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How significant that the United States has inflicted itself with a financial wound so grotesque and debilitating that it will never fully recover. With big numbers get thrown around like they are nothing these days—a $140 billion tax refund here, an $85 billion bailout there. America must be one rich country. But America is not rich. It’s broke!

This US financial fallout will seriously affected financial markets around the worldwide and there will almost certainly be a trickle down effect on the already weak Dominican economy and throughout the Caribbean.

This will have negative implications on countries like Dominica – whose tourism and agriculture are linked to the fortunes of developed nations. Tourism is dependent of the volume of tourists and their spending power. Agriculture on the other hand is linked to trade agreement based largely on the interests of developed economies.

It is time we stop and evaluate this likely impact on Dominica and plan a way forward that is in the best interest for Dominica. It is obvious that the sustenance of the Banana industry is handing on by a threat and Tourism is struggling under the effects of high energy prices and airline travel.

Dominica needs to seek greater economies of scale, like the organization of Eastern Caribbean states (OECS) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). In this context, it is in Dominica’s best interests to move quickly and path any conflict-ridden movements affecting the CSME or the OECS.

The only cushion to this trickle down effect would be the degree of unity among the Caribbean countries, and Dominica should run to the front of the line to enhance and sustain its economy.

Your Opinion: What do you think Dominica should do to curb this U.S. financial fallout?

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 historic buildings in Roseau

Your Dominica morning news roundup for Friday September 26th 2008:

Let me start this brew by apologizing for not being able to post the regular “Morning Brew” – reason: serious headache.

After winning three regional titles, the latest being the Miss Caribbean World pageant in Tortola, British Virgin Islands last Saturday. The Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) has taken a decision to name the VIP section at the 11th Annual World Creole Music Festival after Dominica’s reigning Carnival Queen Marah Walter.

The DFC sure knows how to treat a Queen – hmmm… let’s just name the VIP after her. Note to DFC – monetary prizes are also welcome.

According to the CPI report, Dominica is still on Corrupt Countries list. Dominica came in 33 with a 6.0 score out of the 180 nationals survey globally. Countries with scores less than five out of ten indicate a serious corruption problem. Well I’m guessing it’s safe to say that Dominica is on the brink of “Serious Corruption”.

Question: Is this the type corruption brought about by our officials in public office this report is talking about?

Twenty students from the Dominica State College are among the first batch of sixty (60) university students to be trained on how to identify and develop a response to opportunities within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The objective is to engage the next generation in the Caribbean in identifying career opportunities in the field with regard to wage employment, self- employment and starting a business within the CSME.

In my personal opinion CSME is all talk – and the field promotion in Jamaica is a perfect example. Most of the CARICOM countries are years away from being CMSE ready.

National E-Business Incubator on the Brink to Foster Great Entrepreneurs in Dominica, and is seek to transform inventive ideas, start ups and pledging businesses into sustainable enterprises which will be equipped to compete internationally.

Commissioner of Police told the press that together with the Minister of National Security there will be zero tolerance of any kidnapping here in Dominica or persons setting up road blocks. The police also announced that two of the men responsible for a recent kidnapping incident were taken into custody by the Dominica Police Force.

Take note lawbreakers – Dominica is maybe the only place in the world where someone get sent-away for 25-30 years for kidnapping and setting up road blocks.

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Last week, Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago accompanied by Prime Minister Tillman Thomas of Grenada, visited Dominica to brief local political leaders on a new initiative for deeper integration among four Caribbean countries.

At a meeting on August 14 in Port of Spain, the leaders of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia launched an initiative aimed at collaboration towards the Achievement of a Single Market and Economy and Political Integration and Regional Air Transportation.

It is not yet clear if the new Single Market and Economy proposed by these four states would fit into or run at the side of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), to which all four islands have binding commitments. However, the four pioneers say they intend to establish a single economy by 2011 and political integration by 2013.

Indeed, while the proponents of the new initiative invite membership of all CARICOM states, they assert that no initiative associated with the implementation of their joint declaration would undermine the CSME or economic cohesion established by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

This break-off faction has clear implications for the wider regional integration process. In the first place, it implies a move towards a more uneven process in which a cadre moves in concert while the rest move at different paces. A union within a union could change the dynamic of the CSME dramatically and plunge it into a fog of uncertainty.

In addition, the new initiative seeks appropriate political integration, but the advocates have not yet defined this precisely. Does this amalgamation intend to move towards a single political process with unified political leadership within the union’s political space? This would seriously impact the self-determination of individual members.

Proponents of the new initiative claim that it would not affect the CSME negatively, but it is hard to see how they can maintain this line of reasoning if the movement mushrooms. The initiative invites membership of all CARICOM nations and if they all join, it is hard to see how the initiative could co-exist with CARICOM and the CSME.

This possibility has already brought a sharp response. The Jamaican government has adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach saying, “The decision of some CARICOM countries to establish a political union has implications for the structure and, indeed, the future of CARICOM.” Clearly, leaders of the region must resolve the issue quickly and decisively.

There is another troubling concern. Prime Minister Manning has a long history of initiating various political unions in the Caribbean. Many of his critics say this reflects his ambition to lead the region by virtue of being leader of the most economically privileged nation in the region.

Some also claim that Manning’s initiatives are based on a lifelong goal to dilute the political power of the East Indian community in his native land. According to this allegation, Manning wants economic and political unions with predominantly African states to thin out the economic and political power of the Indians outside the main support base of his political party.

The advocates of the new initiative would have to work hard and talk fast to dispel suspicions that it is a mere tool of Manning’s vaulting personal ambitions, or a facade for a future Trinidad and Tobago hegemony. They will also have to specify what this initiative will accomplish that cannot be achieved within established regional agreements.

This Article was published in the Editorial section of the Chronicle Newspaper – August 29, 2008

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