There comes a time when the only thing to do is make clear, definitive,
unambiguous statements about things of importance. Here goes. I am a
Jamaican, I am NOT a Caribbean man. I want no part of the totally useless
creation we label CARICOM. The peoples who populate those islands 1,000
miles away from my home are not brothers and sisters. There has been some
cross-breeding, but it's statistically insignificant to warrant the
familial term 'brothers'.
I do not ascribe to the notion that because we are primarily and
predominantly of the same racial composition, that makes us brothers. The
same could be said of the people of Papua New Guinea. They were also former
colonies of the same empire, but I do not hear this claim for integration
with those good people.
I have visited countries in this Eastern Caribbean. On arrival, one is not
imbued, as a Jamaican, with the feeling of belonging. One is met with the
quizzical, "What do you want now?"
I have had a period of enforced residence with some of them at a particular
North American university and here in Jamaica. This has not created any
pleasant memories, and I would have been better off not to have had those
NOT THE SAME
We are different. Mauby, blood pudding, bake, monkeys unfettered, major
racial divide are all daily features of life in those islands. The fact
that the West Indies cricket team is offered up as a source of bonding
strikes me as overreaching. The team, when it was great, had individuals
who proved to be extraordinary. They were immensely, individually talented.
They had a singular purpose - to win. They did win, but the team was
created initially out of British colonies. The development of independent
countries with their own attendant nationalism has significantly diluted
this experience. One is hard-pressed to foresee a return to glory on the
field, and even if they did, what would differentiate them from other
cricket entities? Just look at the Indian T20 spectacle. Love cricket -
watch, recognising the multiple nationalities playing as a unit.
The Trinidadians have this over-bearing, suffocating attitude. The Bajans
have this bombastic self-importance. Both of these nations waste no time in
displaying these traits towards Jamaicans. Remember Kamla Persad-Bissessar
and the ATM being out of bounds? The Bajans and Shanique Myrie?
NO LONGER SUFFER IN SILENCE
As an aside, until these most recent incidents, I was prepared to listen to
Sir Ronald Sanders and suffer in silence. No more. We need to give the
six-month notice and leave CARICOM. Keep your oil, money, flying fish and
population. We will deal with the world as it is and forge our way therein
as best we can.
We have the resourcefulness, aptitude and personnel to make our mark. Let
us use what we have and be inspired by George Headley, up to Shelly-Ann
Fraser-Pryce, Usain Bolt, the Nobel laureate in our midst and those high
achievers in the diaspora.
Have you noticed which two countries are usually responsible for put-downs
of Jamaica and Guyana? I, for one, am no longer prepared, on the national
level, to engage those who patronise my country and my countrymen. I would
support the repatriation of CARICOM nationals who work in Jamaica.
Parochial, yes. More jobs for Jamaicans.
The matter of commerce between the countries is predicated on mutual
benefit. Is this the case with Jamaica and CARICOM? Hell, no. They see
Jamaica as the market to be exploited, not where fair trade exists. No to
Jamaican patties. Yes to tissue high in bacteria. Play the fool regarding natural
gas. Pull the plug. Get the brand name Air Jamaica, then curtail service to
We do not have to buy the biscuits, chocolate, peanuts, tissue and the
multitude of other consumables from Trinidad. There are Jamaican products
of similar or superior quality than. And our local purchases will boost
jobs at home. As for me and my house, we will not buy CARICOM products.
As a member of the legal fraternity, I have given great thought to the
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). I understand the need for a final
appellate court. I do have a longing to sever the ties with the colonial
power. Let me suggest that we look at another option. There is a country in
our part of the world that is developed, shares our judicial heritage and
philosophy, does not have the baggage of colonial domination, and has
proven itself to be a worthy ally of Jamaica. I have no knowledge that they
would be receptive to affording us assent for our final court.
However, we need to cut the ties to CARICOM. Leaving the treaty will mean
exiting the CCJ. We would be diminished as a court of original jurisdiction
for CARICOM trade matters. Can we give thought to looking to Canada as our
final court of appeal?
This may well mean a diminished court. It may further be reduced if we
could recoup the 26 per cent contribution we made to the trust which funds
the court. This totalled US$100 million.
Federation was a bad idea. It was laid to rest. CARICOM cannot hope to be
viable without some states ceding to the whole some political power. God
forbid that Jamaica should do that. Political decision-making, however
limited? No way!
The current experiment has to be laid to rest. For me and my household, we
will be at the vanguard of seeing to the dismantling of CARICOM. I am a
proud Jamaican. I am not a Caribbean man.
Ronald Mason is an immigration attorney-at-law/mediator.
(From the Jamaica Gleaner, Sunday, May 5th 2013)
Mahogany Coconut Comment: While we certainly disagree with Mr.Mason's views, we strongly believe in publishing the positions of those, with whom we disagree, in the interest of public discourse , on topics relevant to the Caribbean.
We present and encourage progressive Caribbean views of Caribbean and world affairs.
Guyana Ginger Beer Recipe INGREDIENTS: 1 oz. fresh ginger root 4 tablespoons lime juice Peel from 1 lime 1/2/ lb. (white) sugar 1 teaspoon active dry yeast.DIRECTIONS:Peel the ginger root and crush it lightly with the flat side of a cleaver. Combine the ginger, lime juice, peel and sugar in a large bowl, and pour the boiling water over them Put the yeast into a small bowl with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water and let it stand for a few minutes, then stir to dissolve it completely. Let it stand in a warm, draught-free place for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to bubble. Add it to the ginger mixture, and stir thoroughly. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm, draught-free place for a week, stirring every second day. Strain through a fine sieve, bottle (in sterilized bottles), and let the beer stand at room temperature for 3 or 4 days longer. Chill, and serve, with or without ice, in tumblers.Makes 1 1/2…
Hearing de National Anthem
I standing ramrod straight
I am a proud bajan
Some say poor great
At de Garrison Savannah
Back in nineteen sixty-six
See de playing field
In a such a muddy fix
Never see so much bajans
In muh entire life
All o’ dem wid one purpose
Independence not strife
There in dey numbers
Not caring ‘bout de mud
Packing in de Garrison
As many as dey could
Some walked for miles
Some come by donkey cart
A few come by motorcar
All bajans to de heart
For this very night
They had eagerly planned
Every one of them
Down to a single man
Was plenty activity
Then de moment come
We see Errol Barrow
What a great Barbadian son!
Standing like a soldier
Was a moment to brag
Down went de Union Jack
Up went de bajan flag
Since the late 1960’s, Africa has
been a rather quiet political force in the Caribbean. When the then Organization
of African Unity was an active political entity and the Caribbean states were
embarking on Independence, progressive politicians were enamored with great
African leaders such Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Our thoughts have swung to Africa
in recent weeks because of the visits of the Vice President of America Joe
Biden and China's President, Xi Linping to the region. Of course, Biden would
have reminded the Caribbean leaders of the “great” friendship the Caribbean and
America enjoy and Xi Linping would have promised greater aid to the region,
promising assistance with trade and underwriting some social projects. We do not wish to pour cold water
on either China’s or America’s presence in the Caribbean. They are two of the
most powerful and rich countries in the world and we cannot ignore that fact. Furthermore,
Chinese products have been importe…