The West Indies Federation would have been in the best interest of the region

Inquistive

New member
The West Indies Federation, also known as the Federation of the West Indies, was a short-lived political union that existed from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962. Various islands in the Caribbean that were colonies of the United Kingdom, including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and those on the Leeward and Windward Islands, came together to form the Federation, with its capital in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The expressed intention of the Federation was to create a political unit that would become independent from Britain as a single state—possibly similar to the Canadian Confederation, Australian Commonwealth, or Central African Federation; however, before that could happen, the Federation collapsed due to internal political conflicts. The territories of the federation eventually became the nine contemporary sovereign states of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago; with Anguilla, Montserrat, the Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands becoming British overseas territories.


Instead of this succumbing to anything, pride got in the way of prosperity. Many of the problems the region faces today could had been resolved if this would have come into full existence.
 

robblaten

New member


Instead of this succumbing to anything, pride got in the way of prosperity. Many of the problems the region faces today could had been resolved if this would have come into full existence.
I really do not understand this position. It is one taken by many regional commentators, from Ronald Sanders to Norman Girvan. But what none of them explains is HOW? How would being part of a regional grouping with a combined economy and population the size of Ecuador be in the interest of a group of competing economies that are essentially integrated into the world economy?

Small size is maybe the best thing we have going for us in this region. Small, open economies simply do not stand to benefit from economic integration.

The OECD, in my opinion, is the optimal kind of integration and is the only such grouping in our region that has succeeded and will continue to do so. Maybe Barbados + OECD would work. But the rest of us are best off going it alone.
 

Inquistive

New member
I really do not understand this position. It is one taken by many regional commentators, from Ronald Sanders to Norman Girvan. But what none of them explains is HOW? How would being part of a regional grouping with a combined economy and population the size of Ecuador be in the interest of a group of competing economies that are essentially integrated into the world economy?

Small size is maybe the best thing we have going for us in this region. Small, open economies simply do not stand to benefit from economic integration.

The OECD, in my opinion, is the optimal kind of integration and is the only such grouping in our region that has succeeded and will continue to do so. Maybe Barbados + OECD would work. But the rest of us are best off going it alone.

1. It means currency stability. The whole region would share the same currency. This means all of the participating countries would enjoy the same purchasing and import power.

2. Free movement of people. This would allow the free movement of migrants within the region without the hassle of restrictive immigration.

3. Closer ties with Canada and Europe or perhaps the US. This won't bar people from freely traveling to the world's dominate regions.
 

robblaten

New member
1. It means currency stability. The whole region would share the same currency. This means all of the participating countries would enjoy the same purchasing and import power.

2. Free movement of people. The would allow the free movement of migrants within the region without the hassle of restrictive immigration.

3. Closer ties with Canada and Europe or perhaps the US. This won't bar people from freely traveling to the world's dominate regions.
1. The OECD has achieved currency stability on its own through sharing monetary policy and thereby enforcing a kind of fiscal discipline. Barbados, the Bahamas and Belize have achieved stability through the US dollar peg. Others have failed to do so, but there is no evidence that making them operate as a larger political unit will make them behave with any more discipline on the fiscal side. No offence to Guyana, but I certainly would not want to share a currency with it.

2. Free movement. This will always be controversial as the populations of wealthier members will rightly fear the strain on their development and wage suppression that large scale immigration will lead to. Best to leave it to the discretion of each state which immigrants to accept, based on that state's need. Interestingly, the Bahamas has the most restrictive immigration policy and is not a signatory to CSME, yet has more CSME residents working withiin its borders of all Caricom states.

3. I couldn't imagine how any of our ties to the UK, EU or US would get closer by being a superstate. In fact, I am not sure I would want any closer ties with any of them than we already have - especially the US. In reality bilateral ties and relations depend on local factors, which is not a problem.
 

robblaten

New member
Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas should, and probably will, be one country. Culturally and geographically there is no distinction.
 

Inquistive

New member
1. The OECD has achieved currency stability on its own through sharing monetary policy and thereby enforcing a kind of fiscal discipline. Barbados, the Bahamas and Belize have achieved stability through the US dollar peg. Others have failed to do so, but there is no evidence that making them operate as a larger political unit will make them behave with any more discipline on the fiscal side. No offence to Guyana, but I certainly would not want to share a currency with it.

2. Free movement. This will always be controversial as the populations of wealthier members will rightly fear the strain on their development and wage suppression that large scale immigration will lead to. Best to leave it to the discretion of each state which immigrants to accept, based on that state's need. Interestingly, the Bahamas has the most restrictive immigration policy and is not a signatory to CSME, yet has more CSME residents working withiin its borders of all Caricom states.

3. I couldn't imagine how any of our ties to the UK, EU or US would get closer by being a superstate. In fact, I am not sure I would want any closer ties with any of them than we already have - especially the US. In reality bilateral ties and relations depend on local factors, which is not a problem.

Good point, and what you mentioned about fiscal responsibility is bears truth. Just look at the trouble the Eurozone is in. However, this Eurozone is not a nation state. It's a currency union. The federation was intended to become one political unit, so fiscal commitment by a given island shouldn't be a concern.
 

antiguad

New member
1. It means currency stability. The whole region would share the same currency. This means all of the participating countries would enjoy the same purchasing and import power.

2. Free movement of people. This would allow the free movement of migrants within the region without the hassle of restrictive immigration.

3. Closer ties with Canada and Europe or perhaps the US. This won't bar people from freely traveling to the world's dominate regions.

It means currency stability. The whole region would share the same currency. This means all of the participating countries would enjoy the same purchasing and import power.
I'm not sure I necessarily agree with the notion that a shared currency is necessarily more stable, although I will admit that it is the case in most instances. Just not sure it would necessarily work for us.


Free movement of people. This would allow the free movement of migrants within the region without the hassle of restrictive immigration.
Free movement of people, if not properly managed, can be as disadvantageous as it can be advantageous. Back then the bigger islands were worried that us "poor small islanders" would swamp them, a situation which is reversed now. At least CARICOM have realised this and allowed the free movement process to be phased in to the CSME.

Closer ties with Canada and Europe or perhaps the US. This won't bar people from freely traveling to the world's dominate regions
I'm not sure how a shared political system immediately translates into easier movement into the developed countries, please explain.
 

antiguad

New member
1. The OECD has achieved currency stability on its own through sharing monetary policy and thereby enforcing a kind of fiscal discipline. Barbados, the Bahamas and Belize have achieved stability through the US dollar peg. Others have failed to do so, but there is no evidence that making them operate as a larger political unit will make them behave with any more discipline on the fiscal side. No offence to Guyana, but I certainly would not want to share a currency with it.

2. Free movement. This will always be controversial as the populations of wealthier members will rightly fear the strain on their development and wage suppression that large scale immigration will lead to. Best to leave it to the discretion of each state which immigrants to accept, based on that state's need. Interestingly, the Bahamas has the most restrictive immigration policy and is not a signatory to CSME, yet has more CSME residents working withiin its borders of all Caricom states.

3. I couldn't imagine how any of our ties to the UK, EU or US would get closer by being a superstate. In fact, I am not sure I would want any closer ties with any of them than we already have - especially the US. In reality bilateral ties and relations depend on local factors, which is not a problem.
I didn't notice this post until after I'd posted, but pretty much my sentiments.
 

robblaten

New member
Good point, and what you mentioned about fiscal responsibility is bears truth. Just look at the trouble the Eurozone is in. However, this Eurozone is not a nation state. It's a currency union. The federation was intended to become one political unit, so fiscal commitment by a given island shouldn't be a concern.
And the differences within the Caribbean region are far larger than within Europe in terms of fiscal situation and economic similarity.
 

Oneshot

where de crix
we have the opportunity to create a federation that is not modeled after anyone, but craft to our own issues.

we know for example, we need central bank independence, and possibly a Treasury ran by bureaucrats not politicians, and a health service which is based on caribbean socialism (i will subsidize my neighbour to a point, that is i will give you money for bread but not for fete)

the biggest hurdles are the issues created by the ones who come before us. OECS + barbados wont work until the bajans emerge from their current fiscal crisis and realize they are just like us.
 

robblaten

New member
we have the opportunity to create a federation that is not modeled after anyone, but craft to our own issues.

we know for example, we need central bank independence, and possibly a Treasury ran by bureaucrats not politicians, and a health service which is based on caribbean socialism (i will subsidize my neighbour to a point, that is i will give you money for bread but not for fete)

the biggest hurdles are the issues created by the ones who come before us. OECS + barbados wont work until the bajans emerge from their current fiscal crisis and realize they are just like us.
But in principle Barbados would work as a part of the OECS, because of their similarities. Both parties would benefit, since it would give Barbados fiscal stability after a bad recent fiscal history and restore confidence.

But when people advance arguments for a Caribbean wide union of some kind, they always push arguments that are simply spurious.

For instance, they say it will increase access to financing and improve relationships with bigger countries. But they never say how being part of a bigger unit would actually do either.

Two examples how being small is better:-

1. Access to Finance. Last month the Bahamas government went to the international capital markets with a $300,000,000 bond. Even in these hard times, our bond was oversubscribed 20 times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can anyone really say that if we had a shared treasury and central bank with the rest of the Caribbean that would have been the case? Seriously?

2. Foreign relations. At present Bahamians enjoy visa free, hassle free to every single "developed" (white) country. A total of 137 countries in all. Can anyone really say the same would be the case if we had a 'Caribbean Passport'? It is just madness this idea that integration will be good for the successful countries in the region.
 

Oneshot

where de crix
But in principle Barbados would work as a part of the OECS, because of their similarities. Both parties would benefit, since it would give Barbados fiscal stability after a bad recent fiscal history and restore confidence.

But when people advance arguments for a Caribbean wide union of some kind, they always push arguments that are simply spurious.

For instance, they say it will increase access to financing and improve relationships with bigger countries. But they never say how being part of a bigger unit would actually do either.

Two examples how being small is better:-

1. Access to Finance. Last month the Bahamas government went to the international capital markets with a $300,000,000 bond. Even in these hard times, our bond was oversubscribed 20 times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can anyone really say that if we had a shared treasury and central bank with the rest of the Caribbean that would have been the case? Seriously?

2. Foreign relations. At present Bahamians enjoy visa free, hassle free to every single "developed" (white) country. A total of 137 countries in all. Can anyone really say the same would be the case if we had a 'Caribbean Passport'? It is just madness this idea that integration will be good for the successful countries in the region.
over subscribed caribbean bonds are a regular thing in zero interest rate policy times. jamaica also was over subscribed.

i see where you are coming from, but those details can be ironed out, we dont need a caribbean passport from day 1, but other things like removing trade barriers, relaxing the movement of people, sharing resources across regional bodies
 

robblaten

New member
over subscribed caribbean bonds are a regular thing in zero interest rate policy times. jamaica also was over subscribed.

i see where you are coming from, but those details can be ironed out, we dont need a caribbean passport from day 1, but other things like removing trade barriers, relaxing the movement of people, sharing resources across regional bodies
What I was referring to is that small, well run states tend to have good credit ratings, while larger island states with more economic problems don't. The Bahamas could not do what it does in terms of access to credit if it was lumped in with Jamaica and Guyana as a single economy/treasury.

As for removing trade barrier. WHAT trade barriers? We are a producer of services, not goods. We have no policy of keeping barriers to goods, be they from Jamaica or Indonesia. All our duties that apply are fair and even and are designed to fund the treasury, as we have no income tax. But if you mean we should now discriminate IN FAVOUR of Caricom states by erecting barriers to others, then that would be pure madness.

As for easing movement of people. As tourists, yes. As workers or with the right to settle? Never. How would that help us exactly?? At present we have tens of thousands of Caricom nationals working in the Bahamas, mostly as maids and domestics, but also in nursing and teaching. That is because those entrants answer a need in the labour force. To have a policy of universal free movement in favour of caricom nationals would NOT be in the interest of Bahamians. It would literally swamp the country and would suppress wages.

I honestly do not think there is one good argument in favour of integration from an economic standpoint. From a sentimental standpoint, maybe.
 
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