4th Future Diplomats Essay Competition
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is celebrating 40 years of integration in 2013. Discuss the achievements of CARICOM in light of the statement and make suggestions for future development.
Kerri Mc Neil
Happy fortieth anniversary to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)! An establishment which has transgressed shared colonial history; propelling its fifteen member states and five associate member states to economic integration and social development. The achievements will be discussed in ascending order of importance (CDEMA, CCJ, CXC and CSME). Suggestions such as the introduction of art forms and history into the school curriculum will be elaborated on for future developmental reference. Regional leaders recognized how valuable the Caribbean is due to its rich history, which, was in itself an economic propeller and indirectly an agent of social development.
Notwithstanding the divisions that came along with it. It has presented a diverse community viable for exploration. The need for a Caribbean identity proved to be a goal worth meeting. As globalization aggressively pounced on the minds of Caribbean nationals, destabilizing the already broken cultural and economic foundation, the leaders of these Caribbean nations saw a challenge at hand and founded the CARICOM on the first of August 1973 to promote integration and unity in hopes of achieving international competitiveness and self-reliance. The survival of CARICOM for forty years is not qualified for inessential interrogation. The goal statement of the Secretariat consolidates this, “
To provide dynamic leadership and service, in partnership with Community institutions and groups toward the attainment of a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable community, with improved quality of life for all.” This is an engine for generating efficient performance from the twenty-three designated institutions of the Caribbean Community. For example, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). This institution is the functioning of the Caribbean’s educational successes. Need I expound by way of The Mighty Sparrow, “ Education, education, this is the foundation. Our rising population needs sound education!” Our standing committee members could attest to that! In addition to this, there are numerous achievements of the CARICOM, however this essay chooses to focus on the important ones through the institutions under CARICOM.
To begin with, the Caribbean region is prone to natural disasters. Under this observation, the Caribbean Community engaged in the implementation of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency(CDEMA) in the late twentieth century after reports of severe change of weather patterns. There were other agencies but the region needed a regionally centralized disaster preparedness and relief agency. As such one may understand the role of the CDEMA whose prime focus is to increase the level of assistance being lent to Caribbean nations. For example, the CDEMA exercised great efficiency in responding to the 2004 disasters of Grenada and Jamaica after the much pronounced visit of Hurricane Ivan.
In light of such implementations orchestrated by the CARICOM, it is clear that the life and safety of the Caribbean people are of grave importance to that bold goal of creating a Caribbean identity. Another accomplishment of the CARICOM was the introduction of an ‘assumed’ standardized justice agency. This was the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), established in 2001. Whilst it followed the format of a First World nation ( European Court of Justice) it sparked major controversies as it was offset by the decision of the then Privy Council to bar capital punishment which was practiced by the supreme European nations on persons convicted of murder. This was obviously ruled out by the Privy Council . The other issue might resonate with modern times ( the storm of globalization).
This issue lied within the government of Antigua and Barbuda where, again, the Privy Council gave a radio license, ironically, to a company without the consent of the government of Antigua and Barbuda. Any vacuity of the mind should be fed as it was clear that the CARICOM wanted to reduce the influence of the European powers. However, in the act of doing this, they only managed to establish an institution in the Caribbean rather than a Caribbean institution. Not straying from the intent of this essay, the Caribbean now has in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean Court of Justice. The CARICOM fails to stop there as the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) was implemented in 1972.
This council seeks to provide nationals with opportunities and qualifications to further their primary education by way of Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) , along with the advantage of obtaining qualifications or even scholarships to universities through the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). The University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana are direct providers for the council. It is quite notable of the CARICOM to have provided its people with the equal opportunities of any given advanced region internationally; an important one being, securing and providing sound education of its members. Through the educational system we have many aspiring career persons.
Their career may require them to move to another state or the successes of their business may allow them the opportunity to expand their business to other nations. Delighted to state, they can do so. However this is only in effect due to the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy which will be further discussed in the following paragraph. The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was put into order on the first of January 2006. The aim of this institution was to increase integration among member states. They did this by removing tariffs and restrictions so that both economic and human resources could be shared to promote sustainable development. The Caribbean peoples benefitted as there was free movement of goods and services, skilled persons and capital. Now nationals have the right to work in any of the member states.
Nurses, media workers, musicians, sportsmen and women, university graduates and artistes benefit from this (CSME) as there are a greater availability of opportunities for job creation. Goods and services could now be provided across the single market where the owners would also have access to land and property under rights of establishment. This created a greater framework for competitiveness and a variation of choice for consumers. Equality to buy stocks and shares and being a part of the regional stock exchange is now possible for better investment opportunities. The CSME was, out of many, the most important achievement of the CARICOM.
This gave way to consolidating the goal of self-reliance within the Caribbean region. No longer do nationals have to travel internationally to obtain jobs. They can stay within the region and do so gainfully. However it is optional. Business persons in the interest of creating enterprises and being investors now have the opportunity to do so as the market has widened to becoming intra-regional. From this increase in production, there are better quality goods on the market, and an increase in employment opportunities which may improve the standard of living. The CARICOM has created the Caribbean into a mecca. The Caribbean people now possess some sense of identity. However some adjustments can and should be made to improve the cooperation of the people who are indeed the prime target for such developmental changes.
I propose that the Caribbean Examination Council promote raw data of history from an earlier stage to arouse the curiosity of nationals. This will, hopefully create the desire within them to want to know from where they have come with relation to where they are going. A sense of self-respect and responsibility to self will be awarded by those who willingly and factually grasp the understanding from such historical awakenings. Like the process of any natural cycle, with an attachment to a particular identity, preferably and hopefully the West Indian identity, more allegiance will be paid to the country of their nativity.
Participating and contributing to the economic and social development of the nation will simply be a part of the person’s natural regime ; rather than becoming mentally enslaved by foreign music and their inapplicable doctrines to Caribbean life; physically enslaved by clothing that speaks little about our native heritage and spiritually detached from the land of conception. Also the CARICOM should consider the implementation of compulsory arts in the curriculum where the art forms will be based on that particular culture. Music, dance, theatre, jewelry making, painting and photography are popular art forms used by youth today. It will assist greatly in the learning process. Furthermore, the students who perform the best will have the opportunity to be a part of an exchange program where they can go to other member states and learn about the culture of that nation.
From this, we have the promotion of equality amongst nations of CARICOM in shared cultural diversity. With such activities the Caribbean culture can perforate the globe much like the Europeans and Americans. Many things have been done to create a distinction between the then society of colonialism and the modern society today and many more things can still be done. The Caribbean is of the most diverse regions in the world, attracting much attention, however the internal affairs must be efficient to maintain positive attention. To do this, a mode by which strong bonds can be developed has been created through the use of the Caribbean Community. In all our endeavors, I wish the CARICOM many more successful years with a plethora of developmental introductions!
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