Caribbean nationals helped to set up this week's 'Conference on the Caribbean' attended by George Bush and Caribbean Community leaders.
But are nationals and their children abroad being seen as a resource to be tapped by Caricom governments?
Tony Fraser covered the Washington conference for BBC Caribbean.
He asked diaspora activist Luzette King about how much better these nationals abroad could help if asked by Caribbean leaders.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I believe people of Caribbean origin have a significant role to play in contributing to Caribbean growth and development. Particular on the issue of climate change,the effecient use of land ownership and overseas trade.
Life is a 2-way street and we have to meet each other half way. Caribbean Nationals in the diaspora need to ensure that their voices are heard, don't wait to be asked. After all, they send the weekly/monthly remittances and do influence the life style,voting patterns and power wheeling of their relatives at home, therefore they need to lobby/negotiate/demand a greater participation/involvement in the power sharing & decision making of their individual countries, thus region. Maybe, a Senator can be named representative of the diaspora. That individual serve as an Ambassador at large, holding discussions with all organisations respresntative of their individual countries on their vision for their country and enunciating and discussing with the respective leader.
The Caribbbean people in this country unfortunately remain as distant among each other on matters that require communication and working for the common good. Labor Day in Brooklyn and Notting Hill Gate Carnival with millions on the street is its only sustainable achievement of note. If such effort and energy could be invested in forming strategic politcal alliances; then the diaspora would have a function other than remittances.
The Caribbean nations could be a valued lobbing group in the western countries in which they reside. A lot more can be done by the Caricom governments in bring to these nationals attention the gravity of the conference, how it affects the Caribbean, and indicating the help which these nationals can give by lobbing their governments. Time and time again these important decisions pass by. You read about them in the news, but not grasping the effects they have or knowing the help you can give to the Caribbean from here in the west. There are many Caribbean nationals residing in the west and we can have a strong and influencing voice for a cause such as this, if it was organised.
I believe that our Caribbean governments are not making enough use of those who migrated from the Caribbean and are now living in the U.S. They can certainly help and have an impact on the decisions being made by Bush. There are many ways that they can make their voices to be heard concerning matters in the Caribbean...even though they no longer reside there. The same goes for those in the UK.
I think that Caribbean nationals in the US has the opportunity to make a greater contribution to their various islands. This is because they are tax payers like the ordinary American, and if they join forces , they can have a voice to be heard by the US government which can make a difference between the US and the Caribbean.
It would be exciting to see distance learning initiatives that match those in the diaspora who have become well educated with students back home.
I think that it is both a shame and a pity that this question has not come up before. When we look at other regions, the Middle East in particular, we will see that there are long established PACs. For those of us who do not know, a PAC is a Political Action Committee that serves to promote legislation that will positively affect a region, or entity. With cohesiveness being key, and as shameful as it is to admit, I believe that both the leaders and people of the Caribbean are too fragmented to undertake this endeavour in any meaningful way. For those of you who are in doubt, or are upset by this statement, all you have to do is to look at the chaotic situation in the Eastern Caribbean when it comes to air travel, or even the lack there of. It seems that everyone wants to go in opposite direction, as opposed to pulling in the same direction. We have no one else to blame but ourselves.
There is a great deal of scope for effective contribution to the overall development of the Caribbean, by our leaders tapping into the resource of the Caribbean people scattered around the world. At this moment in time, I do not see effective leadership by our current Caribbean Leaders and Caricom as an institution. This failure is best illustrated by the way that we failed to maximize the opportunity that was afforded to the Caribbean, as host of the recent World Cup Cricket series.