UPDATED: August 31, 2011
Our current article about the Barbados Tourism Authority Deputy Director, Austin Husbands, telling folks to keep quiet about bad beaches and environmental problems reminded one of our readers of this past post.
Thanks to reader “J” and yes, we think this story is worth another read…
Caribbean’s “special privileges” disappearing as our former Colonial masters push “Globalization”
Three of our readers alerted us to a newspaper article by Jorge Heine, co-author (with Ramesh Thakur) of the forthcoming book: The Dark Side of Globalization.
Although Mr. Heine focuses on the Jamaican gang situation to make his current newspaper article topical, he makes some interesting big-picture points – one of which is that our former Caribbean Colonial masters built their countries on our backs and our sugar economy. When the sugar money dried up they gave us, or agreed to, our “freedom” and “independence”. Of course our populations bought into “independence” at the time. Tourism was good and our former masters sweetened the pot with some special agreements to help our economies along.
For a time.
Now that time of “special help and consideration” is over as the new religion of Globalization (or Globalisation) becomes the mantra.
Sadly, it can rightfully be said that for the most part our own leadership squandered over 40 years of what could have been. The BLP and DLP thought the good times would never end… or perhaps they knew the money would end and that’s why both parties adopted a piggies-at-the-trough style of government when in power.
Over the years Barbados begged for and received hundreds of millions in sugar and other subsidies, grants and forgivable loans from Britain, the USA and the EU. Did we diversify our economy? Did our leaders show fiscal restraint and prioritize spending? Did we build a good foundation of water, sewer and health care infrastructure?
Nope… we had half-a-billion dollar cricket parties while old women still carried water from the standpipe. We ended up hiring unqualified Nigerian nurses because the supply of British and North American nurses wanting to work in the tropical paradise of Barbados dried up when the toilets stopped flushing and surgical gloves became a rare commodity at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
And now the Caribbean “special privileges” as (Jorge Heine calls them) are disappearing as the new god of Globalization reveals a dark side.
Can’t wait to read Mr. Heine’s new book, but in the meantime here’s an excerpt from his Star.com article…
Effects of globalization have left Caribbean region vulnerable to organized crime
“Since its inception, the Caribbean has been the most globalized region in the developing world — in terms of the powers that made it, the populations that formed it and its integration into the world economy as “King Sugar” financed several European empires. After independence, the islands latched onto special access and privileges in the markets of the old and new colonial powers.
Yet with globalization and liberalization, these privileges evaporated (the banana regime with the EU comes to mind; tax havens may be next), and Caribbean nations have been left holding the bag. Even tourism, hailed as the region’s last best hope, is succumbing to global trends. As the airfare share of a travel package gets lower, a Thai vacation can be cheaper than a Jamaican one.
Globalization embraces some and tosses out others. The Caribbean is being tossed out. The dark side of globalization then takes over. Organized crime, drug trafficking and gun running step into the vacuum. Jamaican gangs (“posses”), spread throughout North America, are among the fiercest, most effective and most difficult to infiltrate by the police. Variously defined as the United States’ “third border” or its “front yard,” the Caribbean is becoming something else entirely — a convenient drug hub to North America, its last remaining comparative advantage.
The English-speaking Caribbean is one area of the developing world with which Canada has strong bonds. Some 200,000 West Indians live in Canada, many of them in Toronto. Urban warfare in Kingston is not an odd anomaly. It may well be a harbinger of things to come as the crisis unfolds throughout the archipelago.”
Read the whole article at Star.com