One headline in the February 9, 2010 edition of the Cuban newspaper, Granma, caught my attention as I continued to look at the situation in Haiti and the challenge it poses to the Caribbean Community; both as a formal institution for the achievement of integration and as a community of people living in the same space who believe they ought to share a common future.
Granma headlines a story on Cuban assistance to
It is a fitting slogan in the context not only of Cuba’s longstanding philanthropic diplomacy in the Caribbean, but as a starting point in considering the Caricom “response” to the post-earthquake crisis. The
But, what is the truth? Were we (Caricom) already there, or did we have to “arrive”?
In a sense, Caricom has long been in
But, the question stands: Was Caricom, the institution, there for
It can be said that the assembling of Caricom aviation officials for a workshop in
We have to be truthful. The answer is NO.
As I have argued over the years Caricom, as an institution, was never prepared for
The countries of Caricom have also never fully come to terms with Haitian membership. Many Haitian officials (not, now, including those with diplomatic passports), journalists, artistes and business persons have faced the embarrassment and inconvenience of restrictive visa regimes for travel by Haitians within Caricom. Even when the experiment of a “single domestic space” for the Cricket World Cup was initiated in 2007, Haitians continued to be discriminated against by Caricom member countries.
It is true that the first time and only time I went to
Yet, during visits to
Yes, Caricom arrived in
The failure and inability of the official institution to adopt a leadership posture in even one aspect of the process of rescuing, healing, counseling and protecting the people of
This is not to blame anyone for anything. It is simply to state a fact.