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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Down To Brass Tacks: Questions And Issues

On 'Down To Brass Tacks' (on VOB 92.9FM) on August 18, I heard Mr. Tony Marshall ask a set of really good questions and raise issues pertaining to the Caribbean as a whole and to Barbados individually. I asked Mr. Marshall this afternoon if I could repeat the questions here, and he agreed. I will offer no answers.

I did not hear the whole broadcast yesterday, but Mr. Marshall did offer some answers at the time, he told me. He would be very interested in any feedback, via this blog or of course when he is next on Brass Tacks.

  1. Why don't we have one regional central bank?

  2. Why don't we have a single currency?

  3. How can we have regional unity and West Indies cricket and Trinidad wants to go it alone?

  4. How can we have unity and the CCJ is the final court for 2 countries, with the others going to the Privy Council?

  5. Why do we not have a regional airline?

  6. Why are we duplicating the offerings of UWI across the region: Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados campuses, and we have 'Open University' across the region, and non-campus territories?

  7. We continue to support a singular approach and talk about regional integration?

  8. Why is the OECS monetary union working?

  9. We continue to want to be a big fish in a little pond.

  10. Harmonisation of fiscal incentives is a lot of pretty talk - but what have we done so far?

  11. Why do we have 3-4 cement plants?

  12. There is an increase in health costs across the region. Have we thought of importing in bulk and distributing across the region?

  13. Do we test that pharmaceutical medication coming into Barbados does what it is purported to achieve (i.e., is fit for the purpose)?

Joking, Mr. Marshall and I agreed that "Coffin" falls with #13.


4 comments:

Terence said...

1) Do you have the confidence in Ewert Williams (previous Trinidadian governor Winston Dookeran), Derick Milton Latibeaudiere, Sir K Dwight Venner or Mr. Lawrence Williams to be our Central bank governor?

2) Do we all have the same fiscal policy and philosophy when it comes to macro economics?

3)Does a a West indies Team compete in FIFA world cup football, the world net ball championships, NORSECA volleyball or Olympics? Why does Jamaica has the world record as their national record but ours is 10.03 sec in the men's 100 meter sprint

4) Do we all have the same level to confidence in judicial systems and do we all think are equitable in the administration of justice?

5) Why does only one in thee caribbean have the ability to refine crude oil to jet fuel?

6) Why is there a disparity in the level of tuition paid by each country's nationals?

7) When did we have consensus on the "One China" policy and Petro Caribe?

8) What is the purchasing power parity of the OECS currency and is it the highest in the caribbean?

9) Who does not what to be the master of his/her domain? Can you tell you siblings how to live their lives?

10) Why does the NIS in Barbados provide unemployment benefits but the National Social Security Services of Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad do not?

11) Why do we have a Common External Tariff (CET) on cement, sugar, rice, fruit juice and tea?

12) What are the equivalents of the Barbados National Drug service in the various countries and do they have the same mandate and comparable budget as our own?

13) Can Barbados afford the logistical, technical, administrative structure of the USA's Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA)?

People have said to me answering a question with question is very annoying. But in my mind I hypothesize did you ask the right question to get a definitive answer. People do not like unfavourable answers to unpopular questions

Dennis Jones said...

Terence, I've passed on the points to Tony Marshall.

Dennis Jones said...

Terence, Let me offer some points to your questions
1. No obligation to choose from existing Governors.
2. No. I mentioned need for equivalent to EU convergence criteria to Tony Marshall (TM).
3. a- No: I've made similar points re. Windies, etc. b- Reasons vary
4. I pointed TM to European Court of Justice, which I understand works only at level of EU laws.
5. Good question. But other factors at work, not least national pride. Not sure regional airline would be a solution if it were not efficient.
6. No one price in Caribbean. But same was true (and may still be) in EU. Common currency should help reduce differences over time, but still disparities as costs structures, etc. different.
7. Singular approach and regional integration (RI) are not incompatible. RI has not stopped separate foreign policies in EU, even with major disagreements.
8. Good question. But other considerations too, including size, sense of 'commonality', which OECS residents often say they do.
9. Also depends on degree that each feels 'protected' if giving up certain types of control. Start point though is binding to idea of integration/regional whole. Many models to see (USA, EU, former USSR).
10. Harmonisation of fiscal incentives does not make sense in isolation. Other things need to be harmonized too.
11. Good point. Also mentioned to TM transport cost, distribution area issues. If region were one large country, 3 separate locations would not seem odd.
12. Similar point made to TM. Also, not same propensities for illness or accepted medical practices.
13. Not sure that need to go as you suggest. I aslo asked what testing is done at all.

Terence said...

I do not like to compare EU integration with Caricom as the originating philosophies are diametric a nature. The EU integration is built on the premise that if we commercially and economically integrate the conflicts of the two World Wars will be avoided. No country that values a high standard of living will not seek to destroy the economic market that sustains it. Hence Germany will not attack its other European neighbours because it is their largest export market.

Universities in the EU are their own independent institutions unlike UWI which is constituted of 3 campuses each is of which trying to fulfill special skill requirements for its own national agenda. Also how many governments are will to fund full tutions and room and board for its nationals.

You could ask any OECS national if they would prefer to be paid in US dollars or EC dollars then ask an EU national the same question with respect to their currency. I hypothesize that their answers will be different.

USA and the former USSR "integrated" through military conquest not philosophical consensus of mutual cooperation for socio-economic development among the different states.