So Britain decided to exit the EU and all hell literally broke loose; will Jamaica follow suit and hightail it out of CARICOM? For all intents and purposes, CARICOM was designed to “…improve standards of living and work; the full employment of labor and other factors of production.” Additionally, according to Coalition for the International Criminal Court, CARICOM was designed to facilitate “…accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence; expansion of trade and economic relations with third States; enhanced levels of international competitiveness…” to name a few. However, this has not quite been the case in recent years.
Jamaica vs. the Rest
My little island has a wealth of resources, ranging from creative geniuses (music, poetry, crafts) to tourism. Additionally, we have agricultural and mineral resources that make us the envy of many developed countries. But, what I find astonishing is that some of our regional neighbours have been unrelenting in their efforts to stifle our economy. We have seen examples of tyranny by Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, towards Jamaicans in particular. Now, this is not from an individual level, but from a systematic, bureaucratic level, where the governments of the countries involved could work towards fixing some of these issues. More recently, Antigua and Barbuda has joined on the band wagon to make business difficult for budding Jamaican entrepreneurs.
Jamaica has been substantially independent over the years, but in a sense that it has relied very little on it’s regional neighbours. Moreover, Jamaica receives more aid from China than it does from its own backyard (insert *eye emoji*). I kid you not! Our regional neighbours are typically unfazed by regional crises and look out mainly for themselves. Therefore, what is the purpose of CARICOM if members are not held accountable for breaking laws of the treaty and continuously do so?
We should perhaps graciously leave and continue to focus on our agenda of economic development and continue to compete aggressively. We have seen way too many infractions on the part of our regional counterparts that go unresolved. Our aim should be to define ourselves as a unique treasure in the Caribbean which Includes:
- The richest Caribbean culture known worldwide
- The most sought-after human resources from the Caribbean
- The highest number of female managers/leaders per capita
- Some of the most talented individuals
- Marijuana (one of the fastest growing industries in the world)
Consequently, Jamaica, I would encourage us as a people to work towards seeing the pros and cons of being a member of CARICOM. Additionally, consider the value of being in this community as it relates to support and overall economic and regional involvement. ~JGIC
Jodi-Ann is a Master of Arts in Geography candidate in Nova Scotia who enjoys helping international students and represents her native island, Jamaica, every opportunity she gets. An educator at heart, she enjoys taking each opportunity to offer advice and answer questions about school, life and work. If you want to get to know her, walk with your pet cat, one of Jodi’s published books, and chocolate – the good kind!