It is time for us to admit that up to this day, the wind in our sails as a Caribbean people has been the wind that drove the slave-ships to these shores, and the compass that we have been using is the same one that charted our colonization.
Under that form of guidance the perfect marriage was seen as one between slave and slave owner. Having been indoctrinated to strive for this form of relationship, we as a Caribbean people have been seldom able to cultivate the sort of imagination that is so eloquently outlined in the article below. But our romance with the devil was bound to lead to disappointment, and now that the slave-ship is running into troubled waters it is the human cargo from Africa that is being scuttled. So there is no one else to turn to but your family, but we have to take an enema and purge the nigga-mentality that mek we feel that we better than dem. Read article below and see video at the end.
AN URGENT CALL FOR CARIBBEAN STATESMEN AND PATRIOTS
(from DAVID A. COMISSIONG President, Clement Payne Movement)
THIS IS AN URGENT CALL FOR CARIBBEAN STATESMEN AND PATRIOTS! (PART 1)
In this era of crisis, when virtually every single Caribbean country seems destined to end up in the clutches of the dreaded International Monetary Fund, it would do well for the people and nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to reflect on that phase in the history of the United States of America (USA) that has come to be known by historians as the “Critical Period” - the years between 1783 and 1789.
The year 1783 was the year in which the thirteen former British colonies of North America, having fought a 7 year war against British imperialism, finally secured their Independence, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. But the independent USA that emerged in 1783 was not the strong, successful, federal Republic that we know today! Rather, it was a loose and weak confederation of 13 sovereign states - not too different from the so-called “Community” of sovereign states that is our currently existing CARICOM.
The USA of 1783 was the creature of the 1777 Articles of Confederation - a constitutional document that merely provided for a relatively powerless unicameral Congress in which each State possessed one vote, which was cast by ‘delegates’ appointed by the legislature of the State. The Confederation had no powers of taxation; no executive President; no formal constitutionally stipulated executive departments or officers; and not even a federal Court!
This initial loose and weak “Confederation” of the United States of America was so ineffectual that by the year 1786 the nation faced total collapse and the prospect of reconquest by Britain. Bereft of any firm guidance by a national government, the country had become generally chaotic. Congress could, and did, pass resolutions and enact ordinances, but it had no powers to carry its decisions into effect and no courts capable of enforcing its orders either on individuals or on states. The upshot was that foreign trade came to a standstill, agriculture sank into depression, commercial debts became uncollectable, and the national government - in the form of Congress - dropped to an abysmal level of powerlessness and general disregard.
It was in this dire situation of existential crisis that a small number of outstanding statesmen and patriots emerged with a plan and with the will and commitment to transform the loose and weak Confederation into the strong and nationally integrated Federal Republic of the USA that we know today. The heroes that I refer to are James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
Madison led the way when, in 1786, he was successful in getting the 13 states to agree to hold an “inter-state” meeting at Annapolis in Maryland to “consider the extension of national authority to the regulation of commerce”. Of course, this modest “meeting”, with its modest agenda, was merely the thin edge of the wedge that was to be used in securing a fundamental overhaul of the Constitution of the country!
The Annapolis Convention was deliberately cut short, but not before it had drawn up a proposal to Congress and the 13 states that a follow-up Convention be held the following year in Philadelphia for the larger purpose of making “the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union”.
The rest, as they say, is history! Not only was the Philadelphia Convention held in 1787, but it turned out to be one of the most creative convocations in history, producing a thoroughly revamped Constitution that established the national government of the USA that we are all familiar with to day, inclusive of the office of President, the Senate, the House of Congress, and the Supreme Court. The new Constitution also provided the basis for the creation of the departments of State, Treasury, War and the list goes on.
Following upon the successful Philadelphia Convention of 1787, Madison, Hamilton and Jay set out on a mission to convince the 13 state government to ratify the new Constitution, and after some two years of heroic endeavour - including the publication and dissemination of the 85 essays contained in the “Federalist Papers” - they were spectacularly successful. By 1789 all of the States had ratified the new Constitution, and the new nation, after 15 years of trial and error, finally had the solid system of national governance that could provide for its integration, military protection and economic and social development!
What, you may well ask, does all of this have to do with us in CARICOM? Well, I would like to suggest that just as the visionary statesmen of the USA were not content to accept the deficient first version of their new multi-territory country and were determined to press onward until they transformed it into a structure that was capable of dealing effectively with the challenges facing their new nation, we too must have a similar vision and commitment in relation to our CARICOM.
Surely, we can all see that the current governance and integration mechanism that we possess in our Caribbean Community (CARICOM)is not strong enough or comprehensive enough to deal with the very serious economic, social, and cultural challenges that are bearing down upon us. And if this is the case, why shouldn’t we have a similar resolve to revisit our regional Constitution - our Treaty of Chaguaramas - and to do what is necessary to further develop and transform it, so that we can give ourselves that most precious of gifts:- a regionalized “national” governance structure that is capable of elevating our Caribbean Community to the position of strength, progress, glory and honour that is its rightful due!
It is against this background therefore that I propose to look at the developmental needs of our CARICOM region, and to consider how we can further develop the currently existing CARICOM institutions and structures to adequately accommodate and service these needs.
I am proceeding on the basis of my firmly held conviction that the constitution of a genuine regional nation-state can be brought forth organically out of the currently existing Treaty of Chaguaramas. Indeed, what I am proposing to do is to use the existing Treaty of Chaguaramas to produce a blueprint or plan for the construction of a regional nation-state that is tailored to fit our unique circumstances and needs in the Caribbean. And it is my hope that, just like in the United States of America, statesmen and patriots would be willing to come together to take what is envisioned and planned (or some further modified version of it), and convert it into reality.
URGENT CALL FOR PATRIOTS AND STATESMEN (PART 2)
In this segment of my article I am going to be arguing that we Caribbean people can establish a Federation of the Caribbean; that we can do so by simply evolving and extending our already existing Treaty of Chaguaramas; and that when we do so, we don’t necessarily have to relinquish the status of nationhood that our individual island nations currently possess, nor compromise the unique cultural identities of our various mini states.
But let us begin by reminding ourselves why we need to establish a strong multi-territory nation-state in the Caribbean.
The harsh reality is that the small states of the Caribbean cannot seriously face up to the massive threats posed by a crisis-ridden and imperialist-oriented international Capitalist system with a protective mechanism that is as weak and deficient as our currently existing Caribbean Community (CARICOM)! We need something of much greater strength and substance! We need something that more closely approximates a multi-territory nation-state equipped with a federal or confederal government!
And there is no reason why we should not set our sights on achieving something that “approximates” a multi-territory nation-state — a Federation or Confederation of the Caribbean --- in light of the fact that we share a common geographical space, and a common history, kinship and cultural identity.
Furthermore - and just as importantly - we already possess the basic structure of a regional national Constitution in the form of the “Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas”! All we need to do now is to consciously evolve and further develop the “Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas”, and to commit ourselves to seriously implementing the product of such an exercise in constitutional development.
But let me hasten to add that the “constitutional product” that we are aiming for is one that will stop short of being the type of traditional unitary or federal state that would require the wiping out of individual island statehood and sovereignty! Having the strength of a Federation or Confederation of the Caribbean does not necessarily mean that we have to dismantle the status of “statehood” or “nationhood” that our Caribbean mini-nations currently possess!
There is no reason why we cannot advance to a Federation or Confederation while at the same time maintaining the de jure “nation” status of Barbados, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and the other member states of Caricom. There is no reason why these states cannot continue to possess such political institutions as a government, a state parliament and law courts! And there is also no reason why the establishment of a Federation or Confederation of the Caribbean should prevent Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica and the others from continuing to preserve and develop their unique cultural identities!
Of course, one of the compelling reasons for wanting to maintain the “nation” status of our Caricom member states is centered on the power and clout in international organizations that comes with such status. At present, our CARICOM states possess 14 votes at the United Nations, at the Organisation of American States, and in several other international organisations. This is a source of strength that it would do us well to maintain.
Basically, what I am saying is that the “Further Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas” that I am proposing must aim at a regional Constitutional structure that is designed to preserve our existing strengths and to eradicate our weaknesses!
We must set about to create a Federation or Confederation in which equal state partners voluntarily associate in order to perform specific tasks collectively, and to bestow upon themselves an international persona that will deliver a certain level of regard and respect in the international arena. But we must go about creating these supra-national regional structures that are so essential to fostering the unimpeded growth of our regional economy and to securing for us other social and political benefits, without, at the same time, negatively impinging on the unique cultural identities of our various mini-states.
The currently existing weaknesses or needs that we must tackle through the creation of a regional multi-territory Federation or Confederation are as follows:-
(1) The need to facilitate and energize economic development based on the establishment of regional industries and on the mobilization and creative combining of the resources of the various territories.
(2) The need to end the wasteful duplication of political and administrative activity and structures in our sub-region, and to better organize and synchronise such structures.
(3) The need to give institutional and political expression to the deeply rooted sense of Caribbean nationhood felt by the people of the CARICOM territories.
(4) The need to develop a foreign policy and a collective platform for dealing with the outside world, that is strong, meaningful and coherent, and that is effectively articulated.
(5) The need to deliver to the people of our CARICOM territories a common and elevated level of human and civil rights, living standards and life opportunities.
(6) The need to give to the people of our CARICOM territories a sizeable area of living-space in which they would be free to roam and explore, in search of life opportunities and individual or family destinies.
(7) The need to bestow upon the people of our sub-region a collective nation-type structure that is large enough, strong enough and self-reliant enough to elicit appropriate respect and regard from the nations of the international community.
Our next step therefore is to consider how the Caribbean patriots and statesmen of this era can modify and further evolve the “Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas” in order to produce a constitutionally undergirded regional institutional structure— a Federation or Confederation --- that is capable of helping us to grapple with and satisfy these critical needs.
The Caribbean statesmen and patriots of the 1960's and 70's — Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, Vere Bird— took us as far as the currently existing Treaty of Chaguaramas. Let us not reject or downplay their handiwork, but rather, let us see how we can further evolve and develop their (and our) Treaty of Chaguaramas, in order to give us our much needed and desired end-product — a Federation or Confederation of the Caribbean!
The next segment of this article will roll out a detailed proposal for the organic modification and development of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
URGENT CALL FOR CARIBBEAN STATESMEN AND PATRIOTS
As we seek to go forward in the Caribbean during this period of crisis, the central question that we need to consider is:- How can the “Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas” be so organically evolved that it is made to give birth to a regional entity that approximates a multi-territory nation-state equipped with a federal or confederal government? In other words, how can we utilize the Treaty of Chaguaramas to give birth to a Federation or Confederation of the Caribbean?
And of course, we must begin with the highest organs and institutions of a nation-state - a national Executive, Parliament and Head of State. How can a collective, region-wide Executive, Parliament and Head of State emerge organically from the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas?
Well, let us begin with the institution of Parliament! Let us remind ourselves that the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas has already established a Conference of Heads of Government, and has also made provision for an Association of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians.
My proposal, therefore, is that we establish a bi-cameral “Federal Assembly” in which the upper chamber – to be known as the “Council of States” — would be comprised of the Heads of Government of the 15 CARICOM member states . All member states would therefore have equal representation in the upper house of the Federal Assembly.
The lower house — to be known as the “National Council” — would be constructed along the lines of the Association of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians, and would therefore consist of sitting members of the Houses of Assembly of the 15 CARICOM member states, who are selected by their fellow parliamentarians to serve as members of the lower chamber of the Federal Assembly. In other words, they will serve both as parliamentarians of their national House of Assembly and as Federal parliamentarians. And of course, seats in the National Council will bear a relationship to the size of populations of the 15 CARICOM member states. Thus, the larger the population a member-state has, the larger will be its allocation of seats in the lower chamber of the Federal Assembly.
Under my proposal, the Federal Assembly --- comprised of the Council of States and the National Council --- would convene in different state capitals of the new “Federation”, four times a year, for sittings lasting three weeks each, and would carry out the following functions:-
(1) Enact Federal legislation;
(2) Consider and make Constitutional amendments;
(3) Approve the members of the Federal Cabinet;
(4) Approve the Federal budget;
(5) Elect the Chancellor or Head of the Federal Civil Service;
(6) Elect the members of federal court - the Caribbean Court of Justice;
(7) Elect the Commander-in-Chief of the Federal army;
(8) Establish Standing Parliamentary Committees that correspond to the various Ministries of the Executive, and that would provide continuity to the legislative duties of the Assembly during the periods when the Assembly is not sitting.
As indicated earlier, the parliamentarians of the “Federation” would function in dual capacities - they would remain Parliamentarians and/or Heads of Government of their territorial states, while at the same time, devoting a sum total of three months of the year to service as legislators of the Federation. In this era of modern communications technology, this is easily doable!
The members of the Executive or Cabinet of the Federation would, however, have to be full time officers! Let us now consider the Federal Cabinet.
The federal Executive or Cabinet - to be known as the “Federal Council” - would emerge out of such ALREADY EXISTING organs of CARICOM as the Council of Ministers responsible for Caricom Affairs, the Council for Finance & Planning, the Council for Trade & Economic Development, the Council for Foreign & Community Relations, the Council for Human & Social Development, and the Legal Affairs Committee.
These various organs of CARICOM consist of the Ministers of Government of the 15 member-states who are responsible for these spheres of activity. For example, the Council for Foreign & Community Relations consists of the various Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CARICOM member states.
Since the Federal Ministers will be full time officers, it means that no sitting state Minister of Government can become a Federal Minister. Rather, my proposal is that, at the commencement of every term of government of the Federation, the state Ministers who comprise the membership of the various Councils of CARICOM, would be brought together for the purpose of selecting an outstanding CARICOM citizen to serve as the Federal Minister of the portfolio covered by their particular Council.
A practical example may help to elucidate this point. Let us take the CARICOM Council for Trade & Economic Development. This Council brings together the territorial Ministers of Trade and Economic Affairs. Under my proposal, these Ministers will come together and identify and select an outstanding CARICOM citizen who can be entrusted with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Economic Affairs. This type of approach might, for example, permit the Federation to have a Norman Girvan - the Caribbean’s outstanding development economist - as its Minister of Trade and Economic Affairs!
However, the Council’s selection of a Minister-elect would not be the end of the Ministerial selection process! The next stage of the process would be for the selection to be forwarded to the Federal Assembly for approval by both chambers of the Assembly. Once this is achieved, then the Minister would be appointed and would take control of his particular federal Ministry.
Of course, the Federal Cabinet will consist of all the Ministers of the Federation - the Ministers of Trade & Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance & Planning, Transport & Power, Human & Social Development, Justice & Police, and Defence & Security - as well as the Chancellor or head of the Federal civil service.
The Cabinet will obviously be a collegial body, and, I am proposing that --- on a revolving annual or bi-annual basis— it should select one of its members to be Chairman of the Cabinet and, in effect, President of the Federation for that one or two year period. Of course, what this signifies is that to all intents and purposes the Cabinet will constitute the collegial Head of State of the Federation! Furthermore, this would also mean that no one territory will monopolize the Presidency of the Federation.
This then would be the basic outline of the government of a new Federation or Confederation, but one which, I again hasten to add, would not require the wiping out of individual island statehood or “nationhood”, nor the dismantling of the unique cultural identities of the various island and mainland states.
In the next segment of the article I will consider other subsidiary elements of the proposed Federal or Confederal governance structure, and go on to challenge such current political leaders of CARICOM as Prime Ministers Ralph Gonsalves, Portia Simpson-Miller, Kenny Anthony, Roosevelt Skerrit, Freundel Stuart, Denzil Douglas, Baldwin Spencer, Keith Mitchell, Perry Christie, Dean Barrow,and Kamla Persad-Bissessar to rise to the challenge of making an indelible mark on history by taking our region to the next phase of its historical journey— the establishment of a Federation or Confederation of the Caribbean!
URGENT CALL FOR CARIBBEAN STATESMEN AND PATRIOTS
I have spent the last three segments of this essay arguing that we Caribbean people can and should establish a Federation or Confederation of the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states; that we can do so by simply evolving and extending our already existing Treaty of Chaguaramas; and that when we do so we don’t necessarily have to relinquish the status of “nationhood” that our individual island-nations currently possess, nor compromise the unique cultural identities of our various mini-states.
One of the fundamental things we will accomplish by welding our various mini-states together politically, is the creation of a powerful new collective Federal government that will add to the effectiveness of our individual island governments, and bring to bear additional resources, focus and energy on fostering the development of our people. Thus, a political union will strengthen us rather than weaken us! A new, collective, Federal central government should therefore be viewed in terms of its ability to increase our capacity for self development.
The state of Florida in the United States of America, for example, possesses a state government that fosters the development of the territory and people of Florida. But it is also served by a federal government - the Federal Government of the United States of America - which brings additional attention and resources to bear on the development of the territory and people of Florida. Why then should we Caribbean people wish to continue to deny ourselves the additional developmental assistance of a collective “Federal” government?
Furthermore, once we establish a collective, unified Federal government, we will be able to rationalize and scale back some of the costly bureaucracy of our individual island governments! Why, for example, should a small region like the Caribbean be financing the costs of fourteen different embassies in New York and Washington, when one would suffice? The establishment of a ‘political union’ of the Caribbean will permit us to rationalize operations and save precious revenue in several spheres.
Surely, it must be clear to all thinking Caribbean people that if the countries of CARICOM were to unite politically they would - overnight - equip themselves with a number of new and powerful instruments that could be deployed to generate economic development and provide enhanced life opportunities for their people.
Of course, the highest and most powerful such new instruments would be a Federal Executive equipped with well defined management and administrative responsibilities in relation to the entire territory and population of the Federation.
Clearly, the Federal Executive would have to assume responsibility for the establishment of new collectively owned regional industries, and for overseeing the efficient functioning of a single market and economy. Furthermore, the Federal Executive could also be mandated to ensure that every geographical area of the Federation attains an agreed upon ‘minimum’ level of development and human welfare, since the whole purpose of having a political union would be to ensure a lifting of the quality of life for all citizens of our Federation or Union.
The existence of a political union would also provide us with a priceless opportunity to create a ‘common currency’, and to use the initial issuing of this new money as a mechanism for financing new developmental projects!
Let us spend a little time explaining how this would work. Firstly, let us recognise that a Federation or ‘Union of Caribbean States’ would have to be equipped with a collectively owned ‘National Bank’, and would also have to possess a common ‘currency’ or ‘money’ - a new Union of Caribbean States dollar.
And, naturally, the Federal Executive would possess the power to issue the new currency of the Union, and would do so through a newly established National Bank. Furthermore, the initial quantities of the currency could be issued through the ‘National Bank’ in the form of ‘credit’ or loans to the various island governments, state enterprises and appropriate private sector entities for the sole purpose of financing developmental projects designed to add to the productive capacity of our sub-region.
The issuing of credit for the purpose of increasing production will ‘not’ have an inflationary effect, and would allow the Federation or Union of Caribbean States to gradually phase in the common currency while at the same time phasing out the various island currencies over a period of time. Thus, with careful management of the new and old currencies we can avoid the dangers of inflation and foreign exchange leakage, while at the same time boosting economic diversification and output.
One can clearly see therefore how the establishment of a Federal Executive, a National Bank and a common currency would provide us with a new source of capital, and with a new and enhanced capacity to finance industrial, agricultural, fisheries, manufacturing, airport construction, and a host of other developmental projects.
As the Federation or Union launches its new “Caribbean” brand, it will also have to invest in creating relevant infrastructure and linkages running from Suriname in the south, right up the chain of islands to the Bahamas in the north - infrastructure for the construction of multi-territory regional industries. And clearly, one component of this nexus of infrastructure and linkages will have to be a system of high speed ferries and a unified national airline capable of the mass transportation of people and goods at very reasonable rates.
The Federation or Union will also require an inter-linked mass media system capable of providing it with the type of intimate and intensive news coverage that the American news networks provide for the people of the U.S.A. Not only will this help to solidify the new sense of identity, but it will also provide the basis for organising new cultural industries through which we collectively develop and launch singers, musicians, film makers, writers, artists, poets, dancers and dramatists under a new multi-territory “Caribbean” brand.
The new “Caribbean” brand will also be the banner under which we construct new regional industries such as a modern Caribbean fishing industry equipped with a deep sea fishing fleet and a canning factory, a ‘Caribbean’ agro-processing industry through which we process the whole range of Caribbean agricultural products and market them to the world, and a new multi-territory, culturally advanced Tourism industry.
The Federation may also wish to look to the future by integrating Trinidad’s petroleum industry with the solar energy and hydro electric initiatives of the other territories, to create a comprehensive multi-faceted Caribbean energy industry.
Space does not permit us to outline details of all of the collectively planned initiatives that the youth, workers and entrepreneurs of the Union will have to take forward, but suffice it to say that such initiatives will also have to encompass the spheres of education, health, manufacturing, sport, food production, scientific research and development, national insurance and welfare systems, housing, seaport and highway development and water management and distribution.
Yes, it is time to write a new chapter in the history of the Caribbean. A brave new world beckons to us, and we must have the wisdom and courage to decide to be makers of history and to inaugurate the new era. And we can be sure that it will be an exciting and uplifting era in which we finally give our youth a mission that is capable of engaging their ambition, creative imagination and sense of self worth!
URGENT CALL FOR CARIBBEAN STATESMEN AND PATRIOTS (PART 5)
We now conclude our five part essay on the establishment of a Federation or political union of the Caribbean by examining the relationship between the collective Federal government and the individual State governments, and by proposing a practical way forward on his issue.
Human nature being what it is, it is perhaps inevitable that there would be some tension between our new multi-territory Federal State and the individual-states. This is to be expected. But the answer to this it to establish a core of strong directive political principles to guide us and keep such tension to manageable proportions!
For example, our brand of Caribbean federalism should mandate that as many decisions as possible are to be reached at the local member-state level. We would therefore abjure the concept of “centralism”, with its mandate that everything be controlled and decided from one centre!
We would also need to have a clear understanding that the unity of the Federal State will be realised and preserved only if we respect the individuality of the various member-states. Thus, member-states must be permitted to enjoy a high degree of freedom in their political decisions, as well as a high degree of administrative autonomy.
Of course, each member-state will continue to have its own individual Constitution and laws. However, we would proceed on the basis that such Constitutions and state laws will follow the broad outlines of the Federal Constitution and legislation, but still allow for particular local needs.
Needless-to-say, the duties and powers of the Federal Government will be strictly defined and laid down in a new Federal Constitution. And generally speaking, the duty of the Federal Government will be to ensure internal and external security; to uphold and respect the constitutions and laws of the member-states; to maintain diplomatic relations with foreign powers; and to undertake economic planning and development on a region-wide basis.
Some of the specific functions which will have to fall under the authority of the Federal Government are - customs, postal and telecommunication services, the monetary system, the military, civil law and regulations, criminal law, controlling the common sea area, fisheries, air and sea transportation, region-wide economic planning, social security and the promulgation and upholding of human and civil rights.
Clearly, there will have to be a division of powers between the governments of the member-states and the Federal Government, and a possible schema for such a division could be as follows:-
(1) Those spheres in which the Federal Government is solely responsible for legislation. (These have been mentioned in some detail already).
(2) Those spheres that are exclusively the province of the member-states. Examples would include the police, social welfare, state provided housing, and religious affairs.
(3) Those spheres in which the Federal Government legislates and the state governments executes the legislation. Examples would include labour regulations, social security, the civil and criminal law, traffic regulations, military affairs and fisheries.
(4) Those spheres in which the power to legislate is shared between the Federal Government and the state governments. Examples would include taxation, education, road building, insurance and health services.
Perhaps the last mentioned category is the most intriguing category of them all - a category that is based on the creative sharing of rights and responsibilities between the Federal Government and the state governments. Let us examine this category in greater detail by looking at the example of education.
In the case of education, the most basic levels of the education system - the Primary and Secondary levels of schooling - could, for example, be the province of the member-states, while the tertiary level - comprised of polytechnic and university education- could be controlled and regulated by the Federal Government. Of course, the CARICOM region already possesses the foundation of such a “shared” approach to education, with our collectively operated regional university - the University of the West Indies.
And it would be remiss of me to fail to mention that just as we already possess the basic structure of a Federal university system, under the Treaty of Chaguaramas we also already possess the following proto-Federal institutions - the Caribbean Court of Justice, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, and the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation, among others.
And so, if there is already so much in place, what is holding us back? Is it a paucity of confidence - a lack of belief in ourselves and in our own people?
If this is the case, then it is now high time for us to put self-negating doubt behind us and stride forward to forge our collective destiny as a Caribbean people!
In the year 2011, the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados drafted the text of a model Parliamentary resolution that laid down a 5 year time-table for the establishment of a Federation or political union of the Caribbean. We therefore end this essay by reproducing here the concluding paragraphs of the said Resolution - the segment that calls upon the member Governments of CARICOM to do the following:-
“(1) Agree in principle with the idea of transforming the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) into a multi-territory, politically unified, nation- state existing under a Federal system of government;
(2) Commit themselves to participating in a Constitutional Convention of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states, to be held in one of the said CARICOM states in the month of February in the year 2016, for the purpose of devising and agreeing upon the structure and Constitution of the said Federal nation-state, as well as the formula for ratifying the new Constitution and bringing the said nation-state into existence;
(3) Commit themselves to utilising the years and months between the adoption of this resolution and the month of February 2016 to engage in a comprehensive national consultation in their country that is designed to prepare their national population for integration and participation in the new Federal nation-state, and to discuss, devise and agree upon the ideas and proposals that the national delegates will put forward at the said Constitutional Convention;
(4) Agree that the location and specific dates of the said Constitutional Convention shall be decided upon by a majority vote of the CARICOM heads of government assembled together in a CARICOM heads of government summit; and
(5) Agree that each Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state that participates in the said Constitutional Convention shall be represented by a national delegation consisting of a maximum of 10 persons, of which five shall be representatives of the governing political party, two shall be representatives of the political opposition represented in Parliament, and three shall be representatives of civil society”.
(This essay is dedicated to the honour and revered memory of the giants of the Caribbean integration movement - Captain Arthur Cipriani, T.A. Marryshow, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sir Grantley Adams, Robert Bradshaw, Richard Hart, C.L.R. James, Dr. Eric Williams, Forbes Burnham, Elma Francois, W. A. Domingo, Richard B. Moore, Wynter Crawford, Sir Frank Worrell, Ebenezer Duncan, William Demas, Errol Barrow, Beryl Mc Burnie, Sir Arthur Lewis, Lloyd Best, Norman and Michael Manley, Walter Rodney, Tim Hector, George Odlum, Maurice Bishop, Bob Marley and Rosie Douglas - and to the Haitian fathers of Caribbean independence and nationhood: Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines, Henry Christophe and Alexander Petion.)