Pursuing regional integration To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
February 27, 2002

NOW is the time for Caribbean States including Guyana to grab a golden opportunity and render all the requisite assistance to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the newly-formed Organisation for Caribbean Unity and Progress based in Trinidad to fill the void created by a bungling Caribbean leadership so that the current drive towards vigorously pursuing Caribbean Integration may bear full fruit.

These organisations could definitely help in alleviating the predicament besetting not only nationals of the community resident in the region, but inhabiting foreign lands, such as those who are allegedly encountering widespread, racial discrimination in Canadian society. CARICOM nationals opine that this North American Industrial giant has been glossing over this crucial, human rights issue so far by clouding it with flimsy, human rights record.

It is important to note that during the tenure of the former President Burnham, and that of his handpicked successor Hoyte, Caricom became conspicuous by its mind-boggling and deafening silence.

A former Prime Minister of a major Member State even went as far as making the alleged, preposterous assertion in the aftermath of the 1985 fraudulent, Presidential polls that Mr. Hoyte was assured of victory, even if he had chosen not to campaign and had stayed home.

This despite the fact that these elections were stolen by the PNC and were ranked by the reputable, international monitors as the most scandalous in Guyana’s dirty electoral history, that saw its genesis with that Party usurping the reigns of government in 1968. What a gross insult to the intelligence of the Guyanese people, and a clumsy attempt at meddling in the internal affairs of our sovereign and Independent State that was!

On the other hand, member States were very vocal in sponsoring the U.S invasion of fellow member state Grenada by ‘invitation,’ in reaction to the military coup staged on October 19, 1983, that deposed the then People’s Revolutionary Government of former Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, during which he was executed along with his leading colleagues. The shame that followed this invasion was said to have been greater than the victory!

We must extend heartiest congratulations to the Ministers of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manzoor Nadir and Mr. Rudy Insanally, respectively. Mr. Nadir stamped his authority by threatening to withdraw Guyana’s support at the recently concluded Caribbean Tourism Organization meeting in Barbados, if its natural attractions were not accorded pride of place in the proposed regional tourism campaign.

Earlier, Mr. Insanally at the meeting between U.S. Secretariat of State, Mr. C. Powell and Caribbean Foreign Ministers in the Bahamian capital, Nassau, lambasted U.S. foreign policy, which it was inferred was discriminatory since the U.S. had unfairly placed three Eastern Caribbean States on a money laundering black list.

He also came out in defence of President Aristide of Haiti, whose cash-strapped government it is reported is being starved of critical finances, through the devious machinations and at the behest of the Bush administration.

Above all, the Minister presented a united Caribbean platform which is reckoned as vital to meeting the challenges of globalisation and trade liberalisation. Mr. Insanally sent a strong and unambiguous message that Guyana and its Caricom partners will not be intimidated by big power arrogance and aggression.
C. Majeed