The geopolitical climate of the world in the 21st century is influenced by the concentration of international influence into a few imperial networks. This in turn leads to global establishments such as the United Nations serving the interest of these superpowers at the expense of all other nations. The product of which is a transnational dictatorship shrouded as international law, suited for a more civilized political mind. This paramount concentration of power however, has both the disadvantage of exploiting the subordinate countries and the advantage of forcing those subordinate countries to unite against a common enemy.
As a region, the Caribbean has neither international influence nor the ability to safeguard itself from international duress. In fact the Caribbean is the genesis for European global conquest and exploitation and thus has a long history of exploitation, slavery and abuse of power as an outcome. In order for the politically divided Caribbean region to develop itself, they have to realize that each country of the region have a common goal and a common history that shaped that goal. The outcome of such realization should inevitably be unity beyond political, social and economic borders.
The first attempt at creating a unified government for the region was the short lived West Indian Federation (1958-62). This Federal type government was somewhat ideal but diplomacy, the challenging geography of the region and other factors forced its premature collapse in four years. However the need for a united government over all Caribbean states has failed to diminish but has significantly grown due to the tense geopolitical nature of the 21st century.
The treaty of Chaguaramas has served the people of this region for almost 43 years and has achieved many great things to unite the region under a common cause. However, its limitation of not being a constitution of statehood has driven it to become obsolete in serving the 21st century demands of the people of the people of the region. If this region is to survive by escaping debt servitude and dependence on imports then its regional needs must be better met by whatever instrument of mutual cooperation whether treaty, pact or constitution etc. The Caribbean region on a whole possesses certain basic needs which MUST be met in order for it to be considered that the people of this region is being given adequate governance and protection.
The Caribbean has five (5) basic needs which may be more conveniently satisfied by creating a Caribbean nation. These needs are as follows:
The Caribbean as a region is located at a militarily inconvenient location with potential frontlines located in three directions, north, south and west. In order for this region to assure its people of military protection from threats such as terrorism, international warfare and border disputes, the Caribbean as a region must develop an adequately functioning military with jurisdiction beyond all national borders in the region. The military capacity of the Caribbean should never be underestimated for it was in this region that the greatest military accomplishment in history took place when our Haitian brothers and sisters conquered the British, the French and the Americans in battle, a fact in history that is rarely reflected on.
With the historic lesson of colonialism and slavery fresh on the minds of the people of the region, the need for advanced military protection is only a fair request to protect the livelihood, culture, sovereignty and the descendants of the people of the Caribbean. Other factors such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War assault on nations like Cuba, Grenada and Jamaica and the hostile occupations of Haiti and Panama only goes to show the historic need for a united military presence to protect the livelihood of the citizens of the region. With the rise of ISIS and other radical terrorist organizations, “global police” nations like the United States should not be alarmed by, but welcome our increased military concerns.
This is one of the most vital needs of a sovereign state and a need that is inadequately met without the Caribbean being a united force. Due to the close geography of the archipelago, the intelligence concerns of one Caribbean nation tend to be interlocking with that of others. This co-dependent circumstance is an added reason to develop collective statehood among Caribbean nations.
The past has shown the region that its major intelligence concerns tend to be collective as in the case of the threat of nuclear obliteration from the Cuban Missile Crisis and America’s foreign policy of targeting Socialist Caribbean nations. The modern threat of terrorism and thermonuclear war is ever present and intelligence coupled with diplomacy may be an important tool in helping to prevent such instances or at least significantly limiting the damages through advanced knowledge.
The true hallmark of a developed nation in this context of history is not its innovative capacity to produce advance technology but its capacity to collect advanced intelligence on all potential threats and benefits to its existence. With that in mind, the best way to assure the survival of this region’s sovereignty is to develop a super state in the Caribbean backed by an elusive and rigorous intelligence apparatus that will satisfy the intelligence needs of the Caribbean at the level of traditional intelligence agencies. Presently if our only source of intelligence on the world and other nations in particular is mainstream journalism (which lacks adequate credibility to inform governmental policies) then we do not have an adequate intelligence apparatus to serve the needs of the people of this region, who are very historically deserving of this protection.
The economic cooperation and collective development facilitated by CARICOM has allowed the Caribbean significant economic development in the past and along with CARIFTA is the economic basis of the Caribbean unity we enjoy today. However, since 2001 (9/11) which saw a drastic shift in world relations, the unity and cooperation afforded by CARICOM has grown inadequate and fickle. The need for a stronger, more secure form of regional alliance has demanded that Caribbean nations unite under a single national identity to effectively maneuver the unique challenges that accompany today’s global economic arena.
Since the end of the 2nd World War and the rapid independence of the former colonies in the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific, it may be argued that the means of colonialism shifted from direct political control to a more covert and less understood form of economic control, which was embodied in the system of national debt and the value of a nation’s currency.
Global Institutions like the IMF and World Bank which were formed after the 2nd World War, has almost completely played the role of economic neocolonialists whose policies towards indebted nations tend to leave them in a permanent state of economic dependence. These institutions use the façade of humanitarianism to operate as authoritative figures over entire nations yet the anticipated results of humanitarian assistance is barely ever reflected in the eyes of the impoverished general populations that are left economically defenseless in this indifferent globalized world of trade. The IMF’s low success rate coupled with its highly suspicious Staff Monitored Program and the fact that its ranks are almost purely filled with representatives of developed countries all help to paint a picture of the true nature of the IMF and these other transnational financial institutions. Also the discontinuation of the Lome Agreement which disadvantaged the exploited former colonies only goes to show that the policies of these transnational institutions rarely ever benefit developing countries like those located in the Caribbean.
Also, being a strong proponent of reparation for the transatlantic slavery, the nations of the Caribbean may unite under a unified national identity and demand reparations for the past atrocities of slavery and other forms of exploitation. If this reasonable request is not met, we may be in a better position to take the massive step at forfeiting all debt owed to former slave trading nations which is a step at defending the interest of the Caribbean people, even against the will of developed nations. This dignified stance which may only be made if the region is united will historically signify the de facto sovereignty of the former colonies of the West Indies and beyond.
The new economic approach of a unified Caribbean should consist of developing strong local industries, increasing exports and maintaining a global monopoly on specific goods and services so as to assure a global economic dependence on the new nation. The maintenance of a strong economic alliance with the resource rich continent of Africa is an important aspect of achieving economic and innovative self sufficiency and thus economic alliances among developing nations like the ACP Countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries) should be an effective means at attaining the Caribbean’s full economic potential.
Additionally, Caribbean corporatism is of first world standard and has the potential to challenge first world corporations in the global economy if their goods and services are allowed to be exported and introduced to other markets globally. The Lasco Corporation’s “ICool” product has been so well received by local and regional markets that it is strongly believed that with massive exporting and a global advertisement campaign, the product could become a household name like Pepsi or Mountain Dew.
In the economic interest of the region marijuana could be legalized and a multi-billion dollar marijuana industry be created for the economic exploitation of Caribbean people similar to how many American states have been exploiting it. This extremely profitable venture will significantly increase the Caribbean’s debt to GDP ratio and its global relevance. The rigorous profiteering off of our unique culture and achievements like Bolt’s anticipated victories at the upcoming Olympic Games should benefit the entire region in tourism, investment, trade and diplomacy.
In order to have a strong economy capable of serving the economic needs of the Caribbean people, we MUST develop strength in these three categories.
(i) FOOD SECURITY- Caribbean food security is basically non-existent, especially with the high levels of imports that keep our regional food industry on its face. Most of the food that feeds the Caribbean people is imported which means that if international warfare, scarcity, natural disaster or an embargo commences there will be no a adequate food source to feed the millions and millions of people who call the Caribbean home.
Food Security is an aspect of national security that governments tend to ignore. In this unpredictable globalized free market enterprise that approach to governance is a disaster just waiting to happen. We cannot depend on the Free Market system to assure food security to preserve the life of the Caribbean people. That is reckless governance with a lack of governing intuition which is so common among the leaders of developing countries.
The member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which tend to suffer from high debt to GDP ratios, inadequate agricultural industries and a shortage of foreign exchange due to low exports are the very same nations who remove artificial barriers to trade on agricultural produce and allow the markets to be flooded with imported food items (from outside the Caribbean), many of which is cancerous and unfit for human consumption.
Out of Cuba, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, the only three Caribbean nations with oil and natural gas reserves, only Trinidad and Tobago export significant amounts of oil and natural gas. This leaves the other Caribbean nations dependent on importing fossil fuel for energy which contributes heavily to a country’s national debt and constant demand for foreign exchange. Also, the use of fossil fuels has long been associated with climate change and other negative environmental effects while OPEC can never assure a stable oil market. Thus it is in the interest of Caribbean nations to develop cheaper renewable energy with less negative effects on the environment and a more predictable cost than crude oil.
At this point in human civilization the world possesses the means to be independent of fossil fuel. The tremendous amounts of alternative energy sources that are available for exploitation should render crude oil and natural gas use a thing of the distant past. Solar energy, which is energy derived from the sun has such abundance that one hour of light at high noon contains more energy than what the entire world consumes in a year (0.5 zj). Only the technology needed to harness significant amounts of this energy is needed to disregard fossil fuel all together.
Wind energy is another energy source which although heavily influenced by its location, is able to provide significant amounts of clean energy. The US Department of Energy admitted in 2007 that if wind energy was fully harvested in just three states, it would be enough to power the entire nation. Taking into consideration that the United States consumes more energy than every other country on Earth, wind energy may very well be adequate to satisfy a significant aspect of our energy need if it was fully exploited throughout the Caribbean.
Other less known energy sources such as tidal and wave power harness the energy from the motion of waves in large bodies of water. Since the Caribbean is an archipelago with a lot of convenient tidal locations to harness significant amounts of energy, this energy means if exploited will provide the region with added amounts of renewable energy. However, if the Caribbean’s geothermal energy potential which has a higher energy yield than those previously discussed, then as a nation, the Caribbean may emerge overly energy sufficient and if generated in excess can be exported via large battery storage units (Tesla Battery). If the renewable energy potential of the Caribbean is rigorously exploited by its people then this region may be able to export stored transportable energy, similar to oil exportation by OPEC member states. This new market for cheaper renewable energy may just overtake the archaic demand for oil and drive this newly emerging Caribbean nation into an unquestionable economic superpower. In order to fully assure our energy security, our energy source must exist within our borders and not be imported from potential embargo imposing nations or nations susceptible to destabilization. If we knew the true scientific nature of energy, we would know how abundant it is and how limited the general perspective on energy tend to be.
A nation’s currency is its most important economic variable and thus should be protected as a crucial aspect of our national security. As with our energy source, our mint which produces our currency should be located within our national borders for assured security, especially when taking into consideration our indebted status and our long history of being exploited and tricked by developed nations. At present, the British firm of De La Rue and the German firm of Giesecke and Devrient are both responsible for printing Jamaica’s banknotes. These are overseas private companies which are given significant power to print the currency of entire nations. You would think that a nation (which is the highest collective authority on the planet) would want to possess the machinery and capability to make its most precious commodity for itself rather than trusting, to some extent the integrity of a profit driven capitalist firm.
Such a fundamental aspect of our economy, society and sovereignty should never be left in the hands of offshore private firms, especially after a long history of economic exploitation from overseas entities. The colonialist predisposition of the British and the Dutch East India Companies is a historic reference that private firms may lend their hands to the cause of colonialism, or in this case neocolonialism.
It is thus in the best interest of the people the Caribbean to develop the mechanism and professionalism to establish and maintain an up-to-date mint and currency printing press to securely satisfy the currency needs of the Caribbean. The sophisticated printing and design mechanisms that are demanded to produce today’s standard of banknotes seem to be an intricate art mastered by mostly private firms and thus in order to be able to maintain currency security, the region must unite into a Caribbean state to be better able to meet the modern demands of printing its own money. The currency of the Caribbean nation may be called the “Cariba” or “Cariba Dollar” and may be strengthened and maintained by the united economic productivity of the entire Caribbean along with the policy direction of the Caribbean’s economic intellectuals. As with any developed nation, all our exports will be sold only in Cariba dollars which will increase the global demand for the Caribbean’s currency while at the same time accumulating foreign exchange. This will in turn increase the currency’s value in comparison to other global currencies and thus as a unified region we are able to fully realize our economic potential only by uniting our every efforts.
SCIENTIFIC AND INNOVATIVE SECURITY
Like any modern nation or region, the Caribbean possesses the need for constant innovation in technology, mechanisms, information, design and scientific advancement. In order for the nation states of the Caribbean to develop technological industries and to maintain a level of innovation similar to that of developed nations, the region must unite its best scientific and technical minds in the aim of achieving innovative self sufficiency, a true sign of independence. A nation that has to import its innovation rather than to develop or contribute to its development locally is a nation that risks a significant dependency on trade and the submissive state conduct that goes hand in hand with such dependency. The best way to develop innovative security is to invite some of the best minds in the field of science and technology to Caribbean Universities to educate our own while inviting and developing tech related corporations to provide jobs for our tech graduates. Also university grants that require graduates to contribute specific years of service to the Caribbean before migrating may be used to prevent the immediate brain drain of our scientific and technical graduates.
There are two methods that will improve the Caribbean’s capacity to foster its own technological innovation and scientific potential. The first is to remove all artificial barriers to trade on technology so that the people of the Caribbean can develop adequate technological familiarity by conveniently accessing technology from outside of the Caribbean. The second method is to upgrade the process by which an individual is offered a patent so that it is efficient, cost effective and enforceable in developed nations. With efficiency, the applicant may be speedily awarded a patent in comparison to others seeking a similar patent outside of the Caribbean, therefore reserving the innovative right to Caribbean people. With enforceability, a patentee may enforce his/her rights in all nations privy to any enforceable treaty concerning intellectual property rights. These methods will assure the full exploitation of the Caribbean’s rapidly growing innovative capacity as sited in Jamaica’s robotics achievement on Silicon Valley (Kimroy Bailey).
While the scientific capacity of the Caribbean may be increased by providing large state subsidies to the scientific fields making scientific jobs in the Caribbean some of the most attractive in the world. Also by giving the scientific community certain extended privileges, the best scientific minds of other nations may be attracted to the Caribbean, rendering it a center of scientific thought. This will be necessary in addressing the major medical crisis that is plaguing the region which gives rise to Medical Security as a sub- category to Scientific and Innovative Security.
The Caribbean is home to the 2nd highest levels of HIV/AIDS only topped by Africa which means that as a region we are plagued with the worst medical catastrophe on record and have no adequate means to contain and address this pandemic. Randomly emerging diseases such as H1 N1 Swine Flu, Chik V and Zika only goes to show that the Caribbean needs a collective medical effort in maintaining the medical security of the region. Also, with the threat of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other widely spread STD’s, having strong medical cooperation in the Caribbean is nothing more than responsible governance protecting the well being of Caribbean people.
Cuba could adopt some of the responsibility for the medical well being of the Caribbean by transmitting their supreme medical knowledge to regional medical authorities. A Cuban medical alliance with the soon to be Caribbean super state would help to preserve the lives of millions of Caribbean people over time. Cuba is a significant potential member of the Caribbean super state and the hub of our medical knowledge. The medical needs of the Caribbean should be satisfied by being able to activate epidemic control mechanisms like flight control, watch lists for potentially infected people, hospital containment preparation for cases of highly infectious diseases and the instant ability to quarantine areas in the general public which is suspected of harboring infectious diseases.
Since the Caribbean is a global tourism destination where a lot of inward mobility takes place, the potential of globally emerging diseases to be transmitted to this region is highly likely and thus epidemic control mechanisms must be implemented to prevent the Caribbean from being wiped out from a simple mishandled case of Ebola. In this era of randomly emerging diseases, suspected biological warfare and the worst medical catastrophe known to man, it would be reckless that steps aren’t taken to establish medical security for the Caribbean on a whole.
Although the region seems to have adequate political security, nations such as Haiti and Jamaica may claim a lack of political security due to an overly competitive political arena and a lack of protection from foreign powers respectively. Thus a collective political order that governs the Caribbean as a whole may deprive individual states like Haiti and Jamaica of their political shortcomings and offer adequate modern political security for the people of this historically rich region. Also, all other security would be recognized under political security for admittedly those requirements are the vital aspects of a fully functioning state (nation).
While the Caribbean under direct colonial authority was a never ending battle ground marred by constantly changing regimes, since the independence of the colonies and the localization of governance the region’s regimes have been more than adequately stable and have in its own way vibrantly contributed to the political history of the world.
After centuries of experiencing the worst crimes in history (slavery) the Caribbean nation of Haiti was the first nation to draft a constitution which condemned slavery and racial discrimination, even before the US constitution. This is one of the most profound political and intellectual achievements of all time and thus the Caribbean is home to historically great political minds and is able to govern its own political interest as a dignified, sophisticated and historic center of culture.
Marcus Garvey of Jamaica is one of the first pioneers of the Pan Africanism movement and the greatest Black Nationalist to date. Fidel Castro is a revolutionist who rose to power in Cuba and constantly repelled the advances of the world’s most advanced superpower. Michael Manley of Jamaica received a gold medal along with only six other individuals from the UN for their efforts in helping to end apartheid. Also Eric Williams the former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago was a great Caribbean political leader who wrote the intellectually refreshing book titled Capitalism and Slavery (1944), which is an objective assessment of the true factors which led to the abolition of slavery. Williams’ work is one of the Caribbean’s most important historic reference and one of the most significant intellectual contributions to that aspect of history. Thus the political and intellectual contribution of this region to one of the most pressing modern issues (racial equality), stands as a testament to the Caribbean’s political sophistication.
These five (5) basic needs if satisfied will give the people of the Caribbean the full use of their sovereignty, their economic capacity and their collective potential for significant global contributions. For true independence is when we possess the ability to choose our own political destiny and recognize our true economic potential without the threat of invasion, embargo or being discredited. It is therefore inevitable for the nations of the Caribbean to unite under a single national identity.
However, many may fear the destruction of the national identity of many nation states of the Caribbean. Countries like Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad and the Bahamas have cultivated unique cultural identities and have developed individual reputations around the world and may fear the idea of a unified Caribbean state. Due to the fact that the former independent countries will be united as one single country the identity of nations like Jamaica may be lost. However, if we use a Federal system of government similar to the West Indian Federation, Caribbean territories may be able to preserve significant amounts of their former national identities while exploiting the benefits of a strong a unified political establishment.
Ever since the fall of the West Indian Federation there has been unfounded rumors of hostile tensions existing between Caribbean states, notably between Jamaica and Trinidad. This reality may have existed in the past but in the modern time we cannot accommodate for such petty regional rivalry. Whatever incidents that have happened in the past should be collectively overlooked by all of the old Federation members so that we can unite effectively as a region. The free movement of people, property, commodity and finances is a critical part of establishing Caribbean statehood and thus nation states must be prepared to open their borders in the interest of the collective development of the region. Thus any alleged tension that exist between Caribbean states should be settled in good faith and all previous occurrences forgiven on the basis of establishing a united and unshakable nation.
Another concern may be the difficulty of establishing statehood over an archipelago instead of a single landmass. This concern was a significant contributor to the dismantling of the former West Indian Federation (1958-62). However, in this modern era of convenient travel and instant means of transmitting information etc. the task of establishing statehood over the Caribbean archipelago is more than attainable. Japan who has been doing it for centuries may be used as a point of reference in establishing a united and centralized state system over such a complex geography. Many state systems have encompassed complex geographies in the past and at this point in history (Age of Information and Technology) such tasks are likely to come with more relative ease than in the past.
In conclusion, the best way to assure governmental security to a nation of people is to increase the nation’s influence in the United Nations which is increasing one’s odds of attaining a permanent position in the UN Security Council. For Jamaica and other Caribbean states, the only chance of ever attaining such geopolitical influence is to unite and to cultivate positive and productive ideologies which will guide our people to absolute unity while recognizing their fullest potential. The treacherous history of conquest, genocide, colonization, slavery, piracy, poverty and epidemic, is a reminder that the region known as the Caribbean and the geopolitically ambitious states that occupy it have a vested interest in establishing collective statehood and the geopolitical security that emerges with it.
In the 21st century when Caribbean states are still being stifled by national debt, inadequate infrastructure and social services, poor healthcare and educational facilities and a general dependence on trade, the urgent need to contemplate a new path of statehood is now. In the direct interest of the long term well-being of the region, a Caribbean state consisting of all CARICOM members (associates and other nations in the region) must be formed. Challenges such as opposition from other nations, a lack of vision of the people and the selfish desire of nation leaders to compromise their absolute authority over a defined territory, will all be obstacles this inevitable super state must and WILL overcome.
“United we stand, divided we fall.”