Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Letter to The Editor - Trinidad Express: CSME

Bring ordinary folk into CSME foldTuesday
October 24th 2006

I am a concerned Jamaican. I am concerned that with the advent of the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) the governments of the Caribbean have failed to plan our way forward, glossing over the details and intricacies that the merger of Caribbean will bring. This initiative is the only way forward for the region but, we must examine its social ramifications. The governments have only examined the CSME and Caricom in terms of economies and broad macro policies that don't exactly reach to the average Joe, and don't exactly have clear manifestations in everyday life and reality.

This has occurred mostly because of the lack of media attention and government initiatives to stimulate awareness in the broader cross-section of society. Such an awareness can generate ideas for opportunities in business and education, opportunities for individuals to explore and generate ideas beyond those that propagate the myth that USA is the land of opportunity and the only option for feasible living and generation of wealth.

Integration can only become sustainable if individuals see benefit to it; it can only function if we capture the imagination of individuals whom the society and government rely on to keep the wheels turning - John Public.

Most members of the public know very little, if any, about the societies, the mores, the norms, the values, ideas and cultures we are about to meld and mesh with.

We are more exposed to North American media than we are to Caribbean media; we need regional newspapers that come out regularly and frequently, we need TV (beyond the efforts of HYPETV and Tempo) to carry messages and ideas from around the Caribbean to us, to expose us to the variations in terms of language, ideology and ethos. We need to see more of our Caribbean neighbours in order to awaken us to the new possibilities, cultures and opportunities that lie before us. We need to also explore Caribbean radio, a vector that can ignite or further ignite the musical interactions occurring across the region. We also need further interaction in sports, not just cricket and football.

Governments need to set up cultural exchange programmes for everyday people, not diplomats and such - exchange programmes like sending students, both rural and urban, prep and primary, to other islands to experience schooling there. Children are the future, and if we are to have a joint Caribbean future, we ought to start with the children.

The need to energise the social dimensions of Caribbean integration must come soon or we may fail economically, because at the end of the day an economy, for all the maths and models, can't exist without the human factor.

Yannick Nesta Pessoa
via email


1 comment:

Mad Bull said...

The thing is, if it isn't about music, will the people watch it? Are you sure they won't simply change the channels to watch U.S. TV? I hope not still, but I don't know...