Participants at this week’s Jamaica Cannabis Conference are doing more than just blowing smoke—they are discussing the upcoming stages of a long-overdue and vital transformation of the Caribbean’s regional economy.
Against the wishes of the prevailing drug control regime, last month the government of Uruguay took the first steps to legalize marijuana. Against the backdrop of the failed War on Drugs, it is about time that the countries of the Caribbean come forward with their own individual policies on marijuana which reflects their own national security and development interests—instead of those of the United States.
At the 34th meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on July 6, a British human rights law firm has been contacted by CARICOM to to seek compensation from some European countries for the horrors of African slavery and the genocide of the region’s native peoples.
Every year millions of tourists flock to the Caribbean to enjoy the region’s year round sunshine. Despite being blessed with beautiful weather, the region is only now taking concrete steps to turn the sun into more than just a tourist attraction and make solar power an integral part of their development plans.
The theory of comparative advantage is regarded as a fundamental cornerstone of how economies operate. Given the shifts in the global economy, the Caribbean has unwillingly found a new comparative advantage. On July 3, it was announced that Interpol seized nearly 30 tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
On April 23, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, visited Canada to deliver her pitch to make the Canada-CARICOM free trade agreement a reality. However, it remains to be seen how such a deal will benefit the Caribbean—outside of a select group involved in resource extraction and financial services.
Across the region there is a familiar narrative whereby economies are in a tailspin, austerity reigns, traditional sources of trade and aid are no longer in effect, opportunities are harder to come by, and the aspiration of many youth is to simply get their hands on a visa to go abroad. There is an alarming need for political and institutional innovation in the Caribbean.