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Volume Six Winter-Spring 2010 Numbers 1-2.
THEME: THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CARIBBEAN REGION
CARIBBEAN ARGONAUTS: ADVANCING ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION
Jay R. Mandle
W. Bradford Wiley Professor of Economics
Published Online: March 15, 2017
The process of Caribbean regional integration has long been frustrating to its advocates. The pace of accomplishment has been slow and the most important steps required to achieve a Caribbean Single Market and Economy have been implemented only to a limited extent. The CARICOM's weakness was made clear in the one-sided Economic Partnership Agreement negotiated with the European Union. Nevertheless, before the near-collapse of the global financial system, it still was possible to argue that the integration project was viable. However, the damage inflicted on the region’s economies by the financial sector debacle brought the fault lines that undermine regional cohesion to the surface and weakened the bonds of solidarity under construction. The politically popular action by the Barbados government to repatriate undocumented CARICOM nationals revealed the continued limited sense of shared identification that exists among the West Indian people. At the same time, the fact that numerous Caribbean nations were required to seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and/or oil-rich Venezuela means that countries such as Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda are now exposed to the centrifugal pressures generated from those sources of funding. Deep regional integration, always a long shot, now cannot be viewed as an achievable outcome in the foreseeable future.