CARICOM Faces Daunting Challenges and Daring Chances In 2013

How? We should burn our insidious trifling. 2013 gives us another opportunity not to be frittered away by non-essentials, or fret over secondary things. CARICOM’s mindscape is more resourceful, far more inventive and innovative than we perceive it to be. That’s why sustainable integration has the potential to electrify with scores of ingenious prudence and radical unexpectedness. 

However, we are more preoccupied by the glorification of barricades. Charged with a careless attitude to things that matter as supremely as the liberation of our souls and the fulfillment of our peoples’ biggest dreams, we are drowning in defective ethics and fertile wits. Why? We override our blessings and undermine our entrepreneurial spirit. 

I am not focusing on the obvious: unenlightened leadership, crime and insecurity, trade inequities, hesitancy over a functional regional court of final appeal, incoherent foreign policies, dried up sources of credit, grants and gifts, shared corruption between politicians and the electorate, foreign ownership of our finest assets, the noose of tourism as the major force behind our shattered economies, the comforting myth that the University of the West Indies produces educational innovation that solves regional problems, and a rudderless plan for the CARICOM Secretariat to become a power-broker for high quality prosperity! 

Institutionally, the secret to manage dynamic change created by international upheaval and homebred trouble is to change our detrimental management approaches. Merit-based excellence must replace preferences for chronic cronyism. Superlative action must cancel spectacular talk. These calamities from which goodness and integrity offer no insurance, suggest that solid regionalism is cemented in the tough process of building a strong people-hood. 

Lest we forget, our forebears lived through many changes. They never feared the difficult or shied away from the delicate. How? They asked questions that stunned them into cultivating a passion for truth and a discipline for patience. And they were willing to face the present and the future when their backs were against the wall. 

They have also imparted an extraordinary sense of wide flexibility. For one thing, if they taught us something about clarity of aim, and provided a DNA for a splendid concentration with a marvelous devotion to an all-consuming quest, we should at least know what our goal should be. 

Challenge one: We’ve injured our foresight, acumen, and spiritual sensitivities. We have settled for narrow materialism and useless machinery; we have signed over our birthright to the prolific plans of other nations and peoples. I believe that cross-cultural learning and trans-cultural lessons should enlighten the way forward, but not decide our indigenous touch for greatness. More so, we aren’t prepared to steep ourselves in the wonderful things that our tiny islands have to offer the world. We are not the go-to people, when the search for problem solving by global corporations and powerful governments in technology, healthcare, finance and values is in full swing. 

Challenge two: We scorn our collective future. For too long we have lingered in the vicinity of sight but not insight. We apparently want something, but we are unclear as to what it is. To furiously misunderstand the fortunes of foresight is to doom ourselves to walk in grooves of this mischievous obsession with individualized survival and geographic status over our hectic island existence? What have we lost? Where are we heading? The implication? We crave nice enticements for strategic survival. We like sheltered flirtations with charming mediocrity. We accept inducements for feel-good alliances. Simply, we don’t’ worry about our dangerous impulse to undercut and manipulate each other for fleeting benefits and long-term havoc. 

Chance one: We could chisel success from within our boundaries! We should explore again our authentic existence. It must be of our own making. Strategically, we can re-discover grand motives and great missions. For example, what single problem could CARICOM solve on an international scale, and how do we organize ourselves to do it? 

Chance two: We should take a daring adventure. It is found in the wonder of a self-expression that embraces, affirms, and respects each other. This needs a worthwhile outlet. There’s a new opportunity to throw targeted energies at a revived and riveted CARICOM. The possibility to concentrate on a burning commitment for regional consistency is here. This involves executing with excellence based on practical research and capitalizing on niche- development openings. Could we envision a birthing of surging hope? Only Caribbean peoples can measure all the troubles of our battering anxieties, agonizing heartaches and raw sorrows, and respond with relevance and honor!

A performing CARICOM is for those yearning to excel, to achieve stability, and to align an array of skills and intelligences with these momentous times! What entitles us to inventiveness and thriving? The answer: Our laughter and lime, capacity and creativity, cricket and carnival, spiritual value and cultural philosophy, sunshine and sublime, and our breathless beaches and the brilliance of our people. While the groaning specter of poverty is all around us, and while I’m not sure whether we’ll choose peppermint candy or lighted candle, the glaring extravagance of loyalty is within our reach. 

You can’t put a price value on Caribbean love when wasted in generous deeds. Actually, sharing the mysteries of the Caribbean mind and the genius of island impulse should forge a stronger CARICOM. Let’s waste our efforts on Caribbean culture, peoples, and ideals and wire them to global trends and platforms. This is a daunting and daring inspiration! 2013 could shine from first to last!

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