The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) involves the free flow of labour, goods and capital among participating Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members states. The emergence, of this single market means that legal and administrative restrictions affecting trade, labour and technology within the CARICOM region will generally be a thing of the past.

But one of the greatest advantages is that it will encourage intra-regional trade and allow CARICOM states to negotiate as a single entity. This will afford them a better opportunity to influence policies concerning global trade. Perhaps the region may soon be a force to reckon with in the next round of World Trade negotiations.

The major issue for each state is whether its existing businesses and workforce can survive the increased competition when businesses that are more successful enter the local market. Many states are uncertain as to whether their local economy can survive the transition. From all indications, it appears that the CSME is about survival. Businesses that do not have the resources or capacity to compete will surely whither away. States that fail to develop their capacity must prepare to deal with economic calamity.

But the most debated issue is the implications for employment. The free movement of labour is limited to qualified and skilled persons. Therefore, the idea that with the emergence of the CSME will result in mass movement of unskilled persons to more prosperous member states seems far-fetched.

Of major concern to the Governments and people of the region is the potential for an increase in local unemployment as a result of more persons competing for the few available jobs. Another concern is the increased pressure that may be placed upon social and economic institutions, in the event of mass migration, and their ability to cope. Governments of the region are exploring various measures to assist the public and private sectors to adapt. However, many are of the view that, the question of whether these states have the resources to deal with negative externalities including increases in crime, poverty and unemployment levels is yet to be strategically addressed.

Whatever the issue, the CSME is a reality that all member states must confront. At the end of the day, sink or float, it’s all about survival of the fittest.

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79 comments untill now

  1. I am Embert Charles, Director of Information Services in the Office of the Prime Minister in Saint. Lucia. At present I am engaged in a programme on telecommunications regulation and policy. The discussions and initiatives related to the CSME will have some implications for the regulation of all the productive and service sectors. Can we regulate the telecmmunications sector for instance on the basis of the philosohy that the market in national. Roaming will transform the use of the telephone in some types of businesses. It is important for us to look at “movement” of services like these as well.

  2. Administrator @ 2005-06-18 14:45

    This comment originally posted by caravemous (SVG)

    Many of our leaders have been debating and making preparations for CSME. However have the people been fully educated on what CSME entails? Or has this information been kept amongst certain ones within our societies? In fact does the common man care or wish to know about CSME? Do we really believe that this will happen or is it yet another pipe dream of our esteemed leaders?

  3. Administrator @ 2005-06-19 14:51

    This comment originally posted by skeptical ( SVG)

    The title of your article mirrors my opinion on this topic: Not my business.I personally have not taken much of an interest in the CSME issue. I suppose that like many people I don’t think it affects me. I have heard a lot about it in the past months but it always seemed like a new catch phrase or the latest fad or craze, not something that would ever become a reality.Up until a few weeks ago there were ads on our local news telling people about CSME and its advantages, they have disappeared. Just this week I heard on the news that one of our Caribbean neighbours distanced itself from the CSME. All this makes me wonder if this is just another OECS Unity idea wrapped up in another package. Our leaders have been talking about that idea for years but we’re not close to even achieving this ideal. So exactly how are we supposed to pull of this CSME?

  4. Administrator @ 2005-06-20 14:57

    This comment originally posted by sweetiepie

    The average person doesnt really show any interest in the CSME at present. Many people believe that it doesnt affect them, but once it comes on stream it will affect everyone in some way whether it is negative or positive. From time to time i ask myself: is the Caribbean ready for a SINGLE MARKET? I believe that our leaders must first unite before the CSME comes on stream.

  5. Administrator @ 2005-06-21 15:01

    This comment was originally posted by Winfield (SVG)

    The questions of size and productive capacity are perhaps most critical if the CSME is going to operate in an equitable way. When we consider the condition of poorer states we cannot it is easy to see them goiong under quite quickly in a CSME since they do not have the resources – especially human – to function meaningfully within the market. This seem to be the major problem in everybody’s mind. It is conceivable that these poorer countries will end up being mere importers of products from the larger states in the CSME.
    Thus measures will have to be taken to counteract this. Two possible ones are:
    1. the creation of some sort of cushion facility which will enable the poorer states to find their feet in the CSME;
    2. the creation of a facility to help them to narrow the resource gap between them and the larger economies.
    I do not know if this has already been considered, but I feel that this must be a major strategy if the poorer states are to survive in a CSME.

    Winfield Williams, SVG

  6. Administrator @ 2005-06-21 15:09

    This comment was originally posted by Kyron B ( SVG)

    How many times do we have to toy with the issue of unification, to be convinced that we are not ready and would not be ready for such. Federation has proven this; so has been the much touted Caribbean Common Market/CARICOM – the biggest failure yet.

    CSME is just threatening to do what CARICOM should have done at least two decades ago.My biggest concern is that the unfication would be to the adavantage of the bigger,more resource powerful countries and small islanders would just continue to be just small islands, barring a few jobs small island states would be able to seek out in Barbados and God knows where else. Small islands would continue to be net-importers, much thanks to the petrol subsidization policy of the Government of Trinidad, which would ensure that no other country produce more than they can and cheaper than they – talking about level playing field. WTO Rules wont be able to protect us from this and do not even think for a minute CCJ would survive ruling aginst the large family owned businesses who control governments in the islands.

    Jamaica continues to be the single most destructive force in any effort to unite economically. Federation taught us a lesson we should not forget. Remember they did not want to ‘breast feed’ smaller countries like our now OECS, but more and more of their human capital are sucking the last milk from these same smaller countries they do not want to be economically tied to.

    I conclude by saying that CSME is not gong to work without a full economic union. Jamaica as usual was first out of the blocks to indicate that they do not wish for an economic union, but would support the single market (well said P.J Patterson). They keep breaking down the wall before the foundation is laid.. Exclude Jamica and Guyana and let us proceed for not just the single market ( which would benefit only the ‘big guns’) and forge for economic union so real unification can be effected and we become the stronger force to reckon with on global trade issues. By the way, it would be interesting to see how our lackluster leaders debate the issue of rising crime and its effects on direct foreign investment to this disunited region.

  7. Administrator @ 2005-06-24 15:12

    This comment was originally posted by Vynnie V (SVG)

    I tend to go with bearker on the issue of the CSME and what it would mean practically to the caribbean and to vincentians in particular. Of course from an academic and theoretical point of view the CSME is a major step towards improving our status as an economic block with some power collectively BUT in reality what will and has been happening is this: the countries with more resources and more developed marketing have been grabbing the spotlight and the market share…CARIB taking over HAIROUN might be sooner than you think…where does that leave struggling economies like ours…without the ability to protect ourselves through the use of licenses and tariffs the level playing field will surely overwhelm us. I have one thing to say to those embracing the CSME…EUROPEAN UNION.

  8. Administrator @ 2005-06-24 15:19

    This comment was originally posted by salts (St. Lucia)

    While we move towards economic unification, the cost associated with the movement of goods and services through the region should also be in the microscope. This may very well be one important factor to our unification.

    The issues of “Maritime Boundary Delimitation” between States should be attended to, in cases where such issues remain unresolved conflicts continue to exist, such conflicts can and will continue to present some difficulty at the political level.

    The success of the CSME rest in our hands lets continue to work towards making it a reality. We are One Caribbean, let us all get to the task at hand, our only barrier is our history and the waters which separates us.

  9. Administrator @ 2005-06-24 15:24

    This comment was originally posted by star

    In the Bahamas, politicians have allowed this CSME thing to get out of hand BEFORE proper education took place.

    “Understandably, the government’s apparent reliance on what political scientist Felix Bethell calls “popular opinion” – talk shows, town meetings and letters to the editor – as a source of informed opinion, has been less than productive for those wishing to understand what in fact is at stake.” Caribbean Net News

    According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahamian Ambassador to Caricom Leonard Archer is the nation’s leading expert on Bahamas-Caribbean relations. He issued a booklet answering the top 38 questions on CSME, which was distributed to each MP in February 2005. Why was such a booklet not dessemiated to everybody else? Regardless of what they say, the primary objective of each MP is to stay in power and keep their seat. How can you trust a politician of any party to truly give an objective showing of the facts? Why can’t the Bahamian people get the information BEFORE it is filtered through the mouths of politicians?

    The truth? Trust no one and find out for yourself.

  10. Administrator @ 2005-09-25 15:26

    This comment was submitted by Earl (St. Lucia)

    I read this in Costa Rica on Marcus Garvey’s birthday (August 17) while attending a two-day discourse on hemispheric integration (the OAS). It was a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean spokespersons for Presidents and Prime Ministers. By the end of the first session, I had reaffirmed my long-held conclusion that the obstacles to regional integration are the same everywhere. They include the same: ignorance, fear, uncertaintly, unwillingness, lack of sincerity, etc. The aims and onjectives may be laudable or even necessary and they may even be inescapable. But whether we talk of NAFTA or CAFTA, MERCOSUR or CSME, the pace of progress seems to be more in the direction of doubt than will.

    I think progress towards the CSME is suffering from all the above. I’ve heard lots of analyses of the reasons why things are not what they should be, but this is so with all effortrs to regional integration, from Federation to CARIFTA to CARICOM. What usually happens is that with the various islands and territories involved at different levels of economic and political growth and maturity, national governments are invariably swayed in the direction of satisfying their domestic demands before implementing in full regional agreements that would have less of an impact on the domestic agenda. The cause of national political survival will always take precedence over the demands of a regional agenda, especially when the principle of unanimity obtains and there is always an election next year in one country or another. To this extent, readiness or willingness to take the dcisions that will send bold or straight messages of committment will never be what most would like for as long as there are the types of concerns and fears being expressed and not responded to.

    The best explanation I’ve heard of the fear sysdrome was y a Barbadian spokesperson on the CSME, who said people must understand that when they say “we ain’t ready yet for CSME” that this is actually true, because we are in fact trying something new, something that’s never been done before and of which we have no inspiring experiuence to fall back on. As such, she argued, the regional citizenry needs to accept the uneven nature of things and allow for and support the taking of decisions that may sound painful now, but which can be made to work if thought out in an atmosphere of support instead of fear and uncertainty.

    Here in St. Lucia we continue to hear about the same fears of other Caribbean societies: We (in the OECS) are at a disadvantage, so we eh ready yet; Foreign (meaning, other Caribbean) companies will swallow or drown smaller local ones; Eliminating protection and leveling the playing field will leave too many here at a disadvantage; We are not being consulted or informed enough; Too many “foreigners” will get work here too easily. Too many thieves and criminals from other territories will be able to come here too freely; etcetera, etcetera…

    Insensitivity, over-sensitivity an timidity on the part of some of those charged with selling the CSME is another phenom worth watching. There are times when the persons charged with selling the idea may not themselves believe in it; or there can be political mitigating factors having to do with partisan apprehensions or fear of being labelled as promoters of the political agenda of the ruling party. In cases where this apprehension is promoted and sustained by the media, proponents cop out or duck under the cover of annonymity. Thus, the only discussion is in and between blogs of invisible people. But this form, while an essential ingredient, isn’t, by itself, a great contributor to public understanding generally, as large sections of the population are denied the privilege of such an exchange of views.

    Knee-jerk response to any kind of criticism is another factor. Proponents and opponents, in too many cases, talk in terms of each claiming to be right, leaving hardly any room for compromise or understanding each other. Constructive criticism or bare statement of fact can lead to personal attacks with the messenger being killed for the message.

    Actually, I share the view that more needs to be done by all. The politicians here are inibited by two factors. One is the opposition’s reluctance to treat this as a political priority; the other is the government’s care not to politicise this initiative and to allow those charged with selling it to do so without appearing to be manipulated by the political directorate.

    I think that for it to work, the whole movement must be taken to the public forum in ways that are both creative and uncomplicated. People must be shown the current models and mechanisms of regional integration that already work in the Caribbean. (They do exist!))Minimum goals must be set, rather than the usually ambitious and absolute schedules and deadlines that we have been accustomed to setting and failing to achieve. Realism must replace idealism.

    Some serious minds must take this on and build a multi-sectoral alliance to help push the process along further than is being done by those charged with doing so. They have their limitations; others have strengths on standby. But no one has the absolute answer. We’re doing this for the first time, so we must be ready to bounce a toe or two on the rough road to regional integration in a world of new global challenges and threats that also bring with them their own challenges and opportunities. It is how we handle each that will decide — not how loud we speak.

  11. Administrator @ 2005-08-18 15:28

    This comment was originally posted by fosgate

    With CSME there can be many advantages but the leaders must face the fact that unlike the EU, all the member states are not at the same level economically. disadvantages would arise from this and can cause disputes between nations. the leaders need to converge on a common basis and try to involve the people/society. democracy should be encouraged. views and comments by the people should be taken into consideration before any important decision is made regarding the development of the CSME. the caribbean people should be educated about the CSME via the media.

  12. Administrator @ 2005-06-24 15:31

    This comment was originally posted by Vynnie V (SVG)

    I tend to go with Barker on the issue of the csme and what it would mean practically to the caribbean and to vincentians in particular. Of course from an academic and theoretical point of view the CSME is a major step towards improving our status as an economic block with some power collectively BUT in reality what will and has been happening is this: the countries with more resources and more developed marketing have been grabbing the spotlight and the market share…CARIB taking over HAIROUN might be sooner than you think…where does that leave struggling economies like ours…without the ability to protect ourselves through the use of licenses and tariffs the level playing field will surely overwhelm us. I have one thing to say to those embracing the CSME…EUROPEAN UNION.

  13. Administrator @ 2005-08-18 15:34

    This comment was originally posted by Paradigm Shift (St. Lucia)

    I noted the comments and while I can identify with C Lendor’s comments that “whether we support the CSME or not I believe that we must take collective responsibility for the survival of our nations in a post CSME environment”.

    It begs attention to a greater issue. Our ‘readiness’ for such an initiative as CSME. Readiness to my mind should first address the type of service “we” deliver. Previously the whole hype was about globalisation, now it is CSME. We didn’t change our attitudes or how we do business then and I wonder how much we will now.

    While I admit that there are days that I don’t feel like going to work. I remember that the organisation is short of staff, and I go, not for me, but to ensure continuity and productivity. I hardly ever take a lunch hour, yes that is excessive, but it is all about attitude. Attitude depicts readiness.

    So if some people aren’t bothered, what does that say about “readiness”, it could be that they are very prepared or that they could care less. I don’t have a Degree so I ambeing forced to ensure that whatever my financial situation that I do so soon, because even though I might have the right attitude, paper says all these day (certificates).

    So I pose this line of thought HOW READY ARE YOU?

    In direct reference to my quote, should I have to display “collective responsibility” for persons who refuse to make themselves “ready”.

    I am a little fearful, but I do believe that in everything there is balance, I perceive there will be some major confusion initially but that things will taper off.

  14. Administrator @ 2005-06-25 15:40

    This comment was originally posted by linsido

    I can see an increase in local unemployment, crime and poverty. Tese already exist within individual Caricom countries but with the implementationof the CSME disparities willbe made more distinct as these influences will be acting over a larger spatial area.

    Wit the free movement of skilled and qualified labour along withcapital, investors can invest in the member state which offers a comparative advantage. Herein lies the possibility of the countries with advanced communication systems andinfrastructure, fuel resourcesand space evolving to become core regions within the CSME, adopting the qualities of such regions. In contrast the lesser developed nations will become the periphery.

    Such a situation is consistent with Mr.Owen Arthur’s claim that “the CSME has the ability to expose the vulnerability of a country’s economy.

    The skilled and qualified labour being of high demand will migrate to core countries, creating a redistribution of “:brain power, advantageous tothe core but damaging to the periphery.

    The consequences will be prosperity in the core- high employment, highGDP, low poverty and crime, while the periphery suffers with the decline in employment, infrastructure and GDP.Coupled with the free movement of goods non-competetive industries may dieor be crippled further reducing the prospectof the development of the periphery. The economic institutions will therefore be pressured to sustain activity in the periphery. It’s all about survival.

  15. Administrator @ 2005-06-26 15:43

    This comment was posted by King (SVG)

    The CSME issue can simply be solved by carefully weighting the pros and the cons and also measuring it against the next best alternative.With these addressed, all other attitudes and minor obstacles like which set of countries stand to benefit most should be set aside. A saying goes that,’it is better to have a 100% of the effort of 100 men than a 100% of the effort of one man’, and I strongly believe that this applies to the issue of unification and the CSME.

    It is the business of every Caricom National‘ to become fully engaed in the current dialogue and discourse regarding Caribbean Unity since it becoming a reality or it being aborted once again has far reaching consequences for all.

    In my opinion, it is more than high time for a renewed vigor and vision in all Caribbean People to rise and take hold of our unified destiny which has forever been knocking on our doors.

    Finally, let’s quit looking at the ‘cannots’and start dancing to the song, ‘Go CSME GO!!’

  16. Administrator @ 2005-07-06 15:46

    This comment was originally posted by Elmer

    The question we must ask ourselves is if the benefits of forming the CSME outweigh its drawbacks, which I believe they do. This is an economic and political decision and it must be approached as such; that said, there are going to be some “casualties of war” so to speak, but they will have “died” for the glory of the greater good. The the CSME cannot be successful if it waits for every developing state to become strong enough to survive the inevitable challenges brought about by joining a single market. However, there are ways to make the impact less detrimental; this unified entity can either behave as many individual states competing against each other in a “dog eat dog” capitalist market, or it can work together so that no state gets left behind. The latter of these options will only function properly if the more prosperous states have incentive to help those that are less developed.

    I see two possible solutions to this:

    1) the less devoloped states could join together to form confederations so that all states are on equal standing in regards to available economic and agricultural resources. These confederations could then easily compete with the larger independent states and CARICOM would thrive without stepping on the weaker states.

    2) The larger states could be offered incentives such as tax breaks or lower tariffs as a result of giving financial or agriculutural assistance to the smaller states. This way the CSME would be growing from the inside out with the mindset that the strong is helping the weak for the greater good.

    Either way, if the CSME is to prosper as a unified entity, it must behave as such. This will not only earn global respect from a humanitarian point of view, it will improve the economic status of CARICOM so that it will have more power and agency in the WTO. Aren’t these, after all, the real reasons for forming the CSME? And if they are not, what are they?

  17. Administrator @ 2005-07-14 20:02

    This comment was originally posted by Les E. Fair (SVG)

    I can’t help but think that this whole CSME affair is nothing more than an attempt by some politicians to get their pictures in a history book

    After all the talk, can someone tell me frankly how the life of the average citizen will change if, in the future, he will pay VAT instead of import duty on windows imported from Trinidad that are less expensive than those locally-manufactured before and after CSME?

  18. Administrator @ 2005-09-02 20:10

    This comment was originally posted by C. Lendor

    Interestingly enough, I was reading an article from the Star Newspaper, which stated that the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) submitted a proposal to the Caricom Secretariat, requesting an extension of five (5) years to allow them to make the necessary preparations for the CSME. According to the Keith Smith, President of the SMA about 80% of members was not prepared to compete on the same playing field as organisations in more advanced economies.

    The article also referred to an address, by Senator Sandra Husbands-Nurubakari, President of the Caribbean Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, where she highlighted the need for Caribbean economies to begin producing a wider range of goods and services and expand their markets. She also spoke of the need for them to produce quality good and services at competitive prices. According to Husbands-Nurubakari, Caribbean countries were forced to implement CSME to survive globalization and the World Trade Organisation

    This call for an extension of the implementation period, in my opinion is typical of business persons in Caribbean, taking a reactive approach to development and change in particular…they are always trying to play “catch-up”. Discussions regarding the implementation of the CSME did not begin yesterday, they must have known that this was inevitable, after all, how else can we expect Caribbean economies to compete in this global environment? The thing is you give them five (5) years to implement the changes and five years later they will be asking for another five (5) years. It is survival of the fittest..if you are not ready…too bad.

    How many Caribbean businesses have seriously considered the Internet as a means for penetrating other markets?…very few. I lament the fact that we still view the Internet as a medium for chatting (hmmm, that’s what 90% use it for) or sending email. For most businesses that have at least taken the steps to develop a website, they have not seen the need to develop their customer base, provide useful and fresh information for their clients or promote their products and services. In effect they are yet to see the potential of the Internet. Caribbean businesses are forever content to play second fiddle, then wonder why their businesses are not competitive.

  19. Administrator @ 2005-06-21 20:14

    This comment was originally posted by C. Lendor

    With reference to Winfield’s comment, Protocol VII makes provision for Less Developed Countries (OECS, Guyana, Belize). Under Protocol VII, LDC’s with economies that are displaced as a consequence of implementing the CSME would receive economic support, benefit through investment programmes as well as programmes aimed at encouraging economic diversification and or restructuring of their economies.

  20. Administrator @ 2005-06-20 20:20

    This comment was originally posted by C. Lendor

    While I do applaud this marriage, I believe there are major issues that must be given serious consideration prior to this union.

    Of main concern are:

    Do “poorer states” have the capacity and resourcesto support additional stresses that may be placed on their social institutions?

    How will small businesses in smaller and poorer nations deal with additional competitors in their respective sectors?

    Is the labour force of small nations equipped with the knowledge and skills to compete in the CSME?

    That said, whether we support the CSME or not I believe that we must take collective responsibility for the survival of our nations in a post CSME environment.

    The way I see it, the CSME is not your business… it is MY business.

  21. We have finally transferred all the comments and credited the various persons who took the time to post on the former home of talkCSME.

    We have heard your call for a more user friendly board and have responded to that call. We sincerely believe that the issues with regard to the posting comments is now a thing of the past. As always we welcome your comments and look forward to contributions from the stakeholders of the CSME and your continued support in our quest to promote the development of one nation.

    Sincerely,

    the TalkCSME team

  22. JUE ANNE @ 2005-10-30 09:05

    The Federation of the West Indies failed in the 60′s . Therefore I have no faith that Caricom members can remain as one. The negatives will outweigh the positives and with all the division across several borders, CSME will not last very long.

  23. I spent some time in Barbados late last year and I realised that nearly all the people I talked to there, in one of the more developed of the Caricom countries, had not a clue as to how globalization of free trade would impact Barbados and the West Indies in general. At least in my estimation of the possible impact.

    This is not their fault. After all they don’t live in an industrialized country or have the exposure to the vagaries of an aggressive capitalist environment as some of us do.

    I think that those few West Indians who have an understanding of the situation have a responsiblity to become active, if they really care and wherever they are in the world, and must intervene in some way to lobby for and to educate those who need to be better informed about the changing world in which we live. All West Indians all over the world need to become informed and pay attention to the development of the CSME, because it cannot afford to fail! I believe that those of us in the developed countries who have gained such knowledge and experience have a responsibility to contribute to the success of the CSME. Otherwise you should not feel proud to be a West Indian. Every West Indian I have ever met in the US says they are proud to be from wherever they are from in the West Indies. For the ones that say that the CSME does not involve them, when other people from the outside own everything in your country might be when you see how it involved you.

    It doesn’t matter how much the governments involved might cooperate and adhere to international regulations, those countries don’t stand much of a chance at their present stage of economic, social development and life experience. And even so, it might be a case of too little to late.

    Yes, we are intelligent and resourceful and resilient, but we are about to enter into a game where we don’t control the rules and the other side doesn’t always play fair. And it’s not cricket we’re talking about. The event is upon us, and I, who like to think that I am well informed, living in the US, only found out about the CSME last year, I’m ashamed to say. Of course, since I became aware, I have been paying attention and encouraging others to pay attention.

    We can nitpick all we want and point out everything that is going to go wrong and why the CSME is not going to work or that the leaders need to unite first. What we are really doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy; we are contributing to the failure of the CSME. It is not only up to the leaders to make the CSME succeed; it is up to the people too, and we are the people, and it doesn’t matter how many problems we can see, but what matters is for us to help to solve those problems. A defeatist attitude does not help. The CSME could fail, but if it does and we all did not try to make it work, then we have ourselves to blame. Saying ‘I told you so’ is not acceptable.

    I believe the answer is education. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and we all need to be forearmed with the knowledge required, so that we can all comprehend the complexity and gravity of the issue, and there are enough of us out there who, in this age of technology and the virtual world, can collaborate in the dissemination of information by using discussion lists and blogs.

    Consider the implications of the failure of the CSME. Can you think of ways to prevent failure?

    The 2000 United States census collected statistics on West Indians living in the US as a separate group, down to the country level, and the demographics looked good enough for the business world to take a closer look at a viable market segment. It seems they think we are doing well enough, and we are. All of us, West Indians and our succeeding generations, who live in the industrialized countries have more discretionary income than the vast majority of people in the Caricom countries, and we spend that money any way we feel like because us is OURS that we worked for. And we invest some of our money in a number of ways, from the stock market to savings to retirement accounts, etc. Why not see the CSME as a new frontier that is ours? Why not invest some of our money there? After all, we recognize opportunity and understand investing, or so we say.

    Of course there are going to be internal growing pains, and you have to ask yourself, of all the people in the world, who is going to help ease those pains. The answer is nobody but us, because in the global marketplace, corporate entities do not show mercy.

    So here we are, proud West Indians, who are intelligent and sophisticated, living in North America, or Europe, or elsewhere in the world, in the shadow of the larger society and holding our own, while at the same time complaining about the society in which we live because we know that opportunities are limited for the majority of us. And yet proud of ourselves! I would like to know where the loyalty lies of those who say that the CSME does not involve them. If it is to their adopted country, then why post on this list.

    If asked where that pride comes from, we all know the answer. Now is the time for us to show that pride. If we do not participate we will become even more disconnected and that will be neither good for us nor Caricom. We always tend to attribute the problems of all black people as a lack of unity. Well here is the only chance we might ever get to try to define our own independence, and the only chance we might ever get to try to chart our own future within our own culture(s), or possibly lose it forever. It is not just about us, but also about the future generations.

    The West Indies is a paradise, one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it is ours. If we do not act we will lose it! Let us use our independence.

    I live in the USA, I work in the information service industry, and this is my view.

    Ozymandias

  24. Let us work work towards promoting CARICOM through our non-governmental organizations in Caribbean and Diasporas. It also important that other groups are brought on board.

    It is however, more important for us to Lobby for Political Union, becuase right now many decisions within CARICOM will not work the way it should work because the political will is not there but if we push for Political Union then we all benefit from CARICOM.

  25. Ashworth Henry @ 2005-11-29 02:01

    The debate about the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)continues. The major issues surrounds the effects of the CSME on the existing businesses,the workforce and the entire regional states.The is some confusion on the subject partly because the following:
    1) ignorance of the implications of such a market,
    2) denial that it is a reality
    3) or the natural resistance of human beings to change
    4) the failure of member states to confront the challenges that the CSME
    presents.
    However, we look at it the CSME is every one’s Business. It is the only way forward for the CARICOM States to be globally competitive. We have to look outside the box. In the Caribbean we have small open economies, a population of about 6 million people,we lack the capital and the technology to invest in the production of goods and services to make us competitive with the rest of the world.
    However the emergence of this single market would allow us to integrate the few resources that we have together so that we could benefit from the economies of scale. Singley we are weak with scattered resources- oil in Trinidad & Tobago,Bauxite in Jamaica and Guyana and agriculture to name a few. However, what if we had the factors of production to be able to extract the bauxite from Jamaica or Guyana and use cheap sources of energy in Trinidad & Tobago to smelt Alumina or manufacture aluminium products oh what great benefit we would get from such a venture. We would be able to do what the oil producing states( OPEC) has done with oil that is negiotiate prices, set quotas and become a force to recon with in the market.
    Lets look at more benefits apart from the free flow of labour, goods and capital among participating states. For our agriculture we cannot compete with prices because our cost of production is too high. However if we were to invest invest in new technology, pool resources and designate which area is best suited for the crops we grow we would be able to compete with our agricultural products.
    Of major Concern though is the issue of integration. The CARICOM was a market that did not allow for integration it was a mere facilitator. Will there be greater integration under the CSME? or will the CSME produce the desired results? the answers to these questions we will only know with the passage of time. Whatever the challenges are we will have to take a united approach to find solutions as it is all about the ability to adapt and re position our selves to build on our competitive advantages in a global market.

  26. Althea Ranglin @ 2005-12-10 21:19

    Hey I have read your article and found some interesting points. Now, my questions is, ” how does Jamaica organisation stands to benefit from csme?” I would be grateful for your reply.

  27. racquel whint @ 2005-12-21 16:17

    I understand that many young Grenadians are not fully aware of the negative impact of CSME on the economy of Grenada. The govenment is not making it an issue in order to make young people understand what CSME is all about

  28. I know for sure that a lot of people are not educated about The CSME. I myself am a UWI graduate and it affects me but yet I have not taken the time to get any indepth info about it. I think that there is the need for more open forum discussions where questions can be asked and answered. On the web would be even better as I find that in open public forums not everyone gets their chance to be heard. I’m going to submit a question here, feel free to answer is anyone knows. As a UWI graduate, what do I need to travel with should I seek to relocate to another island within the CSME member states. I look forward to a reply as I trust this is a hot topic.

  29. Mikey Bedasie @ 2006-01-12 15:35

    I am a student at Cipriani Labour College persuing Human Resourse Management. One of my assignments is to write a paper on the C.S.M.E. and to form an opinion – forming an argument as to its viabality in achieveing its objectives. The information provided is invaluable for my purpose. Thank you

    Mikey Bedasie

  30. Gina Hortance @ 2006-01-17 09:53

    I believe there needs to be a marriage amongst Trade/Commerce consultants with a different set of Caribbean and Trade experience such as French Antilles/Europe and Emerging Markets who wish to intraregionally interconnect but are unable to demystify the common MYTHS.

    I am such a consultant.

    I do represent many interests in the French Antilles and several emerging markets interested in connecting to the “CSME”. I also represent interests in markets to which the Caribbean region has NEVER connected with…

    Should we talk about these possibilities or are we going to rely solely on the INBOX” attitude or the REGIONAL LEADERSHIP?

    Business people and Entrepreneurs MUST take the lead and maximize their knowledge base in order to create a great capitalistic environment for the nationals within that interest group.

    I built a completely outside the box TRADE PORTAL, will the CSME connect to it?

    I welcome all those who wish to talk to me SERIOUSLY about the possibilities of bilateral trade intra-regionally, trade with emerging markets to contact me at hortancetrade@yahoo.com.

    I have been traveling with the USAID and other agencies training women on e-commerce and speaking on e-commerce and the ethnic markets. I would certainly like my caribbean business friends (that I have yet to meet) to know of this effort and see how my experience can be utilized in the CSME and mutually benefit from our encounter.

    God bless!

  31. Its unfortunate that no one picked this up. The word is not Caribbean Single Market and Economy but CARICOM Single Market and Economy. There is a big difference between the two and I have seen a lot of mistakes as well coming from the media when disseminating information on the CSME. For it to be Caribbean, it would mean integration with our French Sister Islands, US island territories and UK territories.

  32. D. Martial @ 2006-01-29 21:29

    I have read most of the comments and it is interesting to note that many individuals lack faith in the purpose of CSME. I fimly believe that if the CSME will have a negative impact on the average worker (most Caricom countries have too many) then it should be dumped.

  33. i understand that all the talk that is going around about how economicaaly stable are the Caricom member states and the survival of the CSME. It appears that these factors are very realistic but solvible. Can no one see that all though the federation was a failure that we are in a new era, a new time. Our resources may be limited but if we use them wisely without being selfish the caribbean will come up on top. Divide and rule is an old plan, come together as a people and conquer the world. Moreover i have heard no discussion on how the csme will affect service quality in the tourism industry. We are moving people from one country to a another with varying backgrounds. and understanding of tyhe ways things are done. What about th hotel industry, although persons throughout the caribbean have migrated and found work in these areas we now have masses moving. How will they adjust to such pressures? The CSME is a great movement for the caribbean if they stop from being selfish and share with each other there could never hold the caribbean back.

  34. The CSME would be a plus for the region. Of course there will be some negative effects initially but over time these would all begin to improve as greater unity is achieved.

  35. Dwayne Thomas @ 2006-02-06 17:45

    I believe that in the short term the CSME will impact Jamaica labor market negatively. This I believe, because Jamaicans will not be able to take up new highly qualified jobs even if they become available. Jamaicans are not the most qualified in the region per capita and definitely not the most certified skilled. With this in mind it is safe to say that Jamaica will benefit from the CSME in the medium to long term.

  36. Lloyd Gollop @ 2006-02-16 16:54

    The truth is that CSME has only just made legal, that which the caribean has lived for many years. Can any one deny thoes beautiful hawker women from st. vincent and st. lucia who sat on corners of streets in historic bridgetown selling healthy “grung pavisions” to a “wanting it nation” for so many decades the right to be here. Without these women being there, Bridgetown would lack a certain character.
    The flying fish caught on the east coast of Barbados are sons of fathers in the waters of Trinidad. Almost every one I know either have friends or is related to someone in another teritory in our caribean country. Why should they not have the right to visit at will and stay as long as they like or even live with friends and family.
    I would venture to suggest that much of the aprehention seen in the peoples of the caribean was generated by thoes in authority. Let me give you an example. A few years ago While revisiting an island, I got off the plane with two friends. We were the only caribean people on the plane apart from two others going home. Needless to say my friends and I were made to stand and be interigated for twenty mins. while folks from Germany and England casually stroll right through. It is sad to say but this happens to our people daily. Such pratices breeds resentment, distrust and even fear,and you ask yourself why am I not welcome in, or by my own. Look what can happen from a simple scenario. While we do not require the red carpet a simple welcome, how are you can do. Fishermen are being shot at, taken, thrown in jail and made to grace the front page. How about a detention and a simple phone call to the right authorities. In short, where is the diplomacy in such simple maters. The need to explore for mankind is instinctive. We need to move around and living on these tiny rocks in the caribean sea with expanding populations giving that clostophobic feeling makes that need even more urgent. therefore I venture to suggest that free movement of people at a cost they can afford could be one of the solutions to crime. In other words If I am in a teritory and not making it but is allowed to, I would try my luck in another. If in a teritory not making it and cannot leave the alternitive is may be crime. Now tell these same people you are now free to go.
    I suggest that thoes who were once given the “Raw Deal” would be ready by the thousands. Thoes from the more afluent teritories would be filled with Questions as is the current case.
    I belive in the CSME. lets give it a chance.

  37. ANDREA ROBINSON @ 2006-02-27 16:57

    I DO NOT THINK JAMAICA WILL BENIFIT MUCH FROM THE CSME WHERE THE FREE FLOW LABOUR IS CONCERN. THIS WILL CAUSE BRAIN DRAIN FOR THE COUNTRY: BECAUSE ALREADY THERE ARE LITTLE AND NO JOB OPPURTUNITIES FOR THE UPCOMING YOUTHS AND SO THEY WILL BE GRAVITATED TO OTHER CARIBBEAN ISLANDS WHERE THEY CAN FIND JOBS AND OTHER OPPURTUNITIES AND AS FOR US IN JAMACICA ONLY A FEW WILL BE WILLING TO STAY AND SO VERY SOON ALL THE EDUCATED ONES WILL BE OUT OF THE ISLAND OF JAMAICA

  38. Concerned Trini @ 2006-03-03 15:57

    Informative, yes. This article was great, but what was not mentioned is how everyone will try to come to Trinidad and Tobago believing it to be the best country right now. When we know that the rest of the Caribbean does not like us. Where will I be ? Why must I have to leave my country if I don’t find a job, and if I stay, why must I work with non-nationals. When I have perfectly capable Trinbagonian friends and family unemployed. We all know how the TnT government sucks up to others, leaving there own in the dust. We must become informed. I say down with the CSME.

  39. I really do not understand the csme well but one of the thing that I will be grateful to know is some of the advantages of the csme on the economies.
    I would be grateful for an urgent reply.

  40. I was searching for a place to ask this question however, not much luck. ” What is the language situation going to be like for the CSME since not all these countries are English speaking?” What are some of the language situations that will arise? I know what we think here in Jamaica but what do you guys from other locations think. Please help, this is a study we are doing in school. Hope to hear from anyone soon. Thanks!!!

  41. I was looking for info on CSME like is the CSME involved in any of these policies listed below?
    One currency, market, Common trade policy, free movement of skills.
    free movement of skill common trade free establishment of business
    One govt. free establishment of business, one economy
    common trade policy, one currency, one govt. one market

  42. I hope this csme help St Lucia in job wise.

  43. Don’t think competition, think partnership.

    That should be the theme song of every business within the caribbean region if they plan to survive within or without the CSME. How does partnership begins? By realising that I need you and you need me. We both strive on the same fuel – our life blood – which is our customers. Companies need to look at ways they can complement each other and merge services, which will ultimately bring total satisfaction to our customers. For example, we got Store A and Store B on a street with 20 customers. Why should the two of them be selling the same product, and competing for the customers. What would be the end result, one store will serve 12 customers and the other will serve 8. Wouldn’t it be nice if both stores could serve all 20 customers. The solution – Store A invest in grocery and clothing…Store B invest in hardware and electronics. They both serve 20 customers, and the customers are happy because everything they need is located in close proximity. Eventually, they merge and become Store AB — their overhead is cut in half, they can afford to lower their prices and maintain the same or even a better profit margin. The customers benefit even more and begin to brag about quality goods at lower prices…the word spreads around town and other customers are now being attracted to store AB.

    I believe the same strategy can be employed by businesses within the caribbean region. Instead of competing for survival, they can partner for sustainable existence. Why should business A compete with business B until business B is out of business? When the customer can’t find what he wants at business A, he will eventually turn to business C, which may be in another town, or district, or even another country. The economy then becomes threatened and unstable when a customer spreads his dollar too thin. The more money is spent in a region, the stronger the economy becomes. We can’t depend on governments. They are politicians – need I say more.

    Think “MSNBC”, “HP/COMPAQ”, “BMW/Rover”, “General Mills/Pillsbury”, “Johnson-Diversey”…. Why didn’t Microsoft get into media, why didn’t NBC get into software engineering. If I make doors, and you make hinges, wouldn’t it be much easier for us to partner, so that our customers can get his door and hinges easier. Moreover, my 10 customers and your 8 customers will become our 18 customers. How can that be a bad idea.

    But how do we build the foundation necessary for such partnership? We begin by building trust and being honest with our customers. If a customer comes to Store A for a product, but he can’t find specific size or weight, Store A refer him to Store B for a possible solution.

    This may be a very hard pill to swallow. But for a real life example, we can consider the internet. How did the internet started? Well, simple…a networking of computers to share resources. Then different businesses set up web sites on this network, and linked to other sites. Initially, surfers used to navigate from site to site using links. Everything was fine. I linked to you and you linked to me and they linked to us, and the surfers could select anyone of us for services. But then I got greedy…I wanted all the customers for myself, so I removed your link from my site. You realised a reduction in visits, then you eventually found out I removed you from my site, so you returned the favour and removed my link from my site.

    Eventually, the surfers were deprived of the easy navigation which was once provided by our links. This paved the way for a “smart facilitator” who said “Hey I will facilitate the surfers. Everyone just enlist in my directory, and I promise that surfers will find you” So everyone stopped linking (lack of trust) to each other, and the all linked (trusted) this Facilitator. Eventually, this Facilitator grew so large, it began to charge for listings, and sometimes you have to pay $0.01 for every visitor that he sends your way. Now Google has a networth that is more than GM and Ford combined!

    Is that what we want for our Caribbean region? Don’t think competition, think partnership. The CSME can be the mechanism.

  44. What is your current position on CSME?
    How will it benefit the bahamas today?

  45. The history Csme

    In the begin there was only the colonics under the British rule until 1959 after years of cries the British created the W.I Federation and for one brief moment it work under the ruling of Bradley Adams (a British appointed leader) but on 1962 Jamaica decided to leave the W.I.Federation and then Trinidad & Tobago left causing the others to soon after leave to get there independents. From that day there was a lot of regret and there have did moves to reintegrate again for example education (U.W.I & C.X.C) , the smaller country integrate to form the O.E.C.S , there is even an incorporate of the banks call C.D.B – Caribbean development bank but only in trade there was a real integration called C.A.R.I.F.T.A. C.A.R.F.T.A. began solely as a trading portfolio later expands into culture. So it was the core of reintegration of the Caribbean. Soon they decided to have a sit down where they the great minds and personality discus how to make C.A.R.F.T.A. better when Sir Shredath Ramphal gave them idea to create the Caricom. Soon after that he wrote a book call “time for action”.
    They later decided that they was moving towards integration so there was another meeting and they decided upon some new changes that from the Csme. The main question is can it work?
    All of the research and information says yes but do you think so!
    Caribbean single market

  46. The discussions and initiatives related to the CSME will have some implications for the regulation of all the productive and service sectors. Can we regulate the telecmmunications sector for instance on the basis of the philosohy that the market in national. Roaming will transform the use of the telephone in some types of businesses. It is important for us to look at “movement” of services like these as well.

  47. I’ve just came across this forum while searching for information for a college paper in reference to the CSME and the advantages and disadvantages if The Bahamas should make the decision to join. I believe that the majority of bahamians are not really aware of what the CSME entiles. Before doing research on the topic, the mention of it scared me because the only true understanding was that if you did not have a college degree your job was not secured. Where would I get an idea like this? But in the act it does specifically state that university graduates would be a group of persons who would be able to move freela and except jobs without a work permit. So there is need for concern in reference to assurity of jobs. Basically, I think that there needs to be more education about the CSME in the bahamian society. I realize that we have not joined as yet and I see that as a good thing, but in order to truly make the right decision eforts need to be made to calm the public and explain in detail what exactly is the CSME.

  48. Sherry Diaz @ 2006-04-21 10:13

    I have one question to really ask everyone out there?

    Taking all that has been said into consideration, with regards to the problems of CSME, ways to solve those problems and the advantages of the same, whether or not it will outweigh the possible disadvantages, I want to ask us, in the midst of all the fancy language and high technical talk and righteous judgements of others, who has really sat down and thought about the issue?

    Not in terms of information and the possible effects but in what way you as an individual have actuall considered, not how the CSME will affect you, but rather how you will affect the CSME?

    I am hearing about the problems regarding the respective governments and their negative factoring in the idea as well as the fact that some people dont have enough information regarding the CSME and its propositions but we must stop and consider our part in all of this.

    Some may ask ‘what can one individual do?’. this would simply be a reflection of the overall problem and act as an indication as to how serious we are about the initiation and enforcement of the CSME.

    Looking at it from an individual level I may be inclined to agree with your question. However if we stop and look at it in an aggregate forum where everyone stops and asks themselves ‘what can one individual do?’, then we have a whole bunch of idiotic people asking the same inactive and useless question.

    This is in contrast to if we take time to consider our role in promoting the CSME then we would have played a part and have a place in the aggregate picture where a difference was made because as one individual you asked yourself the question ‘ how can I help?’ with a purpose and determination that CSME is your business (whether you like it or not) and that you would do all you possibly can (keeping prorities in perspective here) to ensure that when it finally does pay off (which it will) you can at least feel satisfied that you played a part in the, at that time, success being realised.

    Or you can sit down staring stupidly at your computer or TV screen complaining about everybody and everything else and simply be speaking to yourself since you yourself would be classified as ‘those fools’ you would be complaining about…………..not ready and doing nothing to remedy the situation.

  49. One thing not addressed sufficiently here and, anywhere that I have been exposed to for that matter, is the question of the labor movement. CSME seem to be a business-led, globalization initiative. Was there any consultation with labor unions. Are there any responsed of labor to the question of increased labor forces locally. These are not unprecedented issues. Many US-based unions have members in Canada and the US. The Coalition of Black Trade Unions (CBTU) for member in the canadian workplace. How about rethinking the question of labor organizing to take up these trans-territorial issues? Will we now see May Day celebrations and initiatives with regional manifestations? Will labor unions take up the plight of migrant workers? Things to think about…

  50. We can nitpick all we want and point out everything that is going to go wrong and why the CSME is not going to work or that the leaders need to unite first. What we are really doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy; we are contributing to the failure of the CSME. It is not only up to the leaders to make the CSME succeed; it is up to the people too, and we are the people, and it doesn’t matter how many problems we can see, but what matters is for us to help to solve those problems. A defeatist attitude does not help. The CSME could fail, but if it does and we all did not try to make it work, then we have ourselves to blame. Saying ‘I told you so’ is not acceptable.

  51. patrick graham @ 2006-05-21 20:48

    WITH FEDERATION WE WOULD BEAT EUROPE. NOW THEY HAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION AND WE HAVE DISUNITY AND FAILURES.

  52. patrick graham @ 2006-05-21 20:51

    Federation would mean we are ahead of Europe. So we need CSME to work or we will all SUFFERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

  53. I WOULD LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CSME AND YES I THINK BEFORE THE CSME STAR ALL THE COUNTRY’S SHOULD DEAL WITH THERE PROBLEMS FIRST AND YES I AM STILL THINKING ABOUT THE LESS DEVELOPE COUNTRY’S.

  54. These are not unprecedented issues. Many US-based unions have members in Canada and the US. The Coalition of Black Trade Unions (CBTU) for member in the canadian workplace. How about rethinking the question of labor organizing to take up these trans-territorial issues? Will we now see May Day celebrations and initiatives

  55. Or you can sit down staring stupidly at your computer or TV screen complaining about everybody and everything else and simply be speaking to yourself since you yourself would be classified as ‘those fools’ you would be complaining about…………..not ready and doing nothing to remedy the situation.

  56. I’ve been to Jamaica, Trinidad etc,I’ve met some bright people but I still can’t figure for the life of me why we’re going into the CSME,let’s face it we’re all debtor nations with the exception of three countries.Jamaica will get to dig themselves slightly out of the hole they dug themselves into and wth the high price of oil Trinidadians will get to buy the businesses they don’t already own.I’m just pretending that the csme is a means in itself but it’s not,it’s most likely a means of negotiating for the FTAA.The FTAA is the Big Daddy of free trade agreements why we’re pretending like the csme is real is beyond me.It must be established while the republicans are still in office,America needs to grow and we need Investment.I don’t think much of the CSME Caribbean people are truly 1 people accents aside there is little difference between a trini,a vincy,a jamaican.The CSME may buy us a little reprieve from the IMF.Personally I think we should just let our economies crash,capitalist fiscal reforms are a good thing.Caribbean institutions are pretty inept whether it’s the uwi,banks whatever,we operate on caribbean time red tape nonsense and sheer stupidity.I’ve had my time wasted by so many caribbean businesses institutions etc that i’ve come to expect a certain degree of incompetence and a minute means an hour and an hour means a day.The CSME is going to be more of the same.
    My problem with the CSME is the lack of opposition,every free trade agreement has opposition.I also have a problem with the lack of a referendum.What exactly are we going to trade?Trinidad practically owns Jamaica and Barbados,we share the same agricultural products.Caribbean products will still be competing with american products which tend to be of superior quality,so what exactly are we going to trade?Tourists
    I mean come on,we have human capital in excess,so it’s not as if the bigger countries are offering anything new we have vincentians qualified in almost every field under the sun opportunities are lacking,our graduates are just going to migrate from country to country coming upon a dead end at each turn,being a university graduate means diddly squat when the region lacks resources.

  57. CSM, not CSME there isn’t a single economy. I believe in the CSME.I believe Jamaica and Guyana should be left out until the IMF is finished creating a proper economy in those countries, once that is done we can have a single economy with a stable currency. My question is what is the role of the IMF in the CSME? Isn’t Jamaica an IMFf republic?How would corrective action taken by the IMF against members of our union affect other members?I keep thinking of the fall of the asian economies a few years back where one country fell then several others followed.

    I don’t think the CSME will be sufficient to lure our best and brightest back to the caribbean. As a trading bloc we are a joke, the world’s smallest trading bloc, we can’t compete globally against who India and China,you’re crazy. We need the FTAA before we can even become a global force.I applaud the action of the Bahamas, being the one lemming to say no as all the other lemmings walk off the cliff.Barbados will neither gain nor lose from the CSME, Jamaica may get to export people, and for Trinidad it’s lunch time. I see no point in the CSME, ECGC and other companies already have a regional market, there are Vincentians in every caribbean country and we have Guyanese, Trinidadians, and Jamaicans living here already. They can’t touch ECGC, since they compete in other caribbean territories and win out, hairoun might get bought, Erica’s isn’t a public entity, we have a geographic advantage over most caribbean countries where shipping produce is concerned. Speaking of geography, all our regional airlines are in the red, we’ll probably have to go by boat or swim to other carribean territories to use freedom of movement. Jamaica will suffer since it’s badly located, the csme covers duties but not transport costs.

  58. V(St.Lucia) @ 2006-06-15 13:27

    The rich and middle class will not move.I had the opportunity to be stuck in transit with a high official in Caricom and he pointed that out to me,it was the hurdle to the CSME that never occurred to me.If you are secure in your home country as the rich and middle class are then why move?
    This has huge repercussions.Graduates,which graduates we have too many doctors and lawyers,we do not have a real biotechnology or electronics sector,I see the csme as a retrogressive step bringing up something that belongs in the seventies into our time,we have no relevant 21st century economic sectors we are still stuck in the doctor/lawyer paradigm while the 21st century is really about biotechnology,informatics and electronics.It’s time we stop pretending that cable and wireless and digicel are giving us the best tech available,why haven’t our taiwanese allies brought in a real telecoms company yet.The british haven’t led technology in centuries,it’s time we start looking east and stop being dumbed down by our colonial heritage.

  59. V(St.Lucia) @ 2006-06-15 13:42

    We have only been sovereign states for 30 years or more but in any case less than a century,the EU comparison is not applicable since those countries have managed to maximize nationalism and national development.The CSME is a mindless drugged up political and economic orgy.When we finally come to our senses many of us are going to realise that we got thoroughly SC—– and ended up with many incurable economically transmitted diseases.What’s in it for the politicians?Power,the head of the csme will have more power than the head of caricom,some countries are fighting the politicisation of the csme but it is inevitable.We need to each do a cost benefit analysis,I find it strange that manyn countries haven’t realised the costs far outweigh the benefits.

  60. V(St.Lucia) @ 2006-06-15 14:11

    The ease at which the CSME is being implemented without public opposition is an insult to critical thinking,one wonders could the governments of the caribbean write an agreement to return slavery to the caribbean in this current unquestioning atmosphere?The programs on the CSME are one way,we need 2 programs in each country,one that emphasises the positive aspects and another that emphasises the negatives.I remember some regional authority coming to my country and pushing the benefits of the csme,I just smiled it reminded me of colonialism,the backward natives are supposed to agree with everything the colonial powers come down with.It was hilarious,the lead promoters of the CSME need lessons in marketing,you never speak down to your audience,it’s a caribbean thing even the UWI does it.No authority is beyond questioning,this is the information age.if you profess something whether it’s an academic subject or the CSME you must be able to withstand hard questioning, and nothing is so because you say so,we need evidence hard empirical evidence,we needed economists talking not politicians.Nevertheless we join you in this insanity called the CSME.As if anyone had a choice?This is an embarrassment to Democracy

  61. Xavier(St.Lucia) @ 2006-06-15 18:40

    The EU is refusing to let Lithuania join until they have solved their inflation problem we should have taken a similar stance on jamaica,and Guyana and no we will not be ahead of the EU they have a common dollar.The CSME is total insanity, the initial claim was that it was a practice session for the FTAA, that’s not even funny our biggest trading partner is the US regardless of country. I like most caribbean people prefer American goods, there isn’t anything I would consider buying from other caribbean country except drinks and probably rice but that’s about it. The CSME is a joke look at the brilliant economic strategies by Brazil, India and China and you mean to tell me this is the best thing we could come up with reviving a zombified form of the Federation. If we are going to allow Guyana and Jamaica then we should allow Haiti to join the csme. Other caribbean countries are good places to visit but you won’t want to live there, home is home.

  62. MICHELE P. (St.Kitts) @ 2006-06-25 18:32

    I AM DISTURBED AT THE AMOUNT OF NEGATIVE COMMENTS REGARDING CSME. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE WE MUST BE UNITED. I AM ALWAYS AMAZED AT THE LACK OF COHESIVENESS THAT WE DISPLAY. IF THE NAY SAYERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WILL WAIT LONG ENOUGH THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO DESTROY THIS CONCEPT. WE WILL DESTROY OURSELVES WITH THE DIVIDE AND CONQUER ATTITUDE. YES WE HAVE OUR OWN NATIONAL IDENTITIES BUT WE ARE ONE PEOPLE THAT MUST LEARN TO ALIGN FOR THE GOOD OF THE ENTIRE REGION.

  63. Caribbean guy @ 2006-06-26 16:36

    negativities are part of life,there are many negative aspects to the CSME,I lovew the CSME for one reason only it is a prelude to the FTAA.Suffering is good,the united states suffered a depression in the 1930′s and look where they are now,our economies are crashing one by one,the caribbean system as it now stands is pretty inept and inefficient if it takes total economic collapse for us to change our ways then so be it.We are suffering due to a lack of innovation,the caribbean is an intellectual graveyard what passes for intellect still functions within the confines of the box,we need out of the box thinkers we need real universities

  64. Caribbean guy @ 2006-06-26 16:49

    No not if we are to survive,we are a resilient people the CSME is an idea for people who are looking for an easy way outwhat if it is not the answer we would be in a far worse off state.If the economies crash all colonial vestiges will be destroyed and for the first time we will truly be independent.
    Guyanese guyanese everywhere,I see the csme as a sign of true ineptness,there should have been fiscal rules to prevent guyana and jamaica from joining as well as other countries being s@d@miz@d by the imf.They should have been given a ten year probation until they sort out their economic problems

  65. West Indian @ 2006-06-26 17:05

    Unless brazil is going to be incuded in the csme then this is a futile exercise.As countries we are great as a region we are a joke,the minute I hear of an institution with Caribbean or west indies in its name I expect total backwardness.regional institutions can afford to be backwards because they don’t have to compete.Our colonial heritage makes us backwards,the generation in power mus die off before the caribbean progresses

  66. Rolamatt @ 2006-06-28 13:18

    I am in total agreement with Michelle P on this issue. Our people are too negative to change. We all beleive generally that we MUST unite to be competitive. The CSME gives us that opportunity to bring meaningful and positive rewards for Caribbean peoples.

    I agree that during the early stages there will be tedious challenges. But we have to be equip to deal with them as they come along. There are many who likes to boast and thump their chest about Caribbean Unity and when “push come to shove” they respond by being territorial. We cannot continue in this vein for long and the sooner we sign on to the CSME the better.

    As a resident of the OECS I donot share in the view that we would get gobbled up by the larger territories I envisaged an OECS where our businessmen will have access to a larger market and where our consumers will get a wider choice of goods and services.

    There are more examples of benefits to be gained. Stop the negativity and join those who promote the CSME. Help sensitise the masses.

  67. V(St.Lucia) @ 2006-07-01 14:10

    Which imaginary OECS country are you from?Have you ever seen Jaws?The IMF is gobbling up our countries one by one,but we’re islands so we can’t get out of the water.
    But seriously though,we must all be smoking some serious stuff if we believe the CSME can save us,look at the numbers,look at the IMF reports the outlook is bad.It’s supposed to be bad we’re all just small islands and the world economy on this side of the world is bad,the United States is in trouble so were most south and central american countries.We are too far away from China and India to make use of their economic growth.Whether you agree with michelle P or not is inconsequential,this is economics not democracy,yeah if we can all agree that our economies will rise and by agreeing we make it so I would vote for a good economy too.I don’t believe in sugarcoating anything sometimes we have to swallow bitter medicine.What resources do we have as a region?Trinidad’s oil is foreign owned,Aluminum is a dying industry,our major paint companies are owned by India,our major telecoms provider is owned by Britain and Ireland,if the world economy is bad then tourism will fall.We are wasting monies on the Cricket world cup which will leave us all further in debt.Bananas are no more,face it we live in a capitalist world we have no competitive advantage,the news is bad but putting your fingers in your ears wont change it.Okay there’s a regional fund for smaller countries,but how do we access it?
    I feel like the accountant who is telling the businessman that his business is bankrupt and by combining it with his other bankrupt businesses he is making the situation worse,he sould just accept bankruptcy learn and build himself back.Yes people will benefit from the CSME,the Drug Dealers.They will get to move their products through the region faster as well as sell to people who are now facing dire economic situations but would rather live in lala land than face reality

  68. V(St.Lucia) @ 2006-07-01 14:23

    Wider choice of goods?Are you crazy I’ve sampled caribbean goods from time to time,that’s why I usually buy American,what backward @$$ goods can we buy?There is nothing sophisticated about us,our politicians,our Education system, or our products give me a break.What crap are we going to buy from other caribbean countries.I don’t fear competing against our so called university graduates since all our best and brightest have already migrated outside the caribbean.if you reshuffle a deck of jokers you can’t get kings you’ll still get jokers.If our economies are to be saved it will be up to locals not someone from another caribbean territory.This is truly a retrogressive step,when it fails we will all tear up our independence agreements and welcome back our colonial masters.The Caribbean is yet to produce an original thought,at least with Britain in control our masters aren’t afraid to think.

  69. The CSME is of no benefit whatsoever to small islands,the migration between islands has been going on long before the CSME we need better ideas.The CSME is not a good idea but even I am at a loss for another solution,the CSME will bring hope to our people(as long as they don’t look too closely),hope is enough to prevent anarchy.The time spent sorting out csme problems will get our minds off the real problems such as the loss of bananas,sugar cane.oil prices etc.It will give our politicians another scapegoat,you can never have too many scapegoats.It will also continue the necessary illusion that our politicians are in control,fact is they are as uncertain as we are,the csme will allow us to feel as if we have some influence over the world around us(except for our music,the caribbean is pretty insignificant,but it’s always good to feel big)

  70. We share two commonalities with Subsaharan Africa,a high and an inept political system.We like subsaharan africa create an atmosphere of red tape,our politicians have powers politicians are not supposed to have,corruption is rampant and we copy western technologies no matter how unsuited they are for our context.We waste money on university education which would be better spent on primary,secondary,college and vocational education,Jamaica is the first country to do the smart thing and cut back on university funding

  71. A high aids rate…

  72. there’s a literal”pimp my caribbean country ” going on throughout the region.I don’t mean it in the”pimp my ride” sort of way I mean it in the bad way we are literally prostituting our people and our countries by selling them as the lowest common denominator,i.e a country made to please tourists and not a place where flesh and blood people live.
    our education system in the region needs to be scrapped and redone to meet the requirements of the modern age,the CXC and cape should have included members of industry when they were planning,these clowns have no idea how big the global game is,I remember the reactions of foreign teachers to CXC,they laughed,”You can’t expect to compete with anyone with this crap,I will teach you this syllabus in 3 months then move on to the real thing”.Anyone who has seen the Chinese or Indian students study routines would understand why they are winning the global game,they are brighter,study harder than anyone,and the ambition the ambition is amazing,they want it all,and they bow to noone not American not British,not Japanese,the hunger they feel is palpable.The Caribbean,its people,governments and institutions are dinosaurs by comparison.Dinosaurs in a time when everyone is trying to be sleeker,more efficient.The problem is our people,the machinery works but every gear in the machine tries to justify itself or make itself feel important by slowing down the process whether it’s the big gears on top(politicians) or the small gears below(secretaries in govt offices).So much red tape its amazing,just now we have to get a license signed in triplicate and stamped twice to use the bathroom,and to make matters worse it may have to be sign by someone in another caribbean country.
    I —– Chief Toilet officer of the CSME have given authorisation to _________(name here) of —— (country here) to use the toilet facilities on premises located at ——-(your home address) for a period not exceeding 5 minutes on ———(date here)
    Yours Sincerely ___________
    Chief toilet officer CSME

    But by the time the letter gets back it would be 2 days too late so you have to hold it in and send another

  73. There’s an ad in the paper,aparently if I subscribe to a particular telecoms company,two fair skinned girls in skimpy carnival outfits will want to be with me.I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the crap that passes for marketing in our country and the region on a whole.
    The amount of bleached faces that appear in regional ads is amazing,even tv hosts on so called regional programs.Have the black people migrated and left the region,wasn’t there some black power movement.black is beautiful etc in the seventies that was supposed to get rid of all this crap such as racial advertising.I guess black people can’t afford phones,isn’t there a black middle and upper class?Why are we tolerating this crap?When will caribbean people boycott companies with no black people in their ads or papers with no bla people in them except as criminals?There are many educated gorgeous black women and men,but this fact is rarely reflected by the so called media.
    Oh lest I forget the black cabana boy serving drinks to the white tourist,typical ads,me does ah mek this drink yah speshal foh you massa,me pick de coconut meself.Seriously it’s time for this $#!t to end.It’s amazing I lost my black roots two generations ago yet even I find these ads offensive,to vincentians,to west indians,to tourists,yes tourists find them offensive,the man sitting with them on their flights is usually a highly educated black man,surely this black man isn’t from the backwards country this ad depicts.Digicel probably wont come with these sorts of ads as the Irish ave been descriminated against by the english for generations so they would know better,I have a feeling that the companies aren’t in control that some backwards marketing firm is doing all their marketing in the region.

  74. West indian @ 2006-07-10 14:23

    Racism is everywhere,whether it’s the Shaka Zulification of the caribbean under the banners of tourism and culture or the belief that all white people sleep with their sisters and cousins(as was the case of people in the Appalachian mountains in the USA or the royal family in the past).
    All that matters is that we know not all white people sleep with their family and the representations of the caribbean depicted by both tourism ads and dancehall culture are not what being caribbean is all about.
    The stereotyping of caribbean people as backward savages or bleached prostitutes is extremely annoying to progressive caribbean people.These morons don’t speak for all of us,nor do our politicians for that matter.
    Sometimes you wish real life had disclaimers:
    “The views expressed by these people/politicians do not necessarily reflect the views of intelligent caribbean people”
    The schizophrenia of caribbean people is truly amazing,we live in a madhouse where politicians cater tothemselves and foreigners instead of their own people,where intelligence is frowed upon and ignorance is placed on a pedestal.Where everyone is afraid to question,and even when they do question they do it on the grounds of religion which should itself be questioned.
    Take the CSME,a referendum was not held,yes I know we talk about logistics and education/brainwashing,but the fact is if it were up to the caribbean people it would not be enacted,it was up to a bunch of fronted politicians whowere bankrupt of other ideas.

  75. West indian @ 2006-07-10 14:32

    The CSME,the real deal is going to be enacted by the OECS in 2008/2009.They can pull it off because they already have the economic union,the rest of us in Barbaddos,Trinidad,Guyana, Jamaica and haiti will just have to sit back and watch.if anyone can pull off the CSME, the OECS can they have been at it for 25 years.Lets face it what we have now isn’t the CSME it’s a joke,we’re going to do so much bureaucratic nonsense in the name of sovereignty that a real economic union will never established in the region,if the OECS can pull it off then that’s great.The CSME should have started with the OECS in the first place,and not big countries who have no idea of economic unity

  76. Managing with facts @ 2006-08-15 12:12

    My comment relates to the labor mobility protocol of CSME.

    I have read every comment and note that despite the good, the bad and the ugly of CSME, the positive consequences can be maximized and the negative minimized if there is an efficient and effective management system to measure and control mobility effects. In other words, since the inception of CSME plans, there has been no effort (or at least I am not aware of any) to implement systems (structures, processes) to measure the human capital (or talent) capacity of each country. Do any of the countries know the charateristics (quantity, skills, knowledge, attitude, obscelence) of their curent human capital stock? Has any one bothered to conduct opinion surveys with samples drawn from all levels – individuals, firms?

    Knowing the starting point is imperative for measuring the short, medium and long term effects of human capital flows through national borders. Four related concerns that have been expressed in the discourse are (a) flooding in the recipient country (b) a void in the source country (c) hemorraghing to the extra-regional market (d) an eliticist approach to screening skills.

    How then will a country be able to measure the mobility effects if the requisite data is not collected?. We are data deficient as well as sufferers of data phobia in this region. We participate in trade talks with out the requiiste data. and even if we provide some it is antiquated or full of gaps and of little or no use to talks of negotiation. Look, we are depending on census data from US or Canada for instance to measure the outflow, and by which time it is too late- our human capital has already left!! The region needs systems, interventions and incentives to temper the outflow and attract an inflow from the Diaspora. Moreover, the data should not be collected once in say ten years, it has to be a continuous process, and provide the government, employers and investors with the diagnostic and prognostics talent and skills metrics that can inform their policy and decision making as well as whether to invest in a particular country. Note that FDIs through multinational corporations for instance, will lcocate in countries where the talent pool is up-to-date and readily and quickly employable, otherwise they will bring their own skills.

    Indeed, our patriotism forces us to be concern about and protective of dilution of our norms and values, and our traditions and our “space”. But really, are there such marked differences among us? We seem to be translating labor mobility as an exodus of bodies to the more economically and socially appealing countries, leaving a gaping hole in the less advantaged countries. It is more about quality of human capital than the quantity. Romer (1990) says it well “What is important for growth is integration not into an economy with a large number of people, but rather one with a large number of human capital”

    This is a call for the source and recipient countries to design and implement efficient and effective screening models to measure and control both teh quatnity and quality of the talent necessary for susainable growth and comparative advantages. Such a model must be conceived collaboratively, among the private sector, public sector, NGOs, universities etc such that demand and supply are properly conceived in the interest of all stakeholders and customers (the tourist !) Otherwise, not only will there be a strain on the outlays for investment in training and education as the skills coming in cannot “hit the ground running” and thus would need to be further developed; but it will be a constant battle between the private and public sector as to who is responsible for providing and nurturing the talent? Should it be the education system or training programs of employers or melange of both?

    Grateful for your feedback and comments

    Reference
    Romer, (1990). Endogenous technological change. Journal of Political Economy, 98(5)

  77. Managing with facts @ 2006-08-15 12:24

    Question on CSME “units”

    It appears that each country has established a CSME unit. In addition to advocacy, their main appears to be processing applications from individuals wishing to enter the country for employment.

    Can someone direct me to a source that can provide more information about these “units”

    Thanks

  78. Managing with facts @ 2006-08-15 13:06

    Question on mobility triggers

    When we talk about labor mobility what do we really mean. Besides the structural (porous borders), process (admistrative activities) and institutional (rules, laws and reglatiions, policies), who triggers the move?

    1. Can an individual, with the requisite criteria, just decide he or she wants to move say to Trinidad, pack bags, fill a container, buy or rent living accomodation etc and just arrive in Trinidad and HOPE to get a job?

    OR

    2. Does the trigger start from an employer seeking and advertising for talent that does not exists locally? That is, no local person has responded to advertisement for reasons that include, already has a good paying job; does not possess the necessary talent – skiils, experiences, attitude, flexibility to be recruited by the “seeking” employer?

    Further, is there any attention being paid to non-national labor being absorbed in the public sector? In other words, are there any restictions to say a St Lucian seeking employment in the public sector of St Kitts?

  79. The CSME is our last chance for freedom. And the time is here.

    Yet most of us seem to be reacting with anger and fear and very negative attitudes. Sounds like fear of flying, and understandably so, but such hopelessness will kill you.

    We are the ones who have to make things happen for ourselves, and regardless of how you feel, THE CSME IS HERE! GLOBALIZATION IS HERE! Stop being REACTIVE and become PROACTIVE.

    Change can happen, but it depends on one’s attitude. Think positive!

    The CSME will not succeed overnight, nor will be be ruined overnight. Whichever happens is up to you.