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Forum: Gouyave Talk
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Re: Beyond The Paint,The Belvidare of Central Depradine Street

St. Paul, Sah!

Taking a retrospective view of the circumstances that may had propelled Sir. Gairy into the role of a nationalist leader, begs to ask the poignant question which I implied in my initial piece. Why him and no other? given the exploitative economic conditions of the quasi Slaving of our people that existed at the time. I am of the opinion that the simplistic view of Gairy that was adopted among his opponents in Grenada was an accomodation of appeasement by the few in the " Petit Bourgeois Class" who had chosen the role of least resistance to placate the established order. It was a clear example of "tribal dissonance" disguised as retaining one's national identity that played into the collapse of the Federation. So today we are discussing the fallout, which has become our inability to shape our individual national economic identity in the absence of a more unified "United States of the Caribbean"; a lost opportunity.

Reading your piece, it became more clear that the failed efforts of our Caribbean Federation in 1962 was indeed the most devastating decision to impact our people and remained so to this day. In the interest of retaining our individual national identity, It left us exposing all our political, social and ecomomic vulnerabilities in a controlled market that demanded the efforts of joint partnership in order to be competitive.

But to the central issue of your economic philosophy expressed in your rebuttal, where, said you, (Paraphrasing here with improvisations)..... we should focus on commanding better prices for our products from the world's controlling powers that be; an effort you believe to be an impediment to our transitioning forward, there is a fundamental truism that needs to be addressed here.

At the risk of being declared personae non gratae, let us be honest with ourselves for a moment and recognize the fact that our Grenada's economic position in the world is that of a microscopic consumption economy. We are restricted by four of the major qualifiers that determine a country's ability to control the prices of their products. They are Necessity, Quantity, Quality and Market. If one was to apply these principles against any of our products, it would become clear that we would not be sitting at "the table of discussions as holders of a strong hand". Any politician running who adopts this as part of their manifesto would undoubtly receive thunderous applauses (ah la Comrade Bishop and Coard) from the audiance but in reality it is only the gravitas we may have.

Credit must be given to our Prime Minister and Doctor, The Right Honorable Keith Mitchell for recognizing this very early in his political career. But at the end of the day, we must first position ourselves to answer the following questions:

"Are there any special characteristics of our products that we can use to demand our inclusion into the  decision making circle?

What can we use as leverage in order to lay claim to that seat at the pricing table?

Do we have an economic survivability index strong enough to support the exclusion of our products from the market?

I am sure you are beginning to see the picture much clearer now! It is the harsh reality we must face in order to perform in a global market and we do not have to look too far for an example of this. The Trinidad experience with oil is a prime one and they can only meet two of the qualifiers, Necessity and Market and  they are fifteen times larger than we are. Therefore investing political capital on this would be an exercise in futility. Again! nice idea, sounds good without a doubt but restricted by smallness. Singularly, we cannot meet any of these requirements but a West Indian/Caribbean Federation with over one million square miles could have changed all of this.

Now, should we therefore conclude that the retaining of national identity among small countries creates a chasm of impediment to economic growth in a global economy thus designating them only as consumption economies? Maybe this was the conclusion Barbados came to realize over a half century ago when we were on par with them but now, they have left us in their dust!

Monsieur Louison from the French Quarters