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Caricom opinions versus hard facts

Michael Fahy, former home affairs minister and now popular columnist

At times it is good to simply sit back and observe as opposed to engaging at the given time. It gives an opportunity to let others state their opinions and viewpoints. So, today we will look at some opinions versus facts.

A few weeks ago, former One Bermuda Alliance senator Michael Fahy made these comments in reference to Bermuda seeking to start consultations about becoming a full member of Caricom.

“Membership of any organisation that impedes on sovereignty — in as far as that exists at present — needs to be carefully considered…”

Clearly he, and others, are attempting to sow seeds of doubt and distrust among Bermudians — many of whom are of direct Caribbean heritage.

OK, so let us now deal with some facts.

Both of our regional neighbours, Bahamas and the fellow Overseas Territory of Montserrat, are full members of Caricom. Yet they do not have freedom of movement of labour. Nor have they signed up for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. As a matter of fact, not every member state of Caricom has signed up for CSME.

Why? Simply because freedom of movement of labour works logistically better for larger countries such as Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, who need labour for their industries, whereas smaller islands such as Antigua & Barbuda and St Kitts & Nevis would see their native populations/workforces outnumbered, and limited housing and land resources used up.

As a prime example, in the Caribbean island that Mr Fahy loves to promote as what Bermuda should be — Cayman Islands — the native population now constitutes only 30 per cent of the total population. At the present trend, by 2030 generational Caymanians would account for only a little more than 20 per cent of their population.

As a further reference point, Cayman Islands is not a full member of Caricom.

The reality is that, unlike the European Union, all internal governance, inclusive of immigration and work permits, remains under the sovereign control of each individual Caricom member state.

Skipped meetings

Michael Fahy, is someone who, according to his own words, attended a grand total of one Caricom meeting, in 2014. In July 2018, we were informed that Bermuda did not attend most Caricom meetings under the OBA government. Upon further discussion with regional ministers, it was made clear that under the OBA, there was little to no interaction between Bermuda and other Overseas Territories.

This clearly states that in his position of home affairs minister from 2012 to 2016, Mr Fahy had very little interest in learning about the region and even less regard for engaging with regional leaders.

So, it is ironic that he now wants to appear to be some expert on Caricom.

• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published November 24, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated November 24, 2023 at 7:19 am)

Caricom opinions versus hard facts

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