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Reflections on Caribbean Integration After Michael Manley by Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony

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Has the Moment Passed?

Reflections on Caribbean Integration After Michael Manley

Inaugural Michael Manley Memorial Lecture Delivered By:

Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony Prime Minister of Saint Lucia

Organized by The Michael Manley Foundation

Life Of Jamaica Auditorium Kingston Monday 27th January 2003


Thank you Drummond for your kind words of introduction. You know, in preparing for this talk, I was struck by the sense of historical continuity interpolating generations of Manleys, all tied in with the political fate of Jamaica and the wider region. That sense of continuity virtually constitutes a shining thread in the historical legacy of the finest tradition of anti-colonial, nationalist and progressive thought in Our Caribbean. It is a sense of continuity that has been eloquently captured by Rachel Manley - Drummond’s mother - in her family memoirs. I sincerely believe that her books – so well written, entertaining and so historically important – have blazed a new path for political biography in our region and are worthy of independent study in their own right. If history is the art of memory, then Rachel – in transcribing these moments – has achieved that transformation for succeeding generations [R. Manley 2000].

This historical continuity is also reflected in the passing of the PNP torch from Norman Manley to Michael Manley, with a dignity and political detachment never since witnessed in Caribbean politics.

This sense of political continuity assumed a dimension of divinely ordained political destiny as Norman Manley transpired this Earth on the very day that the bye-election to choose his replacement was being held. In the context of Caribbean spirituality and cultural mores, the symbolism of this transition is not insignificant. The Elder Manley’s work, it can be said, was well and truly accomplished and the torch of struggle and the breath of aspiration passed to the younger Manley. A new generation assumed with the vitality of youth, the expired mantle of the Elder and the unpredictable challenges of a different era.

Tonight, I am happy to share in this sense of continuity and in the celebration of this legacy by being introduced by a grandson of Michael Manley, whom I had the pleasure of teaching at the Law Faculty at the Cave Hill Campus. I was also told, in preparing for this talk, that the date when the Saint Lucia Labour Party was elected to office, and when I effectively assumed the Prime Ministership of Saint Lucia, May 23rd, is also the date that Michael Manley, “put work in labour day”, that is a day when the middle classes of Jamaica engaged in community projects to help uplift the lot of the poor. Manley’s effort to “put work in labour day” is itself symbolic of the orientation of his politics – a nationalist project of inclusion, of extending compassion and building bridges across the divide of circumstance and class that separate people to the epiphany of the common humanity that unites us and the international forces that suppress us. So in my own way, and I am honored to be here to share in this moment.

However, I must also confess my enormous excitement on receiving your invitation to deliver the inaugural Michael Manley Lecture. In addition to the immaculate beauty of the land and the warmth of its people, which always pulls me back to Jamaica, I was attracted by the generosity of the Michael Manley Foundation in allowing me the freedom to determine the subject of my talk. As someone who has attempted to develop and pursue a political style based on consultation and democracy, such rare opportunities for unilateral decision making, are quite frankly, refreshing and are always welcome.

So I want to take this opportunity to thank the Michael Manley Foundation, not only for its generosity, but also for conferring upon me this signal honor of delivering the inaugural Michael Manley Memorial Lecture.

But my eagerness in accepting this invitation to speak was not simply borne out of the need to acquiesce to latent autocratic impulses. No country in the Caribbean has shaped and influenced “modern political thought” in the region as much as Jamaica. It was also conditioned by my anxieties about the current state of Caribbean Integration and of the need to share my thoughts with you on the way forward beyond the perplexities of the current crossroad at which we now stand.

We should all now be concerned that our integration movement has reached an impasse. What was once seen as an imperative borne out of the need to widen and deepen the basis of West Indian sovereignty now reflects itself in a series of reactionary or reactive responses to external stimuli.

Nowhere has this subservience to the external been seen more clearly than in the vagaries of the regional integration project among the countries of the OECS. Indeed, the experience of the OECS countries can be seen as a microcosm of the wider Caribbean experience.

In the period immediately following the independence of the OECS in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States was formally established as a basis for deepening the sovereignty of a group of small islands, acutely aware of their limitations, anxious, insecure, nervous, and even embarrassed about their future prospects, but eager to give meaning to the miniaturized sovereignty which they had recently attained. The motivation then, though cognizant of the outside world, was largely internal and was predicated upon creating a more fundamental basis of sovereign expression for these territories.

What I find compelling is that the justification for integration was internally driven. The highest point of OECS unification occurred in the period 1987-1989 with the establishment of the Regional Constituent Assemblies formed with a mandate to engage public dialogue in preparation for full political unification of the four Windward Islands.

This new thrust emerged at a time of perceived ideological consensus among the existing crop of Eastern Caribbean leaders. Bearing in mind Hegel’s dictum that the highest point of any entity is the point at which it begins to decline, I feel compelled to point out that the OECS leadership, despite their colossal strides were beginning to view the external world with a degree of trepidation. These leaders were concerned with the question of marginalization arising out of the economic crises of the 1980s, the emergence of “glasnost” with its implications for the termination of the Cold War, and the threats to the regional economy, particularly its primary agriculture – its sugar and bananas – due to the process of trade liberalization spearheaded by the GATT and the eventual formation of the Single European Market in 1990.

In this early period of the OECS, the first shoots of Caribbean unification motivated by external impulses became evident. Whilst this may not necessarily have been an indication of a failure in itself, it has raised the critical issue of the weaknesses of an integration movement in which the drive for integration has moved from the inner and deeper motive of strengthening sovereignty to the externally motivated and primal impulse of survival. Indeed, today, at the wider CARICOM level, the cry for unification makes absolutely no pretence to having any connection to notions of a more secure freedom or the elevated impulse to a deeper meaning of sovereignty. On the contrary, it is now unashamedly paraded as a response to globalization in which we have no choice but to make the necessary adjustments. We have, I am afraid, succumbed to the logic that globalization is inexorable and immutable.

It is the now total subservience to external stimuli, the retreat of the internal-domestic sovereignty impulse, the new dominance of the marketplace in the integration imperative and the relocation of the ordinary Caribbean citizen from the center to the periphery of the integration vortex, which my subject, “Has the Moment Passed?”, begs to clarify.

And it is, I am obligated to point out, an ahistorical retreat from the great legacy of resistance, and resilience bequeathed to us by our ancestors. The Caribbean has always been at the transect of empire and has been center stage from the emergence of the phenomenon of globalization which did not begin in this century but from the so-called opening of the New World. Since when then, has our capacity for regeneration been reduced to such anemic proportions that we can no longer remember the fire that sustained us or the will that defined us?

APPROACH TO THE SUBJECT For the purpose of this talk, I will first present a restatement of Michael Manley’s vision for Caribbean integration. In doing so, I will also highlight critical features of the political context in which this vision was fashioned. I will argue that the interventions of Michael Manley were at consonance with a perspective in which issues such as the deepening and safeguarding of Caribbean sovereignty, the facilitation of the full development of the Caribbean person, and the pursuit of a development strategy free from external domination, were at the center of his vision. In other words, I will seek to demonstrate that Manley’s thinking on integration was consistent with Caribbean liberation and suzerainty, intimately linked to the development of a more equitable and just society, consistent with the struggle against foreign exploitation of Caribbean resources, and was commensurate with the pursuit of a “third worldist” and independent foreign policy, free from the dictates of hemispheric political, economic and ideological hegemony.

Following this, I will examine the main features of the process of Caribbean integration as it exists today, using the prism of Michael Manley’s vision, as a basis for a fuller understanding of the present.

We will conclude by examining the existing political realities both in their internal and external dimensions, and explore the factors impacting on the regional integration effort, and the response of CARICOM to these realities. That excursus will allow us to approach the question whether the moment has passed for the pursuit of a project of regional integration, commensurate with Michael’s vision. I regret that your “good manners” will force you to spend a long evening, all at my pleasure.

MICHAEL MANLEY’S VISION Manley’s vision for the Caribbean cannot be separated from the issues which he was pursuing within his own Jamaican conjuncture. Indeed, in his opening speech during the famous Chaguaramus Conference of 1972, Manley made it clear that his strategic exertions towards regional integration could not be divorced from the social democratic path along which he was seeking to steer his own country. Manley sounded a reminder to his fellow Caribbean leaders that their efforts at the regional level were inextricably intertwined with the development imperatives which they faced in their respective countries. Listen to the amplitude of Michael’s vision and the passion of his purpose,

“Every Government that is here is beset by problems of poverty and unemployment, and every Government that is here, I am sure, is devoted to the struggle to build a world of social justice. Every Government that is here, is, I am sure committed to all those actions which we can achieve together in that direction, but also Sir, what we have got always to remember not only are we beset by internal difficulties which have historical causes which we well understand, but also that we suffer from that problem of that limitation upon our freedom which has been dependent in economic terms on the metropolitan world. Therefore, as far as we are concerned those two things have got to be seen as part of the same process. We think that we must not only struggle…to build a world of social justice within our society but we also have to take those steps of self-reliance through our own efforts that begin to create the reality of freedom for our people by the reduction of our dependence on our economic relations on the metropolitan world. Therefore…we are for regional economic strength because we believe that it is in the pursuit of that we would best be able to accomplish both the purpose of freedom and the purpose of social justice for our own people” [in Hall ed.2000, 480-81].

When I reflect on Manley’s role in that meeting which gave birth to CARICOM, I am often struck by his conviction, and more so, by his political integrity and honesty. This was a period which called for much political courage and conviction from the then existing crop of Caribbean leadership, particularly given the bitterness, pain, suspicion and political fatigue which had emerged out of the aborted federal initiative. The leadership of Michael Manley, Errol Barrow, Eric Williams and Forbes Burnham must be applauded and recognized by all succeeding generations of Caribbean people for the tremendous political foresight which they showed in signing the CARICOM treaty and for resuscitating the cause of regional integration. They repudiated mistrust, exorcised the ghosts of their history and embraced our collective potential with hope and confidence.

As is typical of the humility which has become associated with the person of Michael Manley, he was generous to a fault, in placing the credit for the starting of CARICOM at the feet of Dr. Eric Williams, who was not only the host of the Conference, but who was described by Manley as having played a critical role in history, in establishment of the Caribbean Heads of Government Conference, and in the development of regional co-operation as a whole. True, Manley’s statements may have been induced by the “real politik” of the period.

However, the full extent of Manley’s humility, generosity and political integrity, is brought sharply into focus when it is remembered the tremendous political price that his father had paid because of his commitment to the regional integration effort. Following several years in opposition, it was therefore a product of much courage for the young Prime Minister of Jamaica to have resumed a process which had been the political denouement of his father, a process in which much suspicion and misinformation had been planted in the minds of the Jamaican electorate, and which had given rise to much “bad blood” both inside and outside Jamaica, and on all sides of the political spectrum. The entire Caribbean owes him a debt of gratitude for his role in giving birth to CARICOM, and restoring a prodigal Jamaica to the Caribbean family.

Manley however, was of the firm belief that the Caribbean could not exist in isolation. Whilst he was interested in pursuing with tremendous vigor the process of regional integration among the Anglophone Caribbean, he was at the same time aware that there were larger hemispheric and global forces which would impact on the processes occurring within CARICOM.

He therefore felt that many bridges had to be built, and as a consequence, he developed close political ties with the countries of Central and South America. Thus, during the period of his leadership, countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela were encouraged to develop close political ties with Jamaica and the Caribbean. This was aided by Manley’s own style in which the interplay between the personal, diplomatic and the political was interwoven into a seamless whole, in one colossal effort to construct political alliances to overcome smallness and to advance the cause of social and economic development. In this effort, not only did Manley focus on relations with states, but he also focused on deepening ties with political parties, opposition leaders and international elder statesmen, as well as international organizations. It is on this basis that his close association with leading world figures, the Socialist International, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of 77 in UNCTAD can be understood. Of course, Manley needed these alliances to sustain the PNP as it embarked on the treacherous path of economic and political reform.

MANLEY’S MODEL OF INTEGRATION Manley himself had formulated what he called his “theory of concentric circles” to give further clarity to the model of Caribbean integration which he had been seeking to advance. This theory of concentric circles entailed a process in which,

“Former colonial territories would seek closer co-operation with their immediate neighbours while simultaneously building platforms for common action through regional associations and active co-operation with international bodies like the Non Aligned Movement” [in Hall 2001, 139].

In Manley’s view,

“The CARIFTA Group would represent the tightest of our circles, the countries of the Caribbean Basin the next and wider area or circle, the Group of 77 in the UN the next; and finally the Non Aligned Movement as the all-embracing world alliance” [in Hall 2001, 139].

And so, according to Manley, it was on this basis that in the first few years of CARICOM that Jamaica

“Began to pioneer trading links and other forms of economic cooperation with non-CARICOM states of the Caribbean Basin… Bauxite trading with Venezuela and later the San Jose accords involving Venezuelan and Mexican oil sales were the forerunners of wider, planned Caribbean cooperation” [in Hall 2001, 140].

Finally, Manley argued that CARICOM was the necessary first step

“to give the first circle greater coherence. For CARICOM itself, the founders foresaw a clear political goal which was to assert our collective voice in a region in danger of sinking into neo-colonialism in the aftermath of the attainment of independence. Giving recognition to Cuba and China in defiance of the wishes of the USA was significant because it represented an early declaration of independence from the more overt pressures of US hegemony” [in Hall 2001, 139].

Manley’s vision of concentric integration eventually emerged as one of the recommendations of the West Indian Commission. That recommendation led to the creation and establishment of the Association of Caribbean States.

At a time when the more conservative corps of Caribbean leaders were pre-occupied with the issue of maintaining the hemispheric and historical ties inherited at independence, Manley understood very early in his political life that the future of Caribbean economic development would require a political and philosophical transcendence of the colonial and neo-colonial economic relations forged in the period of decolonisation.

It is to Manley’s fortune that he had two political incarnations the first between 1972 and 1980, when the vision was fully articulated and directly pursued, and the second between 1989 to the end of his life when the emerging political and economic realities served to validate much of his vision. [I must tell you, and I am speaking as a politician who has only a passing academic interest in these matters, that there are not many politicians in our region who are given a second bite at the cherry, or even allowed the opportunity to witness first hand the validation of their views. So Manley was fortunate in that regard].

There is perhaps no clearer validation of Manley’s vision than the complete and absolute failure of the economic model upon which most Caribbean governments had relied in the post independence period. Indeed, many of these governments, lulled into a false sense of security by the existence of artificially protected markets for their primary products, were among the most hostile critics of Manley’s “third worldist” foreign policy.

Prominent among these critics was a quickly fossilizing John Compton, who expressed a vision for independent Saint Lucia, which was diametrically opposed to that which was being pursued by Manley for Jamaica. In Compton’s view, what was required for Saint Lucia was a “limited foreign policy”. In a direct rebuttal to Manley, Compton warned Caribbean leaders against “posturing on the world stage and dabbling in Third World Politics while neglecting pressing domestic issues facing the region”. In contrast, to Manley, Compton argued that his foreign policy would be guided by the fact that “our total history has been bound up with the West” and by “what could provide the island with the best thrust for its economic advancement” [see Voice of Saint Lucia, Independence Supplement, 19th February 1979, 21]. Saint Lucia, Compton declared, would,

“So conduct [its] affairs as not to introduce into this region of peace and tranquility the conflicts of the “Cold War” ideology with all its grievous consequences. While recognizing that we are part of the developing world whose problems may be similar to our own, and whose experiences can assist us in providing appropriate solutions, our human resources are too slender and our material needs too great to permit us to expend these in the barren wasteland of posturing and polemics” [ibid].

Such are the pitfalls of a Caribbean political leadership dependent on preferential treatment and tied to concessional aid, and unwilling and unable to entertain the thought of an economic and political alternative.

Compton was obviously misguided. His was a truncated view, pragmatic but ahistorical, motivated by the notion that protected markets would have remained a permanent feature of the post-war world order, and that Caribbean states would continue to attract a level of support and protection arising out of European historical guilt.

In recent times, I believe that Manley’s insistence on the need for self-reliance has been fully vindicated. We have only to listen to Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados to understand the full extent to which the post-war economic model pursued by most Caribbean leaders had retarded the emergence of a Caribbean economy capable of surviving and prospering in the brave new world of globalisation which is now upon us. It is important to contextualize his remarks by noting that not only is Owen an astute and insightful student of International Trade who was speaking in the early 1990s, but he was also a protagonist in the Planning Institute of Jamaica – the virtual think-tank of Manley’s administration in the 1970s.

According to Arthur, much of the current crisis of the Caribbean has emerged from the fact that the region,

“Has faithfully internalized the economic and financial effects of [the] old economic, and political order. As such, many traditional industries have been created whose entire survival has been predicated on the existence of high and preferential tariff barriers… [O]ld and long-standing forms of economic activity have been perpetuated on the presumption that a system of international trade preferences will continue to underwrite their survival and their viability. The long run has arrived for the Caribbean because the economic policies and postures, deriving from our passive incorporation into the international economy as the recipients of preferences and concessional financial flows, have now been overtaken by powerful and irreversible international developments, and it would be fatal for the region not to take cognisance and to accommodate the new realities in its contemporary international relations.”

Arthur continued, “The long run has arrived because it would be fatal for us to recoil from making the economic adjustment nationally and regionally which can no longer be postponed if the region is to respond appropriately to irreversible and fundamental changes at the core of the international economy. The new global economic order will make nonsense of the system of preferences on which the Caribbean region has hitherto depended. It will render obsolete the instruments of the Caribbean economic integration movement and challenge us to revisit the concept and practice of integration in the Caribbean” [Arthur in Hall 2001, 383-84].

In addition, Arthur observed, and quite rightfully so, that the system of preferential access to protected markets can be considered a failed development model, largely because it was the states which were offered little protection from the international economy, such as those of the Far East, which have fared far better in the current era of globalisation.

We can juxtapose the two diametrically opposed voices of Caribbean international economic relations - the voice of Manley and the voice of Compton – against this very accurate and succinct description of our present condition offered by Owen Arthur, and we can judge for ourselves which of these voices holds greater relevance for the Caribbean today.

I must say that Manley himself had no doubt about the correctness of his vision. When asked by his daughter Rachel, whilst on his deathbed, whether he felt any bitterness about the 1970s, he offered an analysis of the role of the PNP in Jamaican and Caribbean political life which is instructive of Manley’s own sense of history and political continuity of which I alluded to earlier:

“It’s strange really, both PNP governments were premature, each in its own way. But maybe some periods in history are there to show you what could happen. Like Pardi’s Federation, a dream deferred. We’ll yet revisit the Seventies… Mark my words” [in R. Manley 2000].

We have arrived at that juncture. On that note of prophecy, we can explore the existing state of the Caribbean integration movement.

THE PRESENT REALITY OF CARIBBEAN INTEGRATION In examining the current state of the Caribbean integration movement, it would be fair to say that Michael Manley’s worst fears have come to pass. The Caribbean is now more isolated than ever before. Close political ties with the wider Caribbean which had been forged in the 1970s, have been allowed to evaporate. Our relationship with Mexico is virtually non-existent. This is a reflection not only of the failure of our diplomacy but the emergence of new leadership in Mexico. The relationship with Venezuela is more personal than institutional. Whilst Cuba continues to be a source of hope and pride, CARICOM’s relationship with Cuba has not been consistently pursued, but rather has been allowed to wax and wane largely in response to external political and economic pressures.

What is more, our failure to build bridges with the wider Caribbean, and our failure to deepen the relationship within our own ring of the concentric geo-political circle, has meant that the Caribbean has been overtaken by the process of economic and political globalisation and regionalism outside of its sphere of control.

Writing in 1995, Manley had warned that the world was not standing still, waiting for CARICOM to pursue a model of deeper regionalism. Indeed, Manley was concerned at the time, that just as the Association of Caribbean States was being articulated, the North America Free Trade Area (NAFTA) was emerging to usurp an infant ACS [in Hall 2001].

In the present environment, Manley’s advice on the need to deepen relations within ones’ immediate circle before exploring relations with those states on the outer ring of the concentric circle is now being threatened by an erratic and often unilateral scramble to meet the requirements of incorporation into the emerging global and hemispheric economy.

Owen Arthur has provided an account of the urgency with which extra regional economic formations are impacting upon and subsuming the regional integration process, which I believe, gives credence to Manley’s concerns. According to Arthur,

“The Caribbean has to negotiate a new relationship with Europe to come into effect in 2008. It has at the same time to secure its place in the Free Trade Area of the Americas to come into being in 2005. At the same time, and despite the debacle at Seattle, it has to participate in multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the WTO in which there is a built-in agenda for agriculture and services that simply cannot be ignored by Caribbean states.

The Caribbean Community therefore has to undertake a process of harmonized liberalization which is greater and more all encompassing than that undertaken by any subset of states in the entire history of mankind. In a word, that is the challenge facing the states of the Caribbean community, singly and in combination” [in Hall 2001, 626].

IMPACT ON CARICOM This submergence of CARICOM within the wider vortex of globalisation and liberalization has had a profound impact on the nature of Caribbean integration and of the work of the CARICOM Secretariat itself.

CARICOM now finds itself overwhelmed by external responsibilities. Its work now reflects a new emphasis on legal agreements and arcane instruments in which the role and place of the citizen, on whose behalf CARICOM ostensibly exists, is now forgotten. In other words, the ordinary CARICOM citizen, the most advanced force in the movement towards integration, is removed as an actor on the regional stage. CARICOM is now subsumed by wider imperial formations and ambitions which bring into question its very raison d’etre.

As if to attempt to maintain relevance, CARICOM now finds itself adjusting to external market forces and realities, with many of its programs reflecting this new direction.

As part of that paradigm, the language and discourse of CARICOM has shifted from the Caribbean person as “citizen” to the Caribbean person as “worker”. Only recently, my Permanent Secretary in Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Education, who is here with me, was invited to participate in a symposium in Jamaica on the role of the CARICOM “citizen-worker” in regional socio-economic development and economic competitiveness. In offering his comments, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that he found the notion of the “citizen-worker” to be indigestible, because it brought to mind,

“The awareness that too often… our actions and definitions are predicated on imperatives external to our selves and to prescriptions not of our own making. For fifty years or more, we have spoken of the necessity for Caribbean unity. For more than fifty years there has been the recognition that regional unity is simply not an economic thing, it is also a social imperative, it is a cultural dynamic, it is a political aspiration, it is a spiritual ambition and it is a psychological urge [Jules 2002].

What is repugnant in the notion of a “citizen-worker” is the extent to which it reflects a pandering to external market considerations whilst downplaying the internal psychic dimensions of integration.

The Permanent Secretary argued that,

“The notion of “citizen-worker” appears to be the result of an attempt to bring together the social identity of the citizen and the economic responsibility of the worker within the enlarged sphere of a regional single economic space. To be fair the focus could have been on the worker only as a central actor in the drama of the marketplace or it could have been on the citizen only as the sovereign determinant of our future possibility. The notion therefore clearly seeks to add multi-dimensionality to individually flat conceptions perhaps in an effort to enrich itself [Jules 2002].

CARICOM therefore now finds itself caught between the need to give effect to the original “élan vital” of its formation – that is to create a more fundamental basis for the sovereignty of the Caribbean citizen – and yet at the same time, it is almost ashamedly conceding that the efforts at deepening Caribbean sovereignty are now mediated by market considerations. Thus, the Caribbean person is now valued more as worker, than as citizen. Of this my friend, Ralph Gonsalves Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines would, in his persistent defence of the notion of a Caribbean civilization, remind us that the endurance of nations is predicated more on the democratic autonomy of the citizen than the economic surbordination of the worker.

MARCH TO NAFTA AND FTAA But there is perhaps no clearer instance of the thrust of the forces which are resulting in the negation of the CARICOM integration ethic, than what is taking place with the FTAA, previously outlined in the philosophical assumptions of NAFTA.

It should be clear, that if not handled properly, our involvement in the establishment of the FTAA will compromise our current efforts at pursuing a single market and economy. It is instructive that CARICOM officials now admit that the date of the coming into being of the CSME is set on the FTAA agenda. Once the FTAA is in place, will the CSME be relegated to structural irrelevance?

In addition, there is much evidence of imperialist intent within the FTAA, which should give us cause to worry. Owen Arthur, speaking to a UWI audience, during the early period of negotiation over NAFTA, observed quite candidly that NAFTA,

“Presents the Caribbean at the most superficial level with the enigmatic challenge if you do, you are damned, or if you don’t you are even more damned. This enigma arises from the fact that in keeping with the prevailing GATT-related trade provisions, access to NAFTA will require Caribbean societies to confer on other NAFTA countries, reciprocal duty relief in circumstances where the existing trade relationships between the Caribbean and the USA and Canada are on the basis of one way duty free arrangements in favour of the Caribbean region. This raises many delicate and complex problems as regards the nature that such reciprocity should assume and the way it should be negotiated. It raises equally complex issues regarding the application of reciprocity, as a governing principle, in the trading relationship between unequal trading partners….[Another] issue is the fact that the subscription to all NAFTA entails involving not only a reciprocal duty free trade arrangement, but acquiescing in its provisions regarding the relaxation of controls on the free movement of services and capital. This will involve the Caribbean region in a relationship with extra-regional countries that is more liberal than that which it has yet managed to effect among its own, and create pressures for changes to our new integration processes [in Hall 2001, 394-395]..

The sad fact of NAFTA and the FTAA is that it has led to a mad scramble of Caribbean countries eager to attain so-called NAFTA-parity, but unsure of the direct benefits which will accrue to their societies. In addition, the current efforts of the US to engage in negotiations over NAFTA with the countries of Central America, separate from the CARICOM region has struck a serious blow to any role which the ACS might have had in the negotiation over the FTAA.

MANLEY ON NAFTA It was clear that in the twilight of his political career that Michael Manley was concerned about the impact of NAFTA on Caribbean societies. In particular, he was aware that it posed a direct challenge to his theory of “concentric circles” and that it threatened to jettison any coherent ACS or even CARICOM response to the Hemispheric Free Trade Area spearheaded by Washington.

In Manley’s view, the reality of NAFTA had split the region into two broad camps. On one hand there were those pursuing the “unilateralist illusion” who believed that individual Caribbean territories should get into NAFTA on their own, as quickly as possible, with the best terms that they could secure for themselves. At the other extreme were those who adhered to the “nostalgic illusion” who saw NAFTA as “a gobbling monster to be avoided at all costs”. Central to the nostalgic illusion was the belief that we could see a return to the “good old days” when we could negotiate for special arrangements for our goods and services.

To these two extremes, Manley posited a third path, which, in his characteristic eloquence, he described as the “better hope for the most developed Caribbean territories, the best hope for those in an intermediate stage, and the only hope for the most vulnerable”. Manley’s response was to call for the acceleration and deepening of the integration process within CARICOM, and the broadening of that process to include all the countries of the Caribbean Basin under the Association of Caribbean States. Manley argued that whilst there were members of CARICOM who could contemplate successful entry into NAFTA it would be an error to abandon the Caribbean integration process “either because an application to join NAFTA succeeded or because it was believed that a particular economy is ready for membership. It is the belief… that there is no place for the integration process because NAFTA represents a new reality” which was to Manley, the essence of the “unilateralist illusion” [in Hall 2001, 142-143].

SAINT LUCIA AND NAFTA The stance of the Government of Saint Lucia, and that I think of the other OECS countries as well, conforms to the third approach prescribed by Michael Manley. We have said that Saint Lucia will be neither cajoled or bullied into joining the FTAA, since we are yet to have evidence that it is of any direct benefit to us. In addition, Saint Lucia has insisted on deepening and strengthening its relations with the OECS and CARICOM, as a basis for pursuing its involvement in the FTAA. It is a practical impossibility for Saint Lucia, on its own, to effectively engage in the myriad meetings, negotiations and legal and diplomatic efforts involved in making the FTAA a reality.

Manley himself, upon returning to Government in 1989, was quite emphatic in his praise and support for the efforts at functional co-operation which were being undertaken among the states of the OECS. Indeed, the very existence of the OECS, which came to life and prominence in the period when Manley was relegated to the Opposition benches, served to validate his insistence on the need to deepen relations first with the countries within ones’ immediate geo-political and historico-economic circle, as a basis for expanding outwards to other countries within the hemisphere. The OECS territories have, in that sense, remained true to Manley’s mission, and he was full of praise for these territories during the 10th meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government, held in Grenada in July 1989 [see Hall 2000, 247].

In addition, in my own work at the CARICOM level, I have sought at all times to ensure that the issue of Caribbean sovereignty is at the forefront of my efforts, despite the reality of other concerns which may exist constantly as sub-motives and additional impulses in favour of integration. In my capacity as Caribbean Spokesperson on Justice and Governance issues, I have been offered the opportunity to play an important role in the work leading up to the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Justice. Whilst there are several overriding compulsions for the setting up of the CCJ, including the importance of its role in advancing the work of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, I have always seen the establishment of the Court as a conclusive act of constitutional repatriation. The importance of the court in strengthening access to justice for the ordinary Caribbean man and woman, which is denied in the remote and generally unaffordable Privy Council in England, is also a major preoccupation.

Whilst market considerations are always there impacting on all we do, we must never forget that much of what is today the modern Caribbean, has emerged in the struggle against external economic domination which often denied our humanity and suffocated our true development. Manley had fully understood that many of these struggles which have helped to shape and define who we are today, had taken place with the full support, participation, leadership and consent of the working people of this region. This historical experience holds important lessons for us today as we seek to advance the cause of regional integration, and should help us to understand Michael Manley a little better.

As we survey the historical landscape, we can identify two significant political and democratic successes of the mobilized working people of the Caribbean. The first was the process of democratization which occurred between the 1930s and the 1940s, and the second was the attainment of formal independence which occurred between the 1960s and the 1970s. Both these political revolutions were spearheaded by the working peoples of this region. I agree with those who claim that the next great mobilisation of the working people of the Caribbean must be towards the economic and political unification of this region. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we understand why CARICOM must adjust its approach and place the working people at the center of the integration project.

WHTHER CARICOM? This leaves us to ponder the question which Manley himself would have asked: Where do we go from here? How do we rescue CARICOM from the fate which the modern political economy has decided for it, or is it too late? Has the moment really passed?

In answering this question, we must accept the fact that the world which had sustained Manley’s theory and approach of “concentric circles”, no longer exists in its pure form. The New International Economic Order and the work of UNCTAD, have been superseded by a United Nations pre-occupied with resolving US-led security issues. The Security Council has replaced the Council on Trade and the Development as the most important branch of the UN. The democratic institutions of the UN are being systematically destroyed, and are now being replaced by organs of super-power dominance.

Outside the UN, the end of the Cold War has brought about an acute identity crisis for the Non-Aligned Movement. Similarly, the notion of South-South co-operation now sounds like a quaint fossil, an artefact of a once-progressive and humanistic global political order. The institutional pillars of the outer ring of Manley’s concentric circle now stand like rusting monuments which offer little solace to small Third World states, seeking to survive within the harsh environment of the current historical hinterland.

However, it is also true that the institutional framework within which Michael Manley worked still remains largely intact, though there is much need to redefine these institutions to suit the times.

The overriding lesson of Michael Manley’s vision should give us cause for solace. The lesson is this:

We always have the power to influence our immediate environment, despite the overwhelming forces which may be operating in the outer reaches of the global environment. In this regard, we must abandon our tendency to rely on an “outside in” approach to integration, and begin to rebuild the basis for an “inside out” approach. Fundamental to the “inside out” approach is the ordinary Caribbean person and the fulfillment of his needs and aspirations. In the furtherance of this objective, we must seek at all times to deepen and strengthen the ties with the states with which we share a common historical purpose, whilst we build bridges and alliances at the international level which allow us to mediate and transform the pernicious elements of the global economic order to our advantage.

In all this, the aspirations of the ordinary working Caribbean person should be supreme since s/he has never failed to respond to historical necessity and to triumph over imperial adversity. I can only end by letting the voice of Michael Manley himself, speak on the role of the ordinary Caribbean in the furthering the historical project of Caribbean unification and Caribbean liberation:

“The new problems, which we face if the integration process is to be effectively pursued, are commonly seen in one light: as “difficulties” to be overcome. Certainly, in the context of the present political assumptions and patterns of behaviour the difficulties are very real. At the same time all over the Caribbean there is a growing public unease surrounding political activity and it has nothing to do with the integration process. As unease slides into disenchantment, the level of public involvement in political activity is sinking steadily. It may well be that the pursuit of the integration process in the vertical and horizontal senses could be one of the causes that re-ignite political interest. The majority of people feel instinctively that the “old ways” in politics are no longer equal to the “new needs”. They may not be able to spell out these needs precisely but they know the world is changing radically and they are uncertain of the extent to which traditional political responses can secure their interests in a changing situation. Integration seen as a challenging opportunity instead of a series of difficulties to be reluctantly overcome may strike chords now missing in the political environment. This is so because integration is a major part of any answer to today’s reality. No marriage between political mission and popular interests has ever failed if the synergy is understood and explained [in Hall 2001, 144-45].

In closing therefore, I urge that we bring the Caribbean person back to the center of the integration effort, and to liberate the regenerative capacity of Caribbean people in the third political mobilisation whose time has come. This imperative we can delay no longer before the moment is permanently missed.

In this enterprise I say to the Jamaican people: it is time to exorcise from your political psyche the ghosts of the Federation. There can be no Caribbean integration – limited or otherwise - without Jamaica.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your extraordinary patience and indulgence.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Arthur, O. [2000] 2001. “The Future of the Caribbean Community and the Common Market” in Hall Ed. 2001, 622-630

Arthur, O. [1996] 2001. “The new realities of Caribbean International Economic Relations”, in Hall Ed. 2001, 382-398.

Hall, K.O. Ed. 2000. Integrate Or Perish: Perspectives of Leaders of the Integration Movement 1963-1999, Georgetown: UWI/CARICOM

Hall, K.O. 2001. The Caribbean Community: Beyond Survival, Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers

Joseph, T.S.D. 2000. “Decolonisation in the Era of Globalisation: The Independence Experience of Saint Lucia”, University of Cambridge: Unpublished PhD Dissertation. University of Cambridge

Jules, D. Nov. 4th 2002. Unpublished Statement to the Heart Trust Symposium “CARICOM Citizen Worker: Pivotal to Regional Socio-Economic Development and Economic Competitiveness”.

Levi, D. 1989. Michael Manley: The Making of a Leader. Kingston: Heinemann Publishers.

West Indian Commission. 1992. Time for Action: Report of the West Indian Commission. Kingston: The Press (UWI).

Mitchell, J.F. 1989. Caribbean Crusade. Vermont: Concepts Publishing.

The Voice of St. Lucia. Independence Supplement. February 1979.


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