Two events occurred in the news this week which confirmed to BU that Caricom is in a coma. A mini-Caricom summit held in Guyana saw four heads absent, Prime Minister of Trinidad among them. In the obligatory end of summit communiqué which nobody reads except Rickey Singh, the heads advised the world implementation of a common currency would be further delayed until a review of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat. Have to admit the decision was a surprise, in fact the Caribbean is still in shock!
The other happening was REDjet’s decision to cancel plans to fly the Trinidad and Jamaica air routes. It is no secret both Jamaica and Trinidad have frustrated REDjet’s application to operate its low-cost airline between Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica. Barbados and Guyana gave the all clear to REDjet about a month ago.
One of the hindrances to movement of people in the region, whether for leisure or business, is the prohibitive cost of air travel. One would have thought our leaders in Caricom would have welcomed the opportunity to clear the hurdles for REDjet and others whose objective is to provide an affordable transportation service. Instead we have the ridiculous situation of the Trinidad and Jamaica governments tag teaming REDjet and as they say the rest is history. Coincidentally the merger agreement between Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines after considerable delay was inked yesterday (26 May 2011).
It was not too long ago UWI lecturers Tennyson Joseph and Norman Girvan blamed the late Prime Minister David Thompson for the lack of progress in Caricom. Who are they blaming now? Why is regionalist Peter Wickham silent on this matter? They are all pushing regional integration but we have the leaders from the Big Two in Caricom constructively blocking competition which has the effect of making it expensive for people to move around the region. The hypocrisy has ben truly exposed.