In early December 1972, then Guyana’s Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and three of his regional colleagues sprang a monumental political surprise on the world when they officially established diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro’s communist-ruled Cuba, largely ending the island’s American-imposed and policed hemispheric isolation and opening the floodgates to a rash of other nations to follow suit.
The man credited with pulling the single market trading aspects of the Caribbean Community together is leading an effort by people of influence in the region to urge Jamaica to remain a key and leading member of the family of nations.
Not many governments or citizens in the bloc of 15 nations in the Caribbean were hoping or praying to have to live with an administration led by Donald Trump, but his victory in the 2016 presidential election could mean a financial windfall for some countries, particularly those in the Eastern Caribbean.
Of the many nations in the Caribbean Community facing economic problems, Suriname this week said that tough economic austerity measures that were imposed by government and the International Monetary Fund in the past year are beginning to help the country emerge from its worst crisis since military rule in the 1980s.
Caribbean Community nations are raising awareness about reparations among member nations and keeping up pressure on Western nations such as Britain and France to agree to make reparation payments for the horrific trans-Atlantic slave trade.
A tiny, tourism dependent nation in the Eastern Caribbean is openly accusing the U.S. of persistently bullying it into submission, largely because the island took Washington to the international trade court and won in a bitter and ongoing row over internet gambling.
Now that Hurricane Matthew, one of the deadliest storms to have roared through the Caribbean and the U.S. in more than a decade, has made landfall in Florida, relief officials at the Caribbean’s main response agency are getting ready to roll out assistance efforts to member countries lashed by the storm.
One of the worst storms to have hit the Caribbean in about a decade is being blamed for at least two deaths in Haiti and infrastructural damage in a number of countries, including Barbados and Jamaica, as people in Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida are also bracing for its arrival.
In a rare show of political unity, government and the main opposition party in Trinidad met to discuss the island’s escalating crime situation, as murders averaged one a day in the oil-rich republic and as fears of a worsening situation spiked.
Several Caribbean Community countries are moving to draft new bills or pass legislation to make cyber crimes punishable under law, including heavy fines and jail terms for offenders, but the main regional media umbrella body is perplexed by clauses in some of the drafts.