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Trinidad's Oil and Gas 'boom'
Posted: Sunday, January 30, 2005

Re: When life, and not just carnival, is a gas

Posted by: Fyahman

What are the implications for Caricom?

Posted by: Ayanna

I think first of all we have to look at the effect of this on ordinary Black Trinidadians. Like with most avenues for wealth and so-called prosperity, only tokens filter through all sectors of the society. Most Blacks and Indians in Trinidad and Tobago are still poor despite what they hear in the media and from the politicians about wealth.

As you see already from the article, foreign magnates are already quite entrenched here in the oil sector, especially so in the oil sector. As a result the new oil boom Trinidad is supposed to be experiencing already creates more layers of power, additional business and political interests for the wealth to siphon through before it ever reaches the ordinary person. Our leaders do still accept bogus western policies that are more about profits going to these foreign interests and their local white agents.

You may have heard about the Caribbean Single Market & Economy(CSME) initiative, a more defined trading block that is to promote free movement, goods and employment throughout the member community, which is most of the already existing CARICOM membership. Many leaders in the Caribbean have similar attitudes and a fear of challenging US and European hegemony. If we look at the way CARICOM's stance on Aristide's kidnapping and the Haitian coup fell apart in the face of U.S pressure you can get a good example. The CSME has all the potential to be a block to serve America's interest and to increase the wealth of the white corporate magnates.

While there are a few smaller countries that do seem to be more concerned about the need for stronger Caribbean autonomy especially after witnessing how easy it was for Aristide to be ousted with the uncaring of the international community, the main power blocks do not seem to be.

Fortunately the power struggles between many of the larger islands and the lack of real concern by them for the smaller islands may mean that they are no way close to forming an alliance around those neo-colonialist ideas. If these leaders continue to be more interested in appeasing western powers and wanting personal kingly status, then we are not fundamentally changing anything.

In my opinion, a firmer political union in the Caribbean region can be an excellent buffer against US aggression and imperialism especially given the friendly relations between them, Cuba and Venezuela. But it can only work for any real good when it is part of a wider growing awareness and power of ordinary people, but certainly not in the way that the politicians have envisioned it. With any luck the leaders may go ahead and feel they are doing something while ordinary people will get a wider pool of employment and community building opportunities in the other Caribbean countries to trade ideas on how to dismantle the system. That kind of collaboration and awareness can produce the type of mass uprisings needed to break western hegemony.

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