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Thread: USVI makes bid for Caricom

  1. #1
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    Default USVI makes bid for Caricom

    June 28, 2005


    MIAMI - Gov. Charles Turnbull said Monday that the U.S. Virgin Islands is asking the White House for permission to join Caricom, a regional decision-making body for Caribbean island nations.

    Currently, the U.S. Virgin Islands is not a part of Caricom and does not participate in its meetings or programs.

    Turnbull alluded to the territory's plan to join the regional group while speaking at a Caribbean Heads of Government Forum at the annual Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference.

    He joined government dignitaries from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Grenada, Netherlands Antilles, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos Islands in a discussion of the Caribbean Single Market Economy, an ongoing initiative that will facilitate free trade among the island nations. Turnbull said: "The U.S. Virgin Islands does not yet have a formal role in Caricom, so our involvement will be limited - at least for the short term." He did not elaborate in the public forum.

    Later in the day, Turnbull told The Daily News that the territory has petitioned the U.S. State Department for approval to play a greater role in Caricom.

    "We have applied for permission to become part of Caricom," Turnbull said. "We would like to gain voting status. We have a petition with the State Department to at least gain observer status within the organization so we can be engaged in the discussions."

    Turnbull said that membership in Caricom would enable the territory to have a say in key regional issues.

    "We are a part of the Caribbean. If the Caribbean is going to move ahead, we are all going to have to join together," Turnbull said. "Membership in Caricom will give us the advantage of interaction with other countries in buying and selling products, facilitating movement of capital and sharing resources and information."

    The application was submitted one year ago. A decision was delayed, Turnbull said, because of turnover among leaders in the Bush administration at the start of the president's second term.

    "We were told we will find out by the end of this year," Turnbull said.

    Established in 1973 by Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, Caricom's predecessors were the Caribbean Free Trade Association and, earlier, the West Indies Federation.

    Membership is open to any state or territory of the Caribbean region. The decision to admit a new member is made by the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom.

    Caricom members are Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

    Associate members are Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and the Caicos Islands, all of which are British territories. Associate membership includes the right to attend meetings of the Conference of Heads of Government and the Community Council of Ministers, as well as the right to participate but not vote in certain deliberations.

    Members and associate members benefit from a wealth of Caricom programs that assist nations in economic development, employment, diplomacy and trade with non-member countries, education, health, transportation and telecommunications.

    On a case-by-case basis, non-member island states and territories may also be granted observer status, in which they may participate in certain agenda items but may not vote.

    In 1989, Caricom made a decision to create a Caribbean Single Market Economy to compete with emerging trading blocs and the development of the Free Trade Areas of the Americas. The single market is described as "an enlarged economic space created through removal of restrictions and resulting in the free movement of goods, services, persons, capital and technology." Among other provisions, the single market will confer on Caribbean nationals the right to establish a business in any Caricom member state.

    The plan calls for establishing a unified economy by Jan. 1, 2006.


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    Last edited by Bahama Mama; June 30, 2005 at 10:56 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: USVI makes bid for Caricom

    Hmm.....would this have any implications on the sovereignty of the US over them? Hence the delay?
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    Default Re: USVI makes bid for Caricom

    I dont see this process moving one foot. The goals of Caricom, the soon to be established CSME, and that of the US are too antagonistic. I doubt the US will give one of its territories that kind of political power, since it can intice them to seek independance. I wonder what US Virgin Islanders feel about this move?
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    Default Re: USVI makes bid for Caricom

    Quote Originally Posted by Bahama Mama
    I dont see this process moving one foot. The goals of Caricom, the soon to be established CSME, and that of the US are too antagonistic. I doubt the US will give one of its territories that kind of political power, since it can intice them to seek independance. I wonder what US Virgin Islanders feel about this move?

    Thats exactly what i was alluding to. It seemed like a catalyst to seek independence and I really don't see the US giving up any form of power....and the applaication will just be passed from admisintration to administration......unless USVI become really proactive and force the issue.
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    Default Re: USVI makes bid for Caricom

    Then again I was reading in the forum from which I got the story that Caricom may not benefit from this relationship, simply because their economical and trading abilites is not strong and stable enough at this time, even if they were to gain independance.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: USVI makes bid for Caricom

    Or look at this another way. It could be the US that is pushing the USVI to become apart of Caricom so they can use them to push their own agendas.

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    Default Re: USVI makes bid for Caricom

    Quote Originally Posted by AngelsKiss
    Or look at this another way. It could be the US that is pushing the USVI to become apart of Caricom so they can use them to push their own agendas.
    I agree,There is huge sentiment in the States that would like to divest themselves of the USVI and Puerto Rico,as they are too much of a non-paying tax burden.Your theory could be correct.

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