Caribbean Governance the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis

Topics: Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Community Pages: 16 (6097 words) Published: November 23, 2011

The importance of an efficient and effective Caribbean in the delivery of economic and social development is a long-standing theme of development policy. This however has not always been the case and the result is a Caribbean repeating past mistakes and compromising in some cases the theme of the development strategy. Global recession has consistently tested the resolve of the Caribbean and to this end there is a need to address the factors that have consistently led to the economic decline of the island states. This paper examines the recent experience of the Commonwealth Caribbean in dealing with the current Global economic crisis with a particular focus on Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. It begins by examining the signs and the effect on each island. The paper then identifies five key issues that have emerged as factors contributing to and needing the attention of the heads in order to ameliorate against an occurrence in the future: regionalism, integration, transparency and governance are examined as being overarching themes the fundamental problems are dealt with individually within the essay. In each case the background to its contribution to the problem is given along with the solution to the problem. A history examining the recession as a new phenomenon and by extention unprecedented is assessed. The paper concludes by discussing one key dimension of the global economic crisis experience: globalisation and the importance of politics in promoting and sustaining a successful relationship with the rest of the world. The final section sums up the main points.

The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author (Jepter Lorde) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus or its Board of Directors and/or Board of Governors. It is a fact that the world economy is facing the worst financial crisis since the great depression. It can be argued the crisis is taking place at a time when Caribbean countries are grappling with over arching themes of structural adjustment, transparency and governance as well as globalisation, integration and regionalism issues indicating a Caribbean challenged. It is clear that these reoccurring themes are a reflection of the global economic situation and can threaten to reverse the few gains made by the region in recent years. The general consensus therefore is that the near unprecedented period of national recession currently being experienced in English and non English speaking Caribbean islands should be confronted with bold, swift and concerted actions to reduce the potential negative effects of the crisis on these developing states. ECLAC or The Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean clearly articulates five main channels of impact or signs that can serve as lead indicators to the crisis they are financial contagion, excessive external borrowing, and reduction in foreign direct investment, external demand reduction of goods and services, reduced workers’ remittances as well as changes in relative prices (particularly commodity prices). It is the position of this essay that the present situation is not unprecedented, this essay will seek to clearly identify the signs of the crisis and the corollary effects, as previously articulated by ECLAC, while at the same time outlining the factors that account for the exposure of the national state to this current state of affairs. Attention will be paid to three Caribbean islands where the issues are current and dynamic; they are Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

In order to clearly identify the signs of the crisis it would be intuitive at this time to contextualise the framework within which the essay is structured; the contributing key terms are global recession, crisis and unprecedented. Global recession is widely accepted and can only be confirmed if GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth is negative for a period of two or more consecutive...
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