Conflict, confusion render us weak


Our region should be very concerned about issues arising from what can aptly be described as the Venezuelan tragedy.

In my humble view, a united front should be presented in attempting to deal with the fallout from what is unfolding in the neighbouring country, which at its closest point is a relatively short, though dangerous, dash by pirogue to our shores.

At a recent meeting of the Organisation of American States, a representative of Juan Guaido, the self-declared president of the Bolivarian Republic, purported to present the views of that republic. Guaido’s emissary could not, in my humble view, present the views of the majority of Venezuelans since his organisation is but one of 27 parties in opposition to Nicolas Maduro.

Eight Caribbean countries-members of Caricom, to their creditprotested the decision by the General Secretary of the OAS to accept the credentials of Guaido’s representative as the permanent representative of Venezuela.

The fact that four member states of Caricom chose to support the decision to accept the emissary’s credentials speaks volumes about where we are as a region. In his immortal calypso, ‘Rally Round the West Indies’, David Rudder termed our region ‘these tiny theatres of conflict and confusion’. The actions of those four member states give credence to Rudder’s description of our space.

Black Stalin, another noted calypsonian in yet another gem of the genre, entitled ‘Caribbean Man’, exhorts our leaders to ‘push one common intention for a better life in the region for we woman and we children’.

Attempts at unifying the region commenced in 1958 with the proposed Federation, that fell by the wayside due to disagreement on the sitting of the capital. Another attempt was made with the formation of Carifta. This was wound up by the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which set out that Caricom would come into existence on May 1, 1974.

This latest initiative, given the developments at the OAS, can best be described as ‘Carigone’ since we are nowhere closer to presenting a united front. Even cricket, the major unifying force in this regain, was bedevilled by insularity.

Surely it does not require a rocket scientist to deduce that unity is strength. As individual states, we are powerless to turn back the tide of American imperialism. After 62 years of trying, I think it’s time we finally acknowledge that the conflict and confusion only serve to render us weak.

Elias Lewis