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Last updated: 03 November, 2008 - Published 15:08 GMT
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US-Caribbean relations
Barack Obama and John McCain
Obama or McCain: who's best for the Caribbean?
Americans go to the polls on November 4 to elect a new president.

The choice is between Barack Obama, who, if he wins, would be the first black American president, and war hero John McCain.

Will things get better with Obama?
Will there be gains with McCain?
Or will it be status quo no matter how it goes?

Now, have your say online

McCain's choice of Palin as a running mate has brought out the hate vote and that is not good for anybody anywhere. Obama is discussing "closing offshore tax havens" - which may or may not point fingers in the direction of the banking industry in our region. That is a little scary for places like Cayman, Belize, BVI.
I think that Obama will be better for the US. With Belize's currency at a fixed exchange to the US dollar, and with 70% of our tourists coming from the US, I'd say that Obama will probably be better for Belize. Most importantly ....... Obama thinks about world peace. If we can have a little more focus on that, probably all regions will benefit.
Diane Campbell
San Pedro, Belize

The Caribbean did not advance too far under Clinton, but I believe we will, under Presidant Obama.
Patricia Snow-Young
Kingston, Jamaica

I do believe that Senator Obama would make a difference as it relates to the Caribbean. As for better, that will take time and co-operation by all involved.
Kingston, Jamaica

If Barack Obama wins,psychologically it will shake the etrenched racism in the caribbean at its core.The republicans tend to be better for Certain Caribbean countries,such as St.Vincent and the Grenadines which takes advantage of republican good and evil views to get money from "rogue" states.If Obama opens diplomatic relations with these states then coutries like St.Vincent will be in trouble.
Maxwell Thompson
Christ Church, Barbados

Because both of these candidates are Capitalists, there really isn't a difference between them in terms of what the U.S. relationship would be with the Caribbean under either candidate's presidency. The true nature of the U.S.-Caribbean relationship is based mostly on economics. We saw this play out in Grenada in 1983. The U.S. power and wealth depends on a world of countries where economies are privatized so that the world's few can accumulate the majority of wealth. As long as either candidate is president we won't see a difference in Caribbean political economics. Only countries such as Venezuela and Cuba have removed themselves from the grasp of world trade and U.S. power and that is why they are so hated. The true depths of neo-colonialism in the Caribbean is not about presidency but about economics. Even if Obama wins, the fight continues...we must not become complacent in fighting for what we really want - justice and equality for all and the right for Caribbean countries to truly govern themselves.
Sharon Elwin
Canefield, Dominica

I have read most of the comments made by most of my Caribbean colleagues, as well as I have been following the debates since they started. Fortunately, or unfortunately I have to agree with their comments. The question is though, what is in it for us? What benefits the Caribbean Region stand to gain from all this regardless to who wins the presidency? If for years we in this region have been crossing or fingers and our toes hoping we would get the assistance we so longed for under the former presidents and US Administration, why do we think it will be any different now? If we are to cast our minds back for just a bit, we would soon realize that the only benefits we got from America is the common cold when they sneeze. Most of the Caribbean territories depend on tourism as their main source of income; and what the United States of America did? Instead of reaching out to us and helping us with the already burdens of hike in fuel prices and cost of living, they add another straw to the camels back by pulling out most of their airlines that service us. Having said all that, it is my hope,that we would get a voice to echo our needs very early, to whom ever wins the presidency. I therefore urge my Caribbean leaders to make ample use of any opportunity to make their voices be heard.
Frankie Thomas
St. Mary's, Antigua

Although, I may like what Sen. Obama has to say, I have to admit that neither candidate would be best for the Caribbean. The US is in crisis right now and the focus is on the US economy, not the global atmosphere. Unfortunately, the Caribbean is not considered any substantial power because of our individualism. Instead of seeing ourselves as Grenadians, St. Lucians, Vincentians, Jamaicans, etc, we should consider ourselves Caribbean people and work towards unifying to be able to make a point. So, that our points can be heard, otherwise, it won't make a difference.
Florida, USA

I think if Obama wins then the relationship with the great US will get tighter.
Sheldon Bailey
Kingston, Jamaica

The Caribbean region is enthusiastic about a Barrack Obama victory and what will it mean to us. Mighty Sparrow, Movado and others Chant our endorsements through Caribbean rhythm and song for Barrack Obama. Commandante en Jefe Fidel Castro also endorsed Obama stating, “the only thing that abounds in McCain are years” and described Obama as one the most progressive of the US Presidential candidates, one who is superior in intelligence and serenity to his counterpart.
What would a victory for this Democratic candidate signify for the Caribbean? We are still to hear of Obama’s vision on trading possibilities/opportunities for the Caribbean community. I mean except for his proposal on changing the US’s unpopular approach to Cuba imposed by GW Bush in 2004, his support for the Tax Haven Abuse Act etc, we simply have no clue. After all Obama’s first loyalty is with his electorate and the country he represents. The Caribbean needs to reflect on questions and issues such as our energy future, trade opportunities, current deportation policy, and his attention to vulnerable countries such as Haiti. His win will be emblematic and emotional to black people worldwide. It could represent the political and social change that was anticipated, but never realized, crossing into the 21st century. Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean await with great enthusiasm to hear Obama’s vision for our region.
Keisha Greenidge
St. George's, Grenada

Senator Obama will strive to improve & upgrade relations with our Caribbean neighbours after they have been ignored by the Bush Regime for 8 years.
Richard Liathain
Sarasota, FL, USA

Good US/Caribbean relations is not a US priority and is generally discounted. The Caribbean needs to unite as one block of nations in order to influence US priorities. My vote is for Obama who I hope will give us "five minutes" of the American President's time. Of course we will have to make every minute count. McCain on the other hand, well need I point out the great divide among Blacks and Whites.
Chris Chin-Young
Atlanta, USA

In Trinidad & Tobago, the economic powerhouse of the region, there will be the Fifth Summit of the Americas, one of the most crucial meetings of the Western Hemisphere, where the next president of the United States of America will be present. I believe that this meeting of several heads of government of the Americas will provide a perfect opportunity for the Caribbean’s issues to be heard on a global scale.
My belief and the belief of many Trinbagonians is that the USA is a super power undoubtedly and Obama will be the best President to better US/Caribbean relations, because of his policies and character he has also indicated that he would allow Cuban Americans the ability to go back home and visit family members.
He is a man of integrity and evidently a strong leader, able to bring people together in a world full of hatred.
That is what we need. The Bush administration has done far too much damage, and McCain has supported bush 90% of the time, so I think there is a clear choice.
Pearce Robinson
Trinidad & Tobago

For many (years), the US pursued its self interest 'palling around' with dictators and leaders who opposed the basic interest of their people. Obama says he will hold these leaders responsible. McCain will continue the US policy of warmongering and divisiveness all over the world.
Herbert Stultz
Bronx, NY,USA

It has been proven that Republican governments are better for the Caribbean. The challenge at the WTO over the bananas quota, the deportees situation, the blacklisting of the Caribbean as tax havens (has been) under Democrats. Caribbean Basin Initiative and positive trade agreements under Republicans. Democrats may be who we want to vote for but they are isolationist and pro-America and as Obama has already indicated they tend to go after companies that are based overseas in tax havens such as Nevis, Cayman Islands, Antigua, Barbados. Our economies will suffer under the Democrats.
Castries, St. Lucia

While I would hope that things would change under an Obama presidency, I would not keep my fingers crossed. The Caribbean is not as important to the US as we would want to believe. How many times have we seen news from the Caribbean on any of the main US cable networks? How many times have Caribbean leaders visited the White House and we hear about it as a main story on the networks.
I believe it is time for us to look out for those who look out for us. Certainly, the only country in the Caribbean that is important to the US is Cuba and we all know why.
But of course I look forward to Obama in the White House.

I have become quite engrossed in the elections not because of the historic implications but the US being the superpower that it needs someone at the helm who is not against diplomacy; someone who is sympathetic to the plight of the third world, someone who understands there is a world of where tolerance and respect for other people is key for peace. And I think Barack Obama is the man of the moment. When you look at issues that directly affect the world's poor like global warming, access to healthcare and medicine, he understands because he has been there. That's why I support Barack Obama.
Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Barack Obama’s genesis, capacity to think aloud, knowledge and philosophical grounding suggest his quest for the presidency could inspire what’s needed to accomplish the direction for our inevitable changing, interactive, global\social culture!
Mechel-Linus Selkin (Trini-Canadian)
Toronto, Canada

When Barack Obama is elected president there will be a better relationship between the USA and most Caribbean countries.
G Brown
Trelawny, Jamaica

While I am a supporter of the idea that someone of Barack Obama's ethnicity has the possibility of acceding to the highest office in the western hemisphere, I am confident that there will be no improvement in US Caribbean relations. Obama's success is not much to do with his race but what he stands for. That being the fact he will not be able to give any preferential treatment for anyone. So I see status quo and I'm not unhappy with it.
Daison Marks
Marigot, St. Martin

McCain will be the better man, especially on immigration, he is honest, and stick to his word. Put race aside. Trust me he is a better man for the Caribbean than Obama. Can you all remember that Mr McCain broke ranks with his party to get an immigrants bill through the house? What did Obama do at the time? People remember we are all here for a reason. Again forget race and vote the right person in office for our feature. I am a citizen and have a good job, but for the rest of us "Think".
John Edwards
Elizabeth, NJ, USA

Definitely a better relationship will be possible. The Americans seem to only need us when it’s an issue of drug trafficking or money laundering. I think Obama would have a better sensitivity and rapport with Caribbean leaders.
C Sealy

Yes the U.S plays a big role in Belize but based on their debates and ads, I just think that Obama is the better man for the job! It's loud and clear, it's not about black nor white, just really think that Obama will play a big role in the Caribbean.
Dennis Requena
San Pedro, Belize

Although I am “Afro-West Indian”, my support for Barack Obama has nothing to do with his ethnicity. I have listened to, watched, and read about with keen interest the presidential campaign. I think that he is the man for the moment. Bandwagonism is prevalent among people of African descent the world over as far as this historic campaign is concerned. This might be explained by the seeming desire among human beings to be with success. With the state of the international economy, the Caribbean does not seem to be of any concern to any of the candidates. And, it will be foolhardy to think that the Caribbean, like Africa, will be of any greater concern to Uncle Sam simply because a man of African descent occupies the White House.
Kenton X. Chance
Taipei, Taiwan

This is in reference to the opinion that was expressed by JA Anthony/ New York who ever you may be. It is obvious that you are a REPUBLICAN at heart. Maybe you did extremely well over the last eight years under the current administration. Thus, let it be said that U.S. history has shown that yes African Americans and most Caribbean Americans have historically voted DEMOCRATIC. Notwithstanding the fact that you somehow dug up another conservative TWISTED view that one third of whites who vote Democratic disdain Negroes. SO WHAT if they do, everyone is entitled to their view on how they feel about anyone or anything, but unlike yourself don’t put it out there to make a stupid point or to ELEVATE you ego. If you vote Republican then vote Republican, but don’t exhibit you dislike for others who vote the opposite.
Give Mr. Obama a chance, let the man get elected first give him a chance to look at the whole picture before throwing negative words. And stop pointing the finger at Jamaicans, may I remind you that the Caribbean is not just made up of Jamaicans.
Boston, MA,USA

I have listened to, read and watched a lot on the US election. The question is how many times have we heard the Caribbean mentioned? During the foreign policy debate not even Cuba was mentioned. Therefore as far as I see we in the Caribbean are not a priority for any of the two candidates.
We must continue to seek our own identity and independence instead of waiting for the US to cough so we know what type of cold that is in the air.

Give jack his jacket. In my opinion, Obama is definitely the man for the job whether in terms of core values, strategy, priority, character, decision making or general readiness to handle power as reflected throughout his campaign against McCain. That's pretty transparent without being bias. For many Caribbean people, this election is not widely the politics of race but the basis for common interest or a common ground on core issues and Obama would therefore be the best choice. As one would know, one of the key factors for economic development in the Caribbean is remittances forwarded by Caribbean migrants in the US. Therefore the outcome of this election is of direct effect. On that note the best hope for a brighter tomorrow would be Barack Obama.
M Harry
Toronto, Canada

I am praying that John McCain wins. I believe he will work with the Bahamas, I believe that Obama will destroy America as we know it. I visit Eleuthera, Bahamas every two years or so. I love the Bahamas people: very friendly and courteous.
Larry Sowder,
Pinnacle, NC, USA

Obama is the man. Things will surely get better under Obama so I'm asking all who has the rights to vote in the United States to please vote for Barack Obama, the man for the future.
Dwayne Adonis

I believe Obama will be best. He knows what it is to have grown up with a single mother. He knows about struggles and what had to be done to take care of his family so I believe because of these things and because he comes from a humble beginning he will look out for less fortunate people and he will remember where he came from and help those same people.
Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar

Obama will help.
David Charles
Edmonton, Canada

The end of the Cold War created a situation where the Caribbean lost its geo-strategic position to the US. Except for cooperation in terms of drug interdiction and more recent demands from the US that the region pay closer attention to air and sea port security as part of the fight against terrorism, the Caribbean has largely been ignored by the US.
However, with a resurgent Russia seeking to reassert itself as a dominant power, the Caribbean can once again feature prominently in US Foreign Policy. Planned military exercises between Russia and Venezuela and the recent forging of Diplomatic ties between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Iran could see the US re-engage the region to blunt the influence of these countries over the region.
However, preoccupation with affairs in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East and dealing with the myriad of internal problems confronting the US could also blunt any political will to re-engage the Caribbean.
However, the region needs not wait on the US to take the first steps toward re-establishing concrete ties. Whoever wins, if the region thinks that it is practical and in its best interests to have the US engaged, then it must expend the necessary diplomatic and political capital to ensure that this happens.
Joel Richards
Bridgetown, Barbados

Why do the majority of African Americans and Jamaicans seem to support the Democratic party over the Republican party of the USA especially when recent research shows that one third of Caucasian Democrats hold disparaging views of Negroes?
This is a question that needs serious examination to uncover any existing factual basis for the "democraticpartization" of Jamaicans and to see if there is an explanation for our twisted method of making choices and seeking affiliations.
JA Anthony
New York, USA

Ed. note: Edited from a much longer posting

While I think Obama's administration would bode well for the region, given the state of the US economy and other pressing international matters (like 2 wars and China's growing influence) the US president will have other matters to attend to.
This is a one sided relationship and there's nothing in it for the US. That said Obama is more open minded and tends to see the bigger picture as well as the benefits of an open door regarding foreign policy. If anything major regarding Caribbean relations were to happen it would happen late in Obama's administration and would only really begin to unfold in a second term, should that come to be.
The percentage of Caribbean immigrants in the US is more significant to the Caribbean than the US. Local government is more likely to pay attention to the immigrant population. The onus is on Caribbean interests to justify attention from the US President, should that be Obama or McCain.
Craig Young
Leamington Spa, UK

I have listened to, read and watched a lot on the US election. The question is how many times have we heard the Caribbean mentioned? During the foreign policy debate not even Cuba was mentioned. Therefore as far as I see we in the Caribbean are not a priority for any of the two candidates. We must continue to seek our own identity and independence instead of waiting for the US to cough so we can know what type of cold that is in the air.
Antigua and Barbuda

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