Statement on the Caribbean

Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Kingston, Jamaica, 1-2 September 2000

The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (SICLAC), meeting in Kingston, in relation to the theme "Giving Priority to People and Promoting Solidarity in Global Change" addressed issues of particular concern to the Caribbean, together with representatives of political parties of these countries, and noted a number of issues:

1. With the advent of globalisation and the dominance of the market economy, there is urgent need for the recognition of the special problems faced by small/micro states, if they are to benefit from the opportunities presented by growth in the global economy. These include but are not limited to:

  • Sudden shocks from the world economic system related to unregulated and increased flows of short-term capital.
  • Threats to the offshore financial industry in a number of countries from regulations imposed by the OECD countries, which will undermine the comparative advantage which these countries previously enjoyed.
  • Vulnerability to crime which is now organised globally, involving the trafficking of illegal weapons and drugs, and which is a threat to democracy, and stable social and community relations.
  • The terms of trade faced by small banana producing countries of the region which threaten the foundations and future prospects of their economic development.
  • Vulnerability to natural disasters which have the potential to destroy the social and economic infrastructure of these countries.
  • Modern communications technology which challenges the cultural norms and practices, as well as the cultural authenticity of Caribbean peoples.

2. The meeting noted with concern the action taken by the European Union, which now restricts the entry of critical exports from Curaçao and Aruba, which are Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union, and recommends that full support be given to the requests by these countries for the appropriate kinds of technical support that will help to develop alternative economic activities.

3. The representatives agreed that as an international organisation, the SI is uniquely placed to promote solidarity with and support for the concerns of small and micro states at the global level, as one way of ensuring that the needs and aspirations of the peoples of the Caribbean are not isolated or further marginalised by developments in the global economy. The group is calling on the SI to intensify these efforts.

4. The representatives acknowledged the need for Caribbean political parties to promote and maintain regular and effective communication; to develop strategies that will lead to the region acting in unison, and assist in shaping the global processes that currently determine policy options at both national and international levels.

5. The representatives also acknowledged the obligation of individual Caribbean states to promote and maintain the practice of good governance within their own countries, as well as the effective economic management of their resources.

6. With respect to the situation in Haiti, it was agreed that the region needed to be vigilant about political developments in this country, as a serious threat to the democratic process exists.

7. The participants also congratulated Aruba for offering to host a next SICLAC meeting and offered their full support in this regard.

Participants from the Caribbean included representatives from Aruba, Curaçao, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Jamaica.

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