London bridge is falling; will Scotland exit the UK? Jamaica exit CSME?
On September 18, the people of Scotland will vote whether or not to exit the United Kingdom. This is the oldest Union aka Single Market and Economy (SME) and Scottish leaders now feel the need for their own identity. Our leaders are going in the opposite direction and wish us to subsume our identity into a puny, poor Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). It will have MPs, tax us, determine foreign policy, and subject our economy to 'group-think'.
St Kitts is like Papine, and 12 members whose combined population does not exceed ours have one vote each just like our 2.8m. Is this fair? CSME is Caribbean in name only; English islands which copy British divide and rule tactics. Scotland may soon be on the Olympic leaderboard; can you see Usain Bolt in lights as CSME champion? Remember the USSR? Members reclaimed their identities and now Russia is in the Olympics solo. Why do Cabinets want union with distant small islands yet have no interest in one with nearby big islands Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. They refuse the DR entry to CSME...why? Every nigger is a star and maybe they want to be Busha.
Scotland has been pressing for freedom. The United Kingdom had 10 referendums since 1973, one for Northern Ireland leaving the Union and two on Scotland -- 1979 and 1997. We were not consulted on CSME; a flagrant violation of our rights -- who cares? Norman Manley may be turning and Bustamante would not have allowed it. The Scots are great people; Robert the Bruce King and hero, pop stars Lulu, Sheena Easton, actor Sean Connery, John Knox preacher, Robert Burns poet, Adam Smith economist, James Watt steam engine inventor.
At the Commonwealth Games no one told us. The UK is a good union and Scottish education is best -- ask our medical fellows, and unlike England it's free from cradle to grave, but people want their own voice as "man shall not live by bread alone". Our Cabinets cede our voice to CSME and no one asks "Why is Guyana my capital; why did we not prosper as other members?" Look out for the CSME parliament. Scotland is joined by land to the UK and do well but they want freedom. A single economy with EC states can't prosper us. Their dollar is strong as 40 years ago; ours is trash.
There are the two sides to the referendum. The "Yes Scotland" supported by the nationalists (SNP), Socialist and Green Party. On the "Better Together" side are the Labour, Conservative and Lib Democrat parties. Any resident British, Commonwealth or EU citizen over 16 years can vote. The UK agreed to assist Scotland have a "fair, legal and decisive" referendum. Will CSME assist us? The question put by the Electoral Commission is: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" The vote: Yes or No. The 800k diaspora in England have no vote. The British agreed that by simple majority. Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiation.
In our case CSME need not detain us as we got nothing and gave much. Scotland has 4.1 million and gets farm subsidy of some GB£600m -- why leave? CSME offers us no subsidy of any sort, let's leave. CSME is insecure and calls everything "Caribbean" (bank, disaster agency, etc). Yet, we English are a minority (15 per cent) and do not serve the Caribbean. Soon Georgetown will rebrand the UWI and the cricket team. CSME bought into the French, Spanish, English divide. Yet those powers have put divisions away and are in an EU of many languages. The West Indies are the most recidivist of slave states and we have taken the imperialist mantle. God forgive us!
Why did Marti, Bolivar and Maceo come for refuge in Jamaica? We are neighbours. We have no such history with the Eastern Caribbean. We have natural link with our neighbours, but CSME would have us go the English way. When our people sought work they did not go to Trinidad's pitch lake; Goudron, Iacos; Point Lisas, oil, gas or steel works; but to the DR, Panama and Guantanamo close by, and spoke Spanish. Our natural movement was as the Tainos. Mr Clarke began his journeys in Cuba, not Barbados, and returned as Alexander Bustamante, not Barrow. Our serial Cabinets fail to read intuitive history.
A SME of Central America, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, etc, is good as they know our people, our work ethic, and we have grandsons in their parliaments. Not so Trinidad or Guyana. This Cabinet must be a watershed on CSME. We need to push the JLP and PNP to take a stand. We are pro-Caricom, with its soft cooperation, but wish to exit the CSME as we must control our economic future. Let's court the Bolivarian republics; the Marti, Duarte and Maceo inspired states? The countries where our people worked, died of malaria, and brought us credit. Follow the footprint of Marcus Garvey; Kingston to Merida, Havana, Port au Prince, Santo Domingo, all in an hour.
In 40 years of Caricom/CSME not one boatload or planeload of poor Jamaicans went into the EC or to the capital. Our poor go to South and North America, to the Antilles as well to make a better life; but never to Guyana, Trinidad or Barbados. We voted with our feet. Let's take action now. We must upgrade diplomatic and trade missions in Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Florida. The JMA and C of C must follow. The manifest destiny of our economy is with our neighbours.
The UWI, and moreso Mona, must become a tri-lingual campus with 70 million plus Spanish and French speakers nearby. Mona must lead the way into a vibrant Antilles SME and set up campuses in Haiti, DR, Cuba, USA and Puerto Rico. I am sure the indefatigable Lorna Parkins CEO of CAAM-HP will facilitate the international accreditation. St Augustine campus must become the intellectual entrepot for Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil in a bi-lingual campus. These would assure the viability of the UWI, which will then be truly the "University of the Caribbean".
The Church is crucial in our campaign to exit CSME and regain freedom. The defining issue for the church in this generation is not to bash gay people but to exit a failed CSME Union and enable us to exalt God as he prospers our land. If you know nothing of CSME demand information! What of CSME financials, taxes, parliament; why should a dozen small states control us; what's the endgame? Where are Jamaicans For Justice when we need justice for Jamaicans?
The goal of CSME is Federation, and this defies the logic of geography. What CSME ships and aircraft are there to bridge the ocean between us and the EC? -- "Figget it!" Why do we not travel daily to Hispaniola and Cuba as the Tainos? Because the British set the imperial template and our neo-imperialist leaders are still under their spell.
The Scots are a proud, educated, thoughtful people; we must copy their example. Let's wish them well in their referendum and let's add a question to our 2016 ballot "Should Jamaica exit the CSME?" Stay conscious, my friend.
Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education. email@example.com