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Last updated: 12 July, 2010 - Published 16:27 GMT
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Forum: Does Caricom have a future?
The Caricom conundrum: coming, going or gone?
As Caricom leaders meet in Jamaica this week there's been a renewed chorus of criticism of the regional integration bloc.

And while the wailing about Caricom failing to deliver is not new, this year it seems to have taken on an even more ominous tone of defeat and despair.

One leader, St Vincent's Ralph Gonsalves went as far as to bemoan 'a serious lack of leadership' in Caricom.

And the litany of woe and foreboding goes on.

Contemplating Caricom
We may just have to dump Caricom: the Jamaica Gleaner in an editorial
Sad absence of political will: columnist Rickey Singh
Do or die - time for action: new Caricom chairman, Prime Minister Bruce Golding of Jamaica
Alas, Caricom again: James Moss-Solomon former president of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce

But, is it really that bad?

What are your positive Caricom experiences?

What works?

Should it be scrapped and start all over again?

Or, is Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit right when he says: "It is the prerogative of some to fantasise about the good old days, but they have to accept that the landscape around us has changed dramatically."

Have your say

Also, click on the Local Links on the right for our previous Caricom forums.

Whenever I take a trip involving travel to several Caricom countries, I am taken aback by how the leaders of these countries consider it acceptable, in today's world, for a region of some 5 million people to have 7/8 different currencies.
Frank Myers
Castries, St. Lucia

I certainly believe Caricom has a future. It isn't a waste of time. Those who think so are simply ignorant. Not in the bad sense, but in the true sense of the word. They don't know what Caricom has done. CDERA/CDEMA has helped out Grenada and Jamaica after fierce hurricanes (Ivan in 2004 for example) and was involved in the relief effort for the Haitian earthquake. CXC (another institution of Caricom) has meant that students no longer have to sit exams drafted in the UK based off totally different experiences in order to graduate from school and high school.
And now with the Single Market some persons are able to move and work freely in the region. Is it the fault of Caricom as an entity that the regional governments move at glacial pace or that the private sector is generally lazy and too dependent on government action?
Now that the Single Market has been put in place it is up to both the private sector and governments to make it work and the private sector needs to make use of the advantages put in place by the Single Market.
A few companies and individuals have started but the rest need to follow and shouldn't be waiting on the governments to do everything for them.
I suppose this is just yet another example of the handout mentality that J A Mayro wrote about (and I agree with what he wrote 100%).
It then isn't helped by online, print and television media fanning the flames with anti-Caricom sentiment and calling for comments on its failure instead of what has actually happened. Matters are worsened by the tendency of the media to use leading questions ("Is Caricom a failure?")and the tendency of a lot of people to simply follow along in a kind of group-think or herd mentality.
Kingston, Jamaica

My Caribbean friends we are not only devoid of leadership but also moral fortitude. By their much talking and promises our managers have managed to place Caricom as a distant hope for our next two generations. These are not leaders, for leaders create and mold other leaders or successors. We have managers who are protecting their jobs at the region's expense. We must collectively fire them all.
Abiose Thomas
Georgetown, Guyana

Was Caricom ever relevant?
As far as the so-called common man is concerned, Caricom has always been a figment of the imagination. It might have served the leaders of Caricom since it appears to represent a unique club for political strategic planning rather that a unit to improve the standards of living of the peoples of its member nations.
The region's history regarding the aspiration towards Caribbean Unity has been no more than exercises in futility through the various mechanisms leaders have concocted such as Carifta, the Grenada Declaration, the Petite St. Vincent Declaration, CSME - et al!
Chris Seraphine
Canefield, Dominica

Caricom, whatever name, the unity of the nation states is an indispensable path. However, many if not all of the island states continue to reel from the trauma of colonialism and imperialism; many rely on the handouts from former colonial power (and the USA - also lately China). These island states are skeptical about going full steam ahead with self determination/reliance and self trust.
The BBC(and newspapers) continue to fan the flame calling for comments on its failure rather than on its snail paced evolution.
Many in the population support such a grouping knowing that with one voice we MAY be listened to.
J A Mayro
Mayaro, Trinidad

Caricom is a very good idea, but, the political directorate lacks the will to make it materialise. It is a fact that there will have to be the shedding of certain aspects of being a sovereign country. I think the people of the region are waiting patiently and anxiously for this to happen, but, there is not that political will. The OECS has set the tone, I think that these countries are on the right path and must even go further. The leaders have indicated they intend to do. The people of the OECS must be very proud of their leaders and support them in this endeavour. The OECS must continue to lead in the integration process of the region.
St. Kitts and Nevis

I don't know why they have this meeting if they don't want to go ahead.
Tyrone Estwick

Yes, Caricom has a future.
Devon Greenidge
Bridgetown, Barbados

I have to agree reluctantly that Caribbean integration is a dream that has now become a nightmare. It has been sacrificed at the altar of egos; everyone wanting to have control of their own little fiefdom, without recognizing that whether you are Jamaica or Anguilla we are all non-entities in the sight of the developed world. Alas we all prefer to be bosses of nothing rather to be comrades contributing to something. I mourn for CARICOM which has died and no one wishes to take the responsibility for burying her. Maybe cremation would be better.
Lennox Chandler
A Caribbean man

Caricom is at the crossroads; we must continue along the path to unity a la Caricom or some other body. It is of the utmost that we make Caricom more meaningful to the citizens of the English Caribbean. As it stands currently the average man in the street will say it has not made any difference and if so, the politicians must be held accountable.
Adlai Regis
Castries, St Lucia

Another Caricom "fete"; another opportunity lost for our "leaders" to redeem themselves. Alas, only more talk, and hand-wringing. Reminiscent of our equally glorious performance on the cricket field? At least, Captain Gayle makes no pretensions of pomp and circumstance. Our leaders espouse the Westminster system, but if they really honoured this, they would all resign, in abject disgrace. They have lost even their own self-respect, or as we say, "THEY HAVE NO SHAME".
Tony Webster
Bridgetown, Barbados

Caricom remains the region's most important forum for functional cooperation (which many of us take for granted) and for striving toward economies and politics of scale. But for too long we relied on preferential market access for our low skilled goods such as bananas and sugar and did not take advantage of that 30-year window of opportunity to diversify or become more efficient in agricultural production. We also face centripetal and centrifugal pressures that challenge intra-regional unity. And I know I am not the only one who feels as though most of our countries are, in the eyes of Trinidad, little more than prey.

Caribbean regional integration is undoubtedly a dream which time has come. However, today it is patently clear that the progress made towards this realization has left us more uncertain than we were over three (3) decades ago.
Caricom can be an instrument for good but as established is conceptually flawed and continued failure is inevitable. There is an unhealthy concentration of power in the hands of the political leadership and a commensurate potent democratic deficit, which accounts for its glaring deficiencies and fading achievements.
Nonetheless, I am confident that the best days for Caricom are ahead. I any event it is up to the present custodians of this regional institution take the necessary corrective steps today as tomorrow might very well be too late.
Andrew Okola
London, UK

The OECS Grouping seems to be headed in the right direction.
Look out for Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana moving towards their "Big Islands" movement.
I doubt Caricom will survive another five years.
The leaders in the OECS seem to be more visionary and more committed to unity and regional integration.
Kojo Williams Sr
Winnipeg, Canada

I think Caricom is almost a waste of time. Time and time again, we hear about leaders taking initiatives, but nothing coming out. I think each leader wants to govern his own little kingdom. With Caricom coming together, a loss-of-power syndrome will kill some of them. There are no real positives I can recall, because each country does what it feels. I don't think anything works. If the leaders cannot stand behind the decisions taken, it should be scrapped. If there are fantasies, they are created by the leaders themselves, who don't seem to trust each other, which gives reporters news to bring to the public.
Clayton Florent
Baie Mahault, Guadeloupe

Caricom is a total waste of time, resources, and money. It has been dead and needs to be given a proper burial.
Yolanda Paris
Florida, USA

Caricom is an excellent example of game theory. The challenge however arises when members have contending goals. This is further exacerbated by an imbalance in power amongst the countries. As such, negotiations become devoid of mutual gains and tend more towards the goals of the bigger fishes. Currently, the OECS seems more organised.
Trelson Mapp

Caricom is a good idea but the trouble is we need UNITY. Back in the 1960's we had the Federation, Jamaica though they could do better so they left followed by T&T, look at the state of Jamaica and T&T now. These Men don't understand if the Caribbean Islands get together we will be stronger. What the PM of Dominica said is so true the Leaders in Europe are younger now they have no ties or bond with the Caribbean Islands, they are not inclined to help or give any help or grants to the Caribbean like before in the so called "good old days".
The colonial days are gone forever, we need UNITY.
Eileen Bernard,

Yes I think is men like RALPH GONSALVES and some of his of his colleagues like Skerritt, Douglas and others who think that they are the only ones who can speak for the Caribbean. CARICOM will end up just like the federation. They are just wasting time and taxpayers' money.
George Solomon,

The only thing that Caricom can do now is to pass a mandatory law across these Caribbean States demanding that a leader serve two terms and no more. Caribbean leaders tend to believe that someone died and left these islands in a golden will for them. Hence, they do not want to give up power. Take for instance the sad state of St. Kitts/Nevis and Denzil Douglas. Let us pray.
Dick Dore
Cayon, St. Kitts

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