CI News Round-up

Olympic track

News Round-Up (June edition)

  • Includes:
  • Caribbean diaspora investment challenge
  • Olympic news from London
  • Proposal for a new Caricom




Compete Caribbean


We’re not talking about the Olympics but the Caribbean investment programme currently being launched in London after unveiling  in the Caribbean, the US and Canada.



The initiative works in three ways – investment to link similar businesses in the Caribbean, funding and advice to link up a chain of different Caribbean producers from raw to finished product and an investment initiative for the Caribbean diaspora.


The latter product, being promoted in London in late June, aims to stimulate entrepreneurs of Caribbean origin to think about investing back home.


“We’re targeting first, second and third generations here,” says Melissa Martinez-Nadal, Co-ordinator of Caribbean Idea Marketplace.


The Compete Caribbean team are not worried about recession impacting on places where the diaspora are mainly based.


She told Caribbean Intelligence© that this makes it a good time for diaspora entrepreneurs to consider investing and extending their businesses back home.


“In difficult times, people get more creative,” she explained.


The Executive Director of Compete Caribbean Jose Jorge Saavedra said the diaspora-aimed Caribbean Idea Marketplace sought to “give a little push to get them (diaspora business people) into the Caribbean.”


The three-pronged initiative seeks to link up companies, expertise, technical assistance and funding to stimulate job and knowledge growth in the Caribbean.


The fund, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), British, Canadian and American funding has already received 800 bids for funding and technical advice.


The case for Republicanism


It was standing room only at a Jamaica at Fifty lecture held at the University of London.


Jamaican Judge Patrick Robinson, who presided at the International Criminal Court over the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević , delivered the lecture.


He told an audience of Jamaica diaspora, lawyers, politicians and diplomats that moving away from both monarchy and use of Britain’s Privy Council as the final appeal court “goes to the identity of self image of Jamaicans.”


He said that the management system of Jamaican athletics which had created more than natural talent should indicate to Jamaicans their sustained ability for national planning and management.


Justice Robinson described the move away from the monarchical system and from the Privy Council was the “natural and logical culmination of events in Jamaican and slave history.”


He added that Jamaicans needed to “develop our own institutions” including becoming a full part of the Caribbean final appeal court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Olympic venues '98% ready'
With less than two months to go before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, British officials have been hailing construction efforts at the Olympic village in London's East End.
Britan's Sport and Olympics Minister, Hugh Robertson, told reporters that the Games preparations were "in a very good place indeed".
Jamaica's colours remained the predominant ones in the promotional effort as officials unveiled Powerpoint presentations on the Games.
A large number of foreign media representatives attended the briefing on 13 June at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Foreign Ministry) in London's Whitehall area.
Mr Robertson announced that the Games were, with 44 days to go, "on time and within budget".
"It's not to say we are home and dry," he added.
A series of statistics on the Olympic Games preparation were rolled out: 98% ready, a £9.3bn budget, 46,000 workers on the Olympic Park area and an "exemplary" health and safety record with no fatalities to date.
The London Olympics preparation team is already holding "lessons learnt" discussions with officials from Rio de Janeiro, where the 2016 Olympics will be held.
Next, the joint team of government and Olympics planners aim to test "every single detail", including rigorous security preparations.
London is expecting to host 125 heads of state and 14,000 athletes from 205 nations in August.
The different media teams of governments involved have formed into a single government press office to deal with all media needs for the Olympics.
(Caribbean Intelligence© will be following the Olympics from inside the Olympic village and outside in the countdown to the Games.)
Trinis urged to open their homes for the Olympics
Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner to London, Gavin Nicholas, has asked Trinidadians to open up their homes to fellow Trinis for the London Olympics.
With the British capital city already predicting fit-to-bursting occupancy, Trinidad and Tobago is hoping to promote its 50th independence anniversary at the end of August with month-long celebrations in west London.
The TT Festival village will showcase Trini culture as the world descends on London for the Jubilee and Olympic events.
Mr Nicholas asked Trinidadians nationals at a gathering at the country's High Commission to "open your homes" to visiting performers.
"Make Trinidad and Tobago that neighbourly country that we know it used to be," he urged nationals in April. 
A new Caricom?
The former director of Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs), Victor Bulmer-Thomas, has asked whether it is time for the Caribbean to consider a new form of integration.
Mr Bulmer-Thomas headed Chatham House until 2006, then becoming visiting professor at Florida International University, working with London University's Institute for the study of the Americas and a director of the Caribbean Foundation.
His latest book charts an economic history of the Caribbean. Mr Bulmer-Thomas' presentation, Small countries, big issues: the Caribbean in the 21st Century, took place at Chatham House in May.
He outlined different models of integration from within and outside the region, including Caricom, the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), North America's Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and Venezuela's Alba, and asked whether it was time for new forms of integration in the Caribbean region.
Mr Bulmer-Thomas looked at how Caricom's mettle had been tested by its attempts to deal with foreign bauxite companies in the 1970s, its response to new world trade pacts in the 1980s and 1990s and its failure to stand up to multinationals such as cruise ship operators in the 21st Century.
"Then there is the problem of non-state actors, especially organised crime," Mr Bulmer-Thomas added.
"The regional institutions of the Caribbean, including Caricom and the Association of Caribbean States, have therefore not dealt effectively with the pressure emanating from outside - whether it has come from states, companies or non-state actors.
"It is not a question of the glass being half-full or half-empty - it is simply empty. This is the bald truth from which all analysis of the Caribbean must start."
He went on to outline options including the dissolution of Caricom, its deepening or widening and regional co-operation.

He told his Chatham House audience that could be no secure future for Caribbean integration unless it incorporated a country as important as Cuba, despite the obstacles to such a move.

Mr Bulmer-Thomas asked: "Can these obstacles be overcome? Not in the short run, but the obstacles could look very different in five years' time.
"And it will take at least that long for negotiations between the parties to bear fruit. So let them start now and see where they lead."
(Stories are copyright Caribbean Intelligence©)