We are in for the long haul
Stabroek News
September 24, 2001

Dear Editor,

The atrocities of the week before last's attack on the financial and military capitals of the United States, are well documented. Therefore I would like to share a few concerns and considerations for the Caribbean nations, including Guyana to ponder. It is unlikely that President Bush will launch military strikes similar to those ordered by his predecessor against Afghanistan. Having said that, it is incumbent upon the US to respond in a way that will appease the American public.

Most Caricom nations depend heavily on the American tourist dollar and imported food items for their survival. Although at this time of the year it is the off-peak season for the airlines operating in the western hemisphere, passenger loads are down, because of the insecurities surrounding flying.

Further, even if the US government approves an aid package for their airlines, thousands of employees will be laid off and the number of seats usually offered will be reduced. Cruise liners have also reduced, in the short term, the number of cruises due to cancellations. The hotel industry has probably been the hardest hit in the region, being forced to close their doors temporarily or send staff on extended leave. Make no mistake about it, the ripple effects of what occurred last week did not happen overnight.

Prior to the current events American economic growth was down in the second quarter of this year, while consumer spending had decreased dramatically, causing financial analysts to predict an imminent recession.

A high percentage of what Caricom nations consume is imported from the United States. Here in the British Virgin Islands that figure is a staggering ninety per cent. Already tourism boards across the region have convened damage control meetings. Irrespective of how the US reacts, the longer that reaction is prolonged the more tentative visitors will be about visiting the region and we can expect tougher times in the near future. Let us not expect American aid, but rather devise ways to produce for the sustenance of our country and possibly the wider Caribbean. As far fetched as it may seem, they may need our help. We are in for the long haul here.

Yours faithfully,

Shon Adams