Published On: Thu, Sep 25th, 2014

Treasure island trouble

dekker_0International economic developments indicated that the Caribbean region grew by an average of 1.5% in 2013, up slightly from a revised figure of 1.2% for 2012. The slight recovery has not nearly made up for the dramatic plunge in GDP, since 2008, of 5-10%. Economic growth in the Caribbean lagged seriously behind, only organized crime on all levels of society showed dramatic growth. Why Caribbean islands have so miserably failed to create security and wealth for their people, is the question. What makes Caribbean society susceptible to crime-friendly regimes bent on destroying islands’ social fabric of wellbeing and welfare?

No one suggests that the Caribbean, as a people, lack talent or suffer from some pathological antipathy to morality or industriousness. But their continued economic misfortune creeps into the smallest extremities like an aggressive malignant cancer.

The very moment Caribbean populist politicians are elected to power; they all resort to wildly extravagant spending on private luxury, mostly vaguely disguised as public interest projects. And often, with their entire entourage of friends and family, they attend esoteric conferences around the world in exotic locations. Acceptance by civil servants and politicians, the sycophants of the powerful, of nacro- graft further facilitates wide spread money laundering, hand-in-hand with gross moral deterioration.

Moral leaders in the Caribbean have taken a leave of absence for decades. So, who is to judge and correct misconduct? Certainly not the electorate, as they are bedazzled by the glitter-lifestyle of their political leaders. Many of the electorate elite line up diligently and wait their turn of lavish licentious spending.

To nobody’s surprise, French’ and Britain’s Caribbean dependencies and the rest of the Caribbean in its wake, continue to be hurt by economic stagnation. Sagging revenues from the tourist dollar and public sector profligacy remain the underlying causes; corruption by the narco-industry does the rest.

Reversing the process would be easy if the corrupt elite were ready to change its deceitful behavior; the lip service it pays today is far insufficient. Implementing a pan-Caribbean system of financial checks and balances would dramatically limit money laundering options and benefit welfare and well being of the entire Caribbean basin. France and Great Britain should take the lead, disregarding strong postcolonial sentiments, and clean up their god-forgotten West Indie back waters.

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