Phillips: Region under threat from anti-migration policies

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Opposition Leader and People's National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips told the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) 80th annual conference here on he weekend that the vision and reality of Caribbean progress are under threat from anti-migration policies in the global economic centres.

The Opposition leader said the region must take serious note of the re-emergence of antimigration policies, all of which would affect the region as countries that have benefited from global migration.

“The doctrines which support a revival of military interventionism threaten small countries like ours,” Dr Phillips said to resounding applause.

“We have no armies, no leverage available to match the great trading centres and powers of the world; our people can only hope and dream of development in a world bolstered by the rule of law, and not by might. Our only beneficial course is to support the rule of international law,” he said.

Dr Phillips said the push-back against the reality of climate change, the evidence of the re-emergence of ideologies and policies which seek to reverse the open and free global trading system, combined with a pattern of unilateralism replacing multilateralism in the exercise of trade policies, are amongst some of our concerns in the region.

“Caribbean development has been threatened by, and in fact, is now prolonged due to the economic crisis of 2008,” said Phillips. He pointed to the global recession, which left the Caribbean bludgeoned by declining earnings from tourism and mineral exports, commodity exports and unfair trading.

In the case of Jamaica and Barbados, he pointed out that high debt, declining incomes, and rising crime were major forces opposing our advancement. “There is probably no other region in the world where the crisis was as widespread or its effects as prolonged as it was in the Caribbean,” he lamented.

“The IMF programmes which extended from Saint Kitts in the east through Antigua, Grenada, and Jamaica were necessary to address the economic fallout. Some territories, including Guyana, benefited from debt forgiveness, and we are now seeing Barbados being the latest economy being forced to conclude/negotiate global support with the IMF,” the PNP president posited to the BLP conference.”

According to Dr Phillips, the Caribbean is facing its most serious challenge yet since independence, which is a combination of the economic challenges arising from the restructuring of the world economy and resulting from the emergence of the new power centres, and the seeming abandonment of multiculturalism.

He told the audience that with no debt forgiveness in sight, the region must manage well its resources.

“Managing these resources will require a great revival of the national spirit and a rededication to the principles of our movements which inspired our founding leaders. It will require a new determination to pay the price necessary so that we can make our own decisions on the progress and survival of the region. It will require a recommitment to the essential principles of social progress — the philosophy on which both our parties originated.”

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