President Obama, the third
sitting U.S. leader to visit Jamaica, takes in the
Bob Marley Museum earlier today.
Visit, Caribbean Leaders Should Stash 'Begging Bowl' (The Jamaica Observer,
States is looking for partners, not mendicants or dependents. Don't bring a
begging bowl into the meeting in Kingston. Instead of asking for a handout or
debt cancellation, focus on mobilizing private investment. … At the same time,
the United States has to realize that praise and hortatory remarks aren't
bankable. America needs to roll out a program of rewards of financial support
and debt relief for those sticking to the difficult task of reform as Jamaica
has been doing."
WE have in this space provided an analysis of the likely
motivations for the visit of United States President Barack Obama to Jamaica.
Today we suggest what should be the tenor of his meeting with the leaders of Caricom [the Caribbean Community].
First of all, Caricom must be
aware that the president has already been fully briefed. Therefore, there is no
need to waste the little time available belaboring the obvious and the known.
Instead, spend the time telling President Obama what we are doing to help
We must remember that the United States is looking for
partners, not mendicants or dependents. Don't bring a begging bowl into the
meeting in Kingston. Instead of asking for a handout or debt cancellation,
focus on mobilizing private investment and converting the Caribbean
Basin Economic Recovery Act (which doesn't include services) into a trade deal
akin to the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.
Secondly, to warrant inclusion on the agenda of the sole
superpower, Caricom must identify and seek
cooperation on points of common interest. We note that energy and security are
expected to be on the agenda.
Seeking aid to deal with climate change may be a priority
for small-island developing states, but one is much more likely to elicit U.S.
interest if the issue of transnational crime, which has ravaged the Caribbean -
a region considered the fourth border of the United States -
is raised as part of the security discussion. There is far more common interest
in security issues and the ability to respond in terms of assets, information
Posted By Worldmeets.US
The energy issue is a natural one because of its vital
importance to both the United States and Caricom.
This is an area that for both commercial and geopolitical reasons the U.S. is
willing and eager to provide assistance. And it is especially urgent in the
event of serious changes in the [Venezuela-led] PetroCaribe
oil alliance, as Vice President Joe Biden recently urged. Don't beg, but do accept
forthcoming offers of U.S. assistance.
Third, the U.S. message to Caricom
and indeed countries like Greece and Argentina is that Jamaica is pursuing the
right kind of economic adjustments and that others should do the same. Obama's
visit is an endorsement of Jamaica's economic management and political courage.
Call it tough love, but such is regarded as a prerequisite for mobilizing
At the same time, the United States has to realize that
praise and hortatory remarks aren't bankable. America needs to roll out a
program of rewards of financial support and debt relief for those sticking to
the difficult task of reform as Jamaica has been doing.
Fourth, a group of small states can render valuable support
to a superpower. Caricom has good relations with Cuba
and Venezuela and could provide valuable diplomatic assistance on these issues,
which are likely to dominate the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
Obama's visit will be brief so Caricom
leaders shouldn't walk in with a long list as there won't be enough time to cover