Caribbean needs to move swiftly on Trump

A former regional diplomat says the Caribbean needs to act speedily to ensure its most pressing concerns are included in the foreign policy agenda of the newly elected Republican government in the United States.

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump led the party to a stunning defeat of the incumbent Democratic administration of outgoing president Barack Obama on Tuesday.

“We have a rare occurrence. We have an exceptional concentration of power . . . . The Republican Party has the White House, the House, the Senate and the opportunity to appoint judges to the Supreme Court,” said Dr Richard Bernal, the former executive director for the Caribbean at the Inter-American Development Bank.

While cautioning that “there is inevitably a difference between campaign rhetoric and the pragmatism which inevitably must inform policy,” he noted that Trump, who has no experience in government, was yet to articulate his foreign policy vision for the US and in particular his approach to the Caribbean.

“What this means is that what happens in the next, let’s say four years, is going to set a template for a long time to come, so there is justifiable reason for concern,” he added.

However, during a special forum held by the University of the West Indies on Wednesday to analyze the US results and to discuss the implications for the Caribbean, Bernal, who was recently appointed as the UWI’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs stressed the need for “urgent proactive intervention” on the part of the region.

“This is not a time to dissipate our energy, technical or intellectual, on speculating what might happen, what could happen, getting bogged down in speculation about what will happen.

“This is a time when we have to take the initiative to formulate a strategy of the needs of the Caribbean and to begin to place that in the context of US foreign policy-making,” said Bernal, who previously served as the Caribbean Community’s chief negotiator.

Also taking part in the panel discussion was former Jamaican senator and minister of state for education Maxine Henry Wilson, who urged regional leaders not to sit back and agonize over the US election result, but use it as an energizing moment to chart the Caribbean’s destiny.

“It is a moment when we cannot sit back and say, ‘oh this terrible thing has happened . . .’ because . . . some say a wonderful thing has happened.

“It is really a challenge for us to take our destiny into our own hands,” Henry Wilson stressed. 

She also urged careful consideration of the very coalition that supported Trump’s election campaign.

“And I would start from the question, is Trump really a Republican or is Trump just Trump? And that has very serious implications for how he is going to govern.

“All those things about climate change and so on, he has given voice to some of them already. The question will be, is the other side of the Republican coalition willing to challenge [him]?” the former senator asked. 

4 Responses to Caribbean needs to move swiftly on Trump

  1. Brien King
    Brien King November 12, 2016 at 5:44 am

    I’m looking to see a movie called ” whores of the Caribbean” . Apparently these countries that the authorities in the Caribbean run to is their husbands or man, which ever. It paints a picture of a man with many wives that went far away and was now coming back home and each of the wives cause a race to see who can get to him first with their concerns . I am So disappointing in how the country do business with these people outside, it spells out why they can demand so much ungodly hardship on the poor people and get it done too. All these folks in authority can boost about are their skills on how to BEG.

  2. jrsmith November 12, 2016 at 6:40 am

    No ideas at all everyone on the soap box with nothing making sense , we in barbados needs to do what the (Donald ) said America first for us, barbados first….

  3. Tony Webster November 12, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Dear Doctor: you force me to ponder on who is meekkin’ joke the more: you or The Donald? There is nothing more distant on the latter’s To-Do list, than these Caribbean islands!! Even if his good buddy Putin was to suddenly set-up business in Venezuela, or make a come-back in Cuba, he would just go and build another another wall- or hotel- somewhere.

    He doan care a rats rectum about anybody’s welfare on God’s Green Earth…cept his own. I’m not qualified to judge, but I can take a guess : this guy is as “unstable” as they get….but he does have an uncanny ability to see opportunity when others (in particular, those Blind Gorilliphants running the GOP) . Unfortunately, you cannot run the Worlds Greatest, most powerful democracy and largest economy, just by looking for commercial opportunities and with crossed fingers.

    This guy fits nicely into all that the good book says about The Last Days.

  4. Alex Alleyne November 12, 2016 at 9:35 am

    People all , Please let the “dust settle first”.


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