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Brexit – the Caribbean Must Seize the Moment | David Jessop

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LONDON, England, Thursday February 13, 2020 – Last month Britain held an Africa investment summit. It was live streamed and hosted by the country’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. In the words of the UK government, it was aimed at ‘strengthening its economic partnerships with African nations, as part of a Government drive to ensure the continent’s growing demand for investment is met by the UK’s expertise and innovation’.

The intention was to demonstrate that having all but left the European Union (EU), Britain post-Brexit is looking to find new ways to engage.

Thankfully, the event was low on imperial nostalgia, something still worryingly prevalent within parts of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party. Although lacking the weight and vison of similar summits held previously by the EU, China, Russia, and others, it indicated in its own way that Britain is hoping to find a new global role.

The conference saw commitments made to African development and offered the continent’s political and business leaders the opportunity to indicate what they require from the future relationship.

Investment apart, the focus was on issues that are as relevant to the Caribbean as to Africa. These include greater services access, a more helpful regulatory regime for imports into Britain, changes to visa and migration rules, and the need to address impediments to remittances from the African diaspora in the UK. That said, some participants were critical of the UK’s failure to commit more financially in ways that match the importance the UK’s professes to place on a closer relationship with African nations, or to indicate more clearly a strategic approach.

This April the Caribbean too will have the opportunity to discuss how a post-Brexit Britain outside of the EU intends to relate to the countries of CARIFORUM and Britain’s five overseas territories Then, Caribbean ministers and officials and their UK counterparts will discuss various aspects of the relationship, and one hopes to agree how the UK might in the decade ahead transform its ties with the region.

For this to happen and if the event is to be more than just a repeat of sometimes lacklustre past encounters, it will require both sides to identify new themes that might broaden the relationship. That is, to use the event to develop ideas that extend beyond governments, in ways that have longevity and depth by embracing a wider network of linkages involving business, the diaspora, non-governmental organisations and academia.

If the region is to benefit from the UK’s determination to reassess its role in the world, the Caribbean ought to be upping its ambition.

As far as I can tell and I am happy to be corrected, no Caribbean voice is suggesting publicly that now is the moment to reposition and repurpose the region’s relationship with a post-Brexit UK in ways that meet the region’s longer-term requirements.

Up to now almost all that the Caribbean has focussed on has been maintaining its tariff and quota free trade access at a level equivalent to that contained in the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): something it achieved in the spring of 2019.

While this was important, a broader more thoughtful approach is required if the region hopes to encourage the UK to support its future development and make more efficient the model it bequeathed the region, in some cases, more than half a century ago.

If the UK genuinely wishes to establish a lasting and distinctive post Brexit role in the region, the April forum offers the opportunity to explore a new framework for co-operation that goes beyond trade, security, crime, the environment, the Windrush scandal and all the other issues normally discussed.

There are many new ways of fostering engagement.

There are highly successful figures in the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK who want to find ways to relate to the region and give something back.

There are role models in the UK who might mentor the many women in the region who still find it difficult to break through the glass ceiling.

Younger generations in the region are more outspoken about international relationships than governments. This requires a forum for thoughtful engagement.

There is a subtle discussion to be had about Britain’s future role in the region and why shared values still matter.

Most employers and companies want the transfer of skills and technology to enable them and the region to better compete.

UK institutions and associations could be encouraged to develop sustainable programmes of their own with Caribbean partners, centred on global best practice in public administration, local government, unionism, and sectoral association viability.

In the distant past the UK sponsored leading academics, unionists, officials, sportspersons and others to visit, often with private sector support, to participate in lecture tours, hold seminars, and encourage debate that helped tomorrows leaders look over the horizon. This is worth exploring again.

There are also political issues that one hopes the 2020 Forum will better define.

The UK would benefit from being seen to publicly embrace every nation in CARIFORUM irrespective of their thinking on Venezuela, making clear that in future what London offers will be different from the approach taken by the US, China and other nations now seeking a greater role in the region.

Hopefully the encounter might also indicate how the UK intends in future delivering development assistance in the Caribbean, by explaining if any part of what the UK previously contributed to the European Development Fund (EDF) will be redirected bilaterally to the Caribbean, despite the region having been graduated out of development support.

Another area of interest will be the extent to which Britain’s sometimes complex and difficult bilateral relationship with its overseas territories, represent a long-term route to a lasting future role in the region.

Caribbean politicians are often reticent about what they think of or want from the UK. This is not true of the region’s non-state bodies and associations, leading figures in business, the young, non-governmental organisations and academic-led think tanks.

Brexit offers a unique post-colonial opportunity for them to seize the moment; to suggest through the media and in other ways, how the relationship with Britain might be redesigned to make it relevant to their lives in the twenty first century.

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David Jessop is former Managing Director of the Caribbean Council. He has worked on Caribbean issues for over 40 years and continues to speak and write on Caribbean issues. He is the editor of the Council’s Caribbean Insight and Cuba Briefing publications; a member of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Central American Action in Washington and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; and a non-executive Director on the Board of the money transfer business of the Jamaica National Building Society, a long established mutually-owned bank and financial institution.

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Haiti launches sanitation campaign to prevent Covid-19

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2 de abril de 2020, 15:57Puerto Principe, April 2 (Prensa Latina) The Haitian government officially launched a national sanitation campaign on Thursday, as part of preventive measures to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The initiative is being funded with 250 million gourdes (about 2.5 million dollars), and will affect all 74 areas of the capital’s metropolitan area, as well as public squares and other places of interest in the country’s 10 departments.

The campaign will run until May 2 with the participation of the ministries of Transport, Interior, Environment, the National Solid Waste Management Service (SNGRS) and the Equipment Center.

From next Saturday, cleaning, disinfection and distribution of hygiene kits will begin, confirmed Eudes Lajoie, SNGRS’ general manager, and assured that there will be transparency in the management of the funds.

The young people will also be given cleaning tools, shovels, rakes and brooms, and some 5,000 people will be able to benefit from economic support as part of the campaign, he said.

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COVID-19: Death Number 6 in Trinidad As Cases Approach 100

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday April 3, 2020 – A sixth person has died from the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the number of cases in the twin-island republic reached 98.

No details have been given about the latest victim.

The Ministry of Health reported that of 705 samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), 98 tested positive.

The latest one was reported today.

Only one person who tested positive for COVID-19 has so far been discharged.

More than half of the country’s total positive cases – 49 – came from a group of nationals who returned from a cruise last month.

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Haïti – Actualité : Zapping…

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Haïti – Actualité : Zapping…
03/04/2020 11:44:15

Haïti - Actualité : Zapping...

Limitation de la circulation dans le Sud :

A partir de ce dimanche, il sera interdit aux véhicules du transport en commun de se rendre ou de laisser le département du Sud. Quant aux véhicules privés, ils ne doivent pas contenir plus de 4 personnes qui seront soumises à des tests. Cette décision a été prise par la branche Sud de l’association des propriétaires et Chauffeurs d’Haïti, APCH, de concert avec les autorités locales visant à empêcher la propagation du Covid-19 dans ce département, a dit Bertrand Banatte, responsable de l’APCH dans le SUD.

Action concertée contre le Covid-19 :

Séance de travail entre les Ministre Pradel Henriquez (Culture), Madame Myriam Jean (Tourisme), Nader Joiseus (Travaux Publics) et les Directeurs Généraux Daniel Joseph de la Radio Nationale et Gamall Jules Augustin de la Télévision Nationale d’Haïti, autour d’une action concertée contre le coronavirus Covid-19. À l’agenda, faire un faisceau entre les institutions étatiques dans la perspective d’apporter une réponse immédiate dans la lutte contre le Coronavirus qui risque d’engendrer une crise sanitaire dans le pays.

Centre de quarantaine pour les haïtiens de retour de RD :

En plus du local des Volontaires pour le Développement d’Haïti, l’espace du marché frontalier de Ouanaminthe, sera utilisé comme centre de quarantaine pour accueillir les haitiens revenant de la RD, informent les autorités locales.

Le Saviez-vous ? :

À Jérémie, dans le département de la Grand’Anse, le « tonmtonm » est la vedette gastronomique. Ce mets fait à base de l’arbre véritable s’accompagne d’une sauce de « kalalou gombo » très gluante. Il est tellement populaire qu’un groupe local très connu dans les années 90 s’appelait « Tonmtonm ». Il faut également ajouter qu’une pâtisserie de la ville des poètes, le « konparèt », est très répandue dans la communauté. Certains Jérémiens qui vivent à l’étranger en réclament chaque fois qu’un ami ou un proche va en Haïti.

SNGRS : Plan de contingence opérationel

« Un plan de contingence du Service National de Gestion des Résidus Solides (SNGRS) est opérationnel dans le but d’assainir la région métropolitaine et autres grandes villes du pays. Des opérations de pulvérisation des places publiques sont prévues également de même que la distribution de kits d’hygiène » a déclaré jeudi en conférence de presse Eudes Lajoie, DG du SNGRS.

HL/ HaïtiLibre


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