Using region to feed Barbados
Barbados cannot grow enough of its own food,
and should instead pursue the CARICOM vision of
specialization of territories, enabling it to sow and reap
in jurisdictions such as Guyana and Dominica.
This is the view of political scientist Dr George Belle,
who has argued that the original vision for regional
integration was for the collection of territories to capitalize
on individual strengths of each other for a more
He sought to debunk ideas that Barbados, with a
population exceeding a quarter of a million and growing,
could sustain itself in food production and manufacturing,
and said that the time is ripe for exploiting regional
resources and cut the international food importation bill.
Noting that Greece, with its economic problems
has turned to its regional Europe Union neighbours for
solutions, he said, “you could take Barbados and throw
it in there [Greece]. As a matter of fact you could take
Barbados and throw it in the Essequibo in Guyana,
“And we talking about how we going to be
self-sufficient. What we want is land in Guyana to feed
the Barbadians. That’s what we want. We want lands in
Dominica to feed the Barbadians.”
This senior University of the West Indies lecturer in
political science was recently sharing his thoughts at a
Barbados Pan-African Congress celebrations of the end of
Kwanzaa 2013, where he spoke on the way forward for
Pan-Africanist, socialists and other progressive persons,
focusing on the time now in Barbados.
“Barbados has to be specializing, and that is where the
regional model comes in, and that is what certain people
that were dealing with the Caribbean Single Market and
Economy in the time in the 90s understood,” he said and
added, “The things that we were doing in Barbados, we
were buying time to try to get success at that regional
level, because Barbados, especially Barbados, has to go
in that direction if it is going to go forward. Otherwise
it can go back.
Contending that given its size, Barbados could achieve
self-sufficiency if the population numbered 40,000, he said:
“I’m not against agricultural and farming [in Barbados],
but you have to see it in its context. This argument, this
national vision about autarchy, an old-fashioned view about
we would be self-reliant. The Chinese, tried that as well
and failed miserably. A massive country like China, and the
Chinese with their millions, and now billions, couldn’t
He spoke of Dominica with its agricultural base
supplying some crops to Barbados, but envisions
a movement of Barbadians to Guyana with its abundance
of arable areas for farming.
“Guyana got nuff nuff land, and they need people to
work the land and to bring it [produce] back to Barbados.
“I know that the guy from SOL, [Sir Kyffin] Simpson,
he is down there now. But we don’t just want Simpson to
be down there, we want Bajan farmers to be down there,
Bajan people to be down there.
“And that is the kind of regional nation
I’m talking about.” (GA)