Our Readers' Opinions
March 7, 2014

The old ways are holding us back

Given the formidable economic challenges facing Caribbean countries today, it ought to be clear to all that in order to survive, much more progress, there needs to be a radical departure from the politics and economic policies that we have been slavishly following thus far.{{more}}

Unfortunately, much of the political and economic leadership in the region is so deeply wedded to the old ways and approaches that it is virtually trapped in the past. There is a mortal fear of stepping out from the shadow of the West and pursuing economic, trading and political links of our own, particularly with countries not approved by the dominant political and economic influences in our lives.

It has taken a renowned western economist Dr Fred Bergsten, Director Emeritus of the Washington-based Peterson Institute, one of the world’s leading think-tanks in the area of international economics, to try to arouse the political and economic elite in the region. Invited to address the first-ever Caribbean Economic Forum, Dr Bergsten urged the region’s leaders to be innovative in trade and economic relations. He said, in part:

“…the Caribbean must release its grip on the traditional trading partners such as the United States and Europe and look towards new partnerships and linkages with the world’s emerging markets – Latin America, Brazil and more so, East Asia and China.

“The truth is that neither (the countries of) North America nor Western Europe are the new dynamic leaders of the world economy….”

Why is that message taking so long to sink into our heads? Why can the USA, France and Britain be chasing after Chinese tourists, but for us tourism is still North America and Western Europe?

Are we taking too long to observe the SIGN OF THE TIMES?