come a long way to sharing the attitudes of our neighbors, but the differences are still too great to go along with an enforced “marriage.”

    The “Small Islands” could probably integrate with a minimum of disruption as there would probably not be much migration between them. Trinidad & Tobago might easily integrate politically and socially with Grenada and St Vincent. Steps such as those would be in the right direction with a minimum of disruption.

    In the fullness of time full integration will emerge. So why rush it with “proactive” measures which, because a bride doesn’t like being forced to the altar, are very likely to cause a violent and longlasting backlash of insularity which could, in fact, delay the integration we “know” is a sensible concept.

    Politicians, economists, and other well-meaning experts bundled together the (West) Balkan countries to form Yugoslavia after WWI. It has taken nearly a century and untold bloodshed to separate them into the homogeneous states they are today. We are by no means as distinct, but “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

  18. Euthydemos in Athens, GA

    Bystander,
    Thank you for your cogent reply.

    This statement of yours helps me put it in perspective:

    “Barbados is proud of what sets it apart from its Caribbean neighbors, and doesn’t want to lose those distinctions. Call that insularity if you want, but when we look at the chaos in most other CariCom states, how can you expect us to want to be like them? We have worked hard to get where we are. We don’t want to fritter it away to satisfy political theorists.”

    I don’t think anyone is eager to see the fruits of their hard work and saving go to waste, especially if the benefits accrue to those who have not worked for it. A big part of the desire (of some) to exclude Mexicans from integration into the US is clearly a sense that “they” will take what “we” have earned.

    There is also some sense of outrage that “criminals” who entered the country illegally can be legitimized and “rewarded” by being made citizens. (Even if this is not really being proposed, see amnesty). It is obviously an injured sense of fairness behind this, why should they get rewarded for breaking the law?

    I think the dictates of globalization are often resisted because, as you have noticed, the benefits are diffuse but the costs are clear and concentrated.

    I take it that the “chaos” you mention is chiefly crime, and by looking at the Guyana and Jamaica newspapers, I can see what you mean. I will be visiting Barbados in April on a business trip, so I will be seeing first hand how “Barbados is proud of what sets it apart from its Caribbean neighbors, and doesn’t want to lose those distinctions.”

  19. Euthy, in Georgia, U.S.A.

    We wish you well on your Barbados visit in April, but doubt you get a balanced impression of how Barbados differs from its neighbours until you can visit them too. (You are likely to coincide with World Cup Cricket, when everything may be a little crazy).

    Picking a Greek soubriquet and hailing from the home of the oldest state college in the U.S., I suspect you must be an academic. You will therefore want to research not only the high crime rates in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, but also the breakdown of other social institutions. Those countries are also believed by many to be heavily involved in international drugs.

    If you read BFP often you may get the impression things have gone to pot here, but we have retained a healthy respect for the rule of law, and want to keep it that way.

  20. Namaste ,

    Hello,

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    Blessings to ALL .

    Sincerely,

    Jayshree Modha Rajyaguru BSc PhD.
    Vijay Rajyaguru PharmD.
    Jay and Nisha Rajyaguru.
    email JayshreeMR@yahoo.com
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