Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SAARC Lives!

Heard some thirty minutes ago news on the BBC Worldservice about the 16th SAARC Summit.

The reporter cited the internecine conflict between Pakistan and India as being one of the main reasons for the lack of progress of SAARC. Which, in my view, is regrettable, considering this is its 25th year of existence.
I am happy to have heard news of it on no less than the BBC, and I am also equally encouraged to hear that SAARC is working hard on climate change.

Other reports suggest that the regional body is considering a regional mechanism that would explicitly deal with climate. There seem to be other positive regional developments--most of which will be the subject of future posts.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

CARICOM Hits the (Financial Crisis) Fan?

What, is this  kind of time warp or something? Why is it now that the financial crisis is unravelling in the CARICOM region?

Well, if this article is anything to go by, CARICOM is in for some bit of trouble: it's heading towards bankruptcy:

"The Caribbean regional trade bloc Caricom is heading for "bankruptcy" with many islands unable to pay debts and cover costs, Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo warned on Friday.

"The region is heading towards bankruptcy, if countries could be declared bankrupt," he said at a press conference.

Jagdeo, a Soviet-educated economist, heads a task force of the 15-nation Caribbean Community set up to look at ways the region can address the impact of the global financial crisis."

If this is true, then it means that CARICOM probably has an existential crisis on its hands that finds expression in how it has to source funds to compensate for the adverse effects of the crisis on its economies.

Financial services and tourism revenue have dropped, so the article maintains, but what is really pernicious is the fact that no less than the World Trade Organisation (Robert Zoellick) is stepping in to assist the region.

Is the region in for more of the old medecine of neo-liberalism and privatisation?

Perhaps CARICOM better quickly hurry up and consult other regional blocs for guidance?