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Wholesale China Jerseys and who would challenge that vision

By Sir Shridath RamphalToday,Cheap NFL Jerseys Online, 23 years after Grand Anse, it is interesting that among the 13 specific actions enumerated were:• Arrangements by January 1991 (21 years ago) for the free movement of skilled and professional personnel as well as for contract workers on a seasonal or project basis; and• immediate and continuing action to develop by 4 July 1992 (20 years ago) a regional system of air and sea transportation including the pooling of resources by existing air and sea carriers conscious that such a system is indispensable to the development of a Single Market and Community.How do we feel about these commitments now? Both their specific undertakings and their promises of fraternity, when in our time irritations and worse are the daily experience of West Indians at West Indian immigration counters, and affordable travel in their Caribbean homeland remains the dream of our one people? Can we just shrug off these commitments of two decades by simply saying: ‘well, that was then’? If that is so, what is now? Where are we going, and who is the pied piper calling the tune?I do not intend to traverse the ground covered by the West Indian Commission’s Report,Cheap Jerseys China, Time for Action (also mandated by Grand Anse), save to recognise that when its recommendations came to be considered at the 1992 CARICOM Summit here in Port of Spain, Prime Minister Robinson was gone from office; and with him the light of Grand Anse seemed to have gone out of the Region.Later that year, Trinidad and Tobago’s new Prime Minister Patrick Manning, as CARICOM’s Chairman, wrote the West Indian Commission. It was a letter of encouragement. He assured us that it was the firm determination of CARICOM Heads to continue to give most serious consideration to all aspects of the Report.Suffice it to say that, over the last 20 years, such ‘serious consideration’ did not induce acceptance of the Commission’s crucial recommendation for a central executive authority to ensure implementation of the decisions taken together by CARICOM Heads in their collective sovereignty.They came close to doing so at Rose Hall in Jamaica on CARICOM’s 30th Anniversary in 2003 under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson; but qualified their conclusion to develop ‘a system of mature regionalism’, along the lines urged by the West Indian Commission, by calling it ’an agreement in principle’. Nothing more happened to that ‘Rose Hall Declaration’; it simply joined the already long list of forgotten CARICOM Declarations, Affirmations and Commitments.But what of Grand Anse and the specific decisions on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy?A year ago, the Institute of International Relations of the University of the West Indies here at St Augustine – as I recall, very much the creation of Eric Williams — conducted a study of the region’s record by some of the most eminent scholars on the Caribbean. It is the most authoritative contemporary commentary on the state of Caribbean integration – the state of the vineyard. Entitled Caribbean Regional Integration, its Executive Summary said the following:“There was a real sense that the optimistic era of Caribbean integration may well have passed just at the time when it is most desperately needed. The difficulties facing the region are no longer simply about competing effectively in a globalising economy.Rather,Cheap Jerseys, they are ‘existential threats’ which bring into question the fundamental viability of Caribbean society itself. Climate change, transnational crime, the decline of regional industries, food security, governance challenges, international diplomacy and so on are problems which can only be effectively addressed by co-ordinated regional responses.Moreover, these problems are becoming increasingly acute in the immediate present; failure to act immediately, decisively and coherently at the regional level could quite conceivably herald the effective decline of Caribbean society as a ‘perfect storm’ of problems gathers on the horizon.The regional leadership is seen as critical to either the continued deterioration of the integration process, or its re-generation. … This report is therefore timely in terms of both its recommendations and the window of opportunity that has opened for the region – and especially the Heads of Government (HoG) – to seize the integration initiative.It cannot be stressed just how critical the present juncture is; this may well be the last chance to save the formal integration process in the Caribbean as we know it, and to set the region on a new development path. Another opportunity might not present itself in the future.”The study was available before last year’s CARICOM Summit in St. Kitts; but there is no indication that Caribbean Heads took notice of it. Certainly their decision to ‘pause’ the integration process; slow down the pace a bit, as the Chairman insisted, is at total variance with the Study’s call for the regeneration of the integration process.At the St. Kitts Summit, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago – and a successor of Eric Williams – asserted that: “Trinidad and Tobago is for CARICOM and for regional integration”, So, in different words, did many other political leaders. Why then is ‘one West Indies’ an oxymoron to so many?We all need to ponder this as we celebrate 50 years of independence; not just Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica this year; but everyone over the years to come. While we celebrate survival; we must not ignore our under-achievement and pretend that they were 50 glorious years.On the regional slate, which is ours collectively, the record is not good, and the trends beyond 50 are palpably worrying. Caribbean people know of these failures, they know the state of the regional vineyard. They are no longer moved by political promises of its imminent improvement. Yet, political leaders over the years have sustained the pretence that regional integration is moving forward. The opposite is now so obvious that pretences are being abandoned.Within recent months, political leaders have been speaking out: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica,NFL Jerseys China, recalled Derek Walcott’s acceptance speech as he received the Nobel Prize for Literature and likened the Caribbean to a beautiful vase that had been shattered by its history into many pieces. The Prime Minister spoke of ‘fitting these broken pieces together’; but concluded:“To be quite frank, for the most part, the Community exists in the words of the Treaty only, rather than (as) a tangible entity that is seen by its people as a vital part of their lives. The force of historical necessity which might otherwise have driven the peoples together naturally are weak or non-existent. The Community at this time needs both unifying cultural symbols and an inspiring rallying call that ’all ah we got to be one’.”On the eve of the recent Inter-Sessional Meeting of Heads in Suriname the Prime Minister of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, in an open letter to the Secretary General of CARICOM circulated to all Heads of Government asserted that:“CARICOM’s mode of marking time, at an historical moment of overwhelming awesome challenges for our region, which compellingly demands a more profound integration, is mistaken… The times demand that we move resolutely beyond minimalism (in the integration process) which inexorably leads to regression; ‘pausing’ is but a euphemism for standing still which,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, in a dynamic world, is sliding backward.”Even more recently, Owen Arthur, who, while he was Prime Minister of Barbados, had responsibility for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) in the quasi-Cabinet of CARICOM, citing the UWI St. Augustine Study, warned:“In a word, the region faces the spectre of becoming a ‘failed society’, we must build new strategic alliances within the region and with entities beyond the region to avert such a catastrophe. It is the challenge which makes it imperative that we strengthen every facet of our integration movement and move to a more perfect union. As we seek to move towards a more perfect union the most fundamental challenge which must be addressed in the years ahead is that of improving and securing the weak and inadequate foundations on which integration has hitherto been made to rest.”These are serious signals of concern sent by West Indians who care. They come from the weaker of our countries and from the stronger. You in Trinidad and Tobago are in some respects the strongest now. When Jamaica precipitated the fall of federalism 50 years ago they were the strongest in our Region. But they precipitated that fall on a lack of knowledge and false belief – deliberately fostered by those who opposed federation for their narrow political purposes.Federation is an octopus anxious to suck Jamaica dry, recorded John Mordecai as being a symbol used by the JLP to embroider their opposition campaign.You must not, in your present strength, do the same to Caribbean integration. Remaining out of the full appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice is one of those acts that, without meaning to, could precipitate a collapse of more than the Court. Continuing to squat on the door-step of the Privy Council 50 years after Independence; keeping the CCJ on ‘probation’ while clinging to its Headquarters, is not the integration model to which this country is legally bound. Fortunately, Prime Minister Persad-Bissesar has said enough to suggest that all is not lost for that model.Were it lost,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, we would all be the weaker. You would lose not only a guaranteed market for your manufactured goods and for your services, but also allies – kith and kin – who would stand at your elbow and strengthen your arm in your bargaining with countries larger and stronger than you; and in resisting external forces that threaten the safety of your society; all those gains that eric Williams saw – after Independence – as the pillars on which rested the real case for unity of the Caribbean countries.But let me be more positive. The Caribbean Community needs Trinidad and Tobago not just as a player but as a leader – an intellectual leader most of all. It will not have escaped you how central – and, indeed, how indispensable – have been the roles that Trinidadian leaders and technocrats have played in the history of moulding our scattered archipelago into a West Indian Community, if not yet a West Indian nation. You are engaged at home in that necessary process of creating one people out of many; of resolving the challenge that Eric Williams recognised at Independence.At this time that marks both 50 years of national independence and 50 years of stagnating regionalism it is well to remember that in the Introduction to his History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (which Williams published on Independence Day) he wrote of conjoined challenges. This first wasivision of the races was the policy of colonisation. Integration of the races must be the policy of Independence. Only in this way can the colony of Trinidad and Tobago be transformed into the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago.But he added with respect to the integration of the separated Caribbean Territories:Separation and fragmentation were the policy of colonialism and rival colonialisms. Association and integration must be the policy of Independence.As he saw it, (and who would challenge that vision?) you – the people and leaders of Trinidad and Tobago – need to continue to labour in the regional vineyard even as you pursue your destiny of unity at home.It is your vineyard; every bit as much as Trinidad and Tobago is your homeland. I suspect that every native of Trinidad and Tobago has been a West Indian from the first moment of rational awakening. These twin islands that nurture you command your devotion and your loyalty; but, in a further dimension of belonging, the West Indies is also your native land. I know that is true of me.So let me end this Memorial Lecture to a great West Indian with words I have used before here in Trinidad. In 1978, 34 years ago, I was privileged to receive an honorary LL.D degree from UWI at the St. Augustine Campus. I gave the Graduation Address, and ended it with these words which I believe are even more insistent in their message now:I end with an exhortation by one man for his country as the 20th Century began, and I invoke it as exhortation to you and as a prayer for our Region that is our country also. They are the immortal words of Tagore’s Gitanjali that have such a resonance for us now:Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;Where knowledge is free;Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;Where words come out from the depth of truth;Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever widening thought and action –Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.Into that realm of reason, I, too, pray – let the West Indies awake!