Caribbean will prosper if financial order changes

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By Carlton Joseph

Carlton Joseph

Last week, Canada’s Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau got into the summit business by launching the Canada-CARICOM Strategic Partnership, with leaders of the Caribbean in Ottawa.  The prime ministers praised the launch and discussed how it will help build on the already strong, longstanding relationship between Canada and CARICOM members.  The meetings touched base on everything from climate change to reforming global financial institutions, with Caribbean leaders pushing for more Canadian private investment.  PM’s Holness and Trudeau highlighted their collaboration on advancing climate resilience and sustainable ocean management, growing clean energy capacity, building inclusive and sustainable economies, defending the rules-based international order, and strengthening regional security and stability and agreed to remain in contact.

President of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan highlighted his collaboration on advancing climate resilience, the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in building sustainable economies, defending the rules-based international order (RBO), and strengthening regional security and stability, particularly as it relates to the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.  Barbados PM, Mia Mottley urged Trudeau to help the Caribbean speak truth to power by convincing them to stop preventing a reform of global financial institutions.

Haiti’s crisis dominated the summit.  Governed by Mr. Ariel Henry since August 2021 when he assumed the role of PM, without being elected, the country has witnessed extreme violence, sexual assaults, a hunger crisis and general chaos.   Trudeau emphasized that Canada has over 30 years’ experience in supporting the Haitian people, and that he has been pushing the global community to target Haiti’s political class before a gang crisis further destabilizes the Caribbean.  And, he is convinced that the only lasting solutions will come through working with the Haitian people and empowering them to direct and take responsibility for the future.  He did not indicate if Canada will take part in a Kenya-led multinational security mission in Haiti, but Canadian officials report that the RCMP will deploy police to maintain stability after the intervention ends. 

Trinbago’s PM Rowley expressed that CARICOM leaders are concerned that their support for Haiti will be conflated with propping up a minority government arrangement, and it was critical that the members be seen as honest brokers. 

Trudeau reiterated Canada’s commitment to working with CARICOM, the United Nations, and other international partners to re-establish peace and security in Haiti, coordinating international security assistance, advancing Haitian-led solutions, and bolstering the Haitian National Police’s capacity and resources, and thanked Jamaica for hosting Canadian training of the Haitian National Police.

The trade and investment roundtable discussed ways for Caricom and Canadian investors to deepen business ties and create new opportunities for workers, ways to diversify trade and expand investment in financial services, resilient infrastructure, clean technology, information and communication technologies and natural resource management and shared work to build sustainable economies that work for everyone.  Mr. Trudeau announced that Canada will be expanding the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries Tariff (CCCT)program that gives countries duty-free trade access to the Canadian market, and committed to implementing a new foreign labour program for agriculture and fish processing under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Caribbean Leaders also discussed their shared commitment to democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and the rules-based international order.   Trudeau said that the ties between Canadian and Caribbean communities, businesses, and people run deep, and Canada will continue to work with Caribbean partners to build a more secure, stable, and prosperous future, including for people in Haiti, Venezuela, and the Middle East.   They all agreed that with progress made at the Summit, and the new Canada-CARICOM Strategic Partnership, Canada and the CARICOM will continue working together to create jobs, fight climate change, and keep people safe.  The Caribbean leaders praised Canada’s leadership in development aid as Caribbean countries gained independence in the 1960s, and Ottawa’s continued role in governing the Caribbean Development Bank.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Ms. Mottley and other Caribbean leaders must understand that commitment to the RBO means keeping the systems, organizations and policies to which the Caribbean countries have been committed to RBO since they gained independence but are still poor and always begging for assistance. 

The global financial institutions are the key instruments of the rules-based order (RBO) and therefore will not be reformed, because its structure gives the Western Alliance (G-7) leverage over the worlds’ economy, especially developing and underdeveloped countries.   The G7 has installed the IMF, World Bank and the WTO to ensure that they control the world’s economy and that weaker countries accept neoliberalism in order to be integrated in their economic system.  This cabal has forced developing countries to accept the neoliberal ethic that the accumulation of wealth for its own sake is normal and natural, and that socioeconomic inputs are irrelevant in their decision making. 

For them, free-market capitalism, deregulation, and reduction in government spending is the only way to achieve economic success; people do not matter.  Caribbean leaders must openly oppose the RBO, and so called “restoration of democracy” in Venezuela, since restoration of democracy really means regime change, and installation of a US typical puppet like Juan Guaido, if they want to facilitate any change in these global financial institutions and the RBO.

(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington D.C., is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)