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Apr 1, 2011

CARIFORUM: Dominicans being sidelined?

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington

Five Foreign Ministers and senior officials from the seventeen countries that make up CARIFORUM, which includes CARICOM countries along with the Dominican Republic, are in Belize for the eighteenth meeting of the Council of Ministers. CARIFORUM is specifically the mechanism created in 1992 for cooperation between CARIFORUM and the European Union.  During the meeting, the grouping will focus on restructuring the current governance arrangements to meet the expanded responsibilities, which came with the signing of Economic Partnership Agreement, called EPA, in October, 2008.  Senior officials have been in technical meetings since Wednesday and in today’s session, the Dominican Republic, again raised concerns about the current structure of CARIFORUM, which is contained within CARICOM, stating that their position is to have a separate Secretary General for CARIFORUM. The Dominican Republic feels that it is being sidelined because it does not sit at the table with CARICOM leaders where the major decisions are being taken. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, this issue must be cleared before they move on.

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs/Foreign Trade

“I think the most important issue really is the governance issue. It’s really an internal issue as to how are we going to govern the process in CARIFORUM. CARIFORUM is different from CARICOM. CARIFORUM consists of all the CARICOM countries plus the Dominican Republic and Cuba. And the impression we are getting is that the Dominican Republic has some reservations in relation to the role of the SG of CARICOM and the reporting procedure. They seem to believe—that’s the impression I’m getting—they seem to believe that there’s going to be a bias in favor of the CARICOM countries than in fact the Dominican Republic and they want to make sure that in the governance structure, there is going to be proper representation for all interests including the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Republic doesn’t seem to want the Director General to have to report to the Council of Ministers by going through the Secretary General of CARIFORUM. Their recommendation is for the DG to have a direct line to the Council of Minister and not have to report to the Secretary General of CARICOM  It’s a thorny issue because protocol has always been for institutions, certainly the CARICOM institutions, to make reports through the Secretary General, that is the highest post. And from the Secretary General it goes to the Council of Ministers or to the Heads of Government. You just don’t by pass your Secretary General.  The entire arrangement is to facilitate trade and political relations between the CARIFORUM countries and the European Union and the European Union likes things to be tidy so that we have to have our act together to get maximum benefit from the arrangements that we have with the European Union.”

In the Jamaican press, it was reported that that country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, would have raised the issue of free movement between member states. That concern stems from allegations made by a Jamaican woman, who claims she was sexually violated by Customs and Immigration officials during a search in Barbados. Elrington, however, says it unlikely that the issue will be discussed. Attending the ministerial meeting is a delegation from Cuba.

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8 Responses for “CARIFORUM: Dominicans being sidelined?”

  1. Kinslito says:

    Dear Mr Elrington, Kindly explain to the Dominicans that when you join an established group you can’t expect the rules to be changed just for your convenience or preference. I understand that it sucks to be marginalized. Belize has suffered and keeps suffering from being excluded from several regional forums. Take a survey in CA and you’d be surprised to find out that most of CA residents don’t even know where Belize is, muchless to have us invited to regional meetings. Culturally Cubans and Dominicans are not Carribbean people, there is a stark difference. The same way that Belize is technically in Latin America but we are not latinos, and when we enter the latin forums we have little to no say or influence. The question is Does Caricom need the Dominicans or the Cubans? If we believe that we need them, then it’s a sad testament to how badly off we are as a people.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    ONE MORE STEP TO…………ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!!!!

  3. DappaBZ says:

    Actually that statement is not completely true in regards to
    ___
    Culturally Cubans and Dominicans are not Carribbean people, there is a stark difference. The same way that Belize is technically in Latin America but we are not latinos, and when we enter the latin forums we have little to no say or influence. The question is Does Caricom need the Dominicans or the Cubans? If we believe that we need them, then it’s a sad testament to how badly off we are as a people.
    ___

    They are caribbean people simply put. If you look up the definition of caribbean, it clearly defines that the region consists of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north, the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands or the Lucayan Archipelago, which are in fact in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba, not in the Caribbean Sea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean

    So that is pure ignorance to say they are not caribbean people in particular that the official language of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic is Spanish. Like Haiti and the rest of the french speaking islands their official languageis French which doesn’t exclude them that they are part of Caricom even though French Guiana is part of South America and not the caribbean and the rest of the non-english speaking islands like Caracao speak Dutch are still part of Caricom.

    For Belize granted the official language is English, we need not to say they aren’t caribbean people based on the mentality that we recognize our African culture “maybe” more so than the spanish speaking caribbean countries. This is an old divide and conquer method set up by the europeans because one slave has more european features than the next slave and would consider themselves different than the rest. Lets end that cycle and change it. I am Belizean and I have friends from all over latin america and I do my part by educating both my Kriol and Garifuna Heritage and they have more respect for me when I enlighten them with one question, “How has Africans influence their culture in their own country?”

    In fact, the spanish speaking caribbean embraces african heritage even more so then the rest of latin america yet those who are dark skinned are stuck with the mentality that they are not african so they would rather identify with being separate from the caribbean even though all of the spanish channels do mention Puerto Rico, Cuba and Dominican Republic and the caribbean. Its kind of like saying African Americans in America don’t see the caribbean as being black. Its just pure ignorance.

    Belize is in Latin America and yes we are Latinos. Guyana and Suriname is in South America and yes they are Latinos. Reason being is not based on the linguistics, its based on the geographic location. Everyone born in North America, USA is an American. So anyone born in Latin America is a Latino. Now who speaks what or who identifies with what doesn’t change the fact that you are still Latino.

  4. BDF soldier says:

    !@#$ the european unions,and all the lawyer like erlinton who are the root of all evils in belize.

  5. The People Had Enough says:

    The North American Union is in process of being completed. They are now deailing with Central/Caribbean and South America. Earl Grey said it right New World Order, but most people are still oblivious to what is really going on, on planet earth. I don’t even watch t.v. anymore,

  6. kinslito says:

    @DappaBZ says: Would you also say that everyone on the Asian continent shares the SAME asian culture? Are they also all chinese? I mean after all they all look alike right? Would you also say that the former colonies of Spain, Great Britain, and France are the same? Or have you simply decided that it would be more convenient to your argument to throw one big cultural blanket over the entire Carribbean Sea and Eastern Atlantic and say ¨all a we dah one¨?

    The longitude and latitude (17° to 20°N and 72° to 68°W) of Dominican Republic has never been on debate. I said we are culturally different. Additionally, the use and definition of the term ´culture¨ is limited to parameters set up to define entry and membership into Caricom and the spirit under which such regulations were laid out. FYI Caricom was established under the Treaty of Chaguaramas following the dissolution of the West Indies Federation in 1962. Caricom in spirit shares one similar English / British culture.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_Community describes the culture of Caricom as
    ¨ Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by the mainly English Creole speaking parts of the Caribbean¨

    We have to accept when the former French Colonies have closed door meetings and when in many parts of Central American the name ¨Belize´ is often unknown and even more often associated with Guatemala¨ Bra,,,, we dah we!

    BTW currently both Curacao and the Dominican Republic are listed as ¨Observers¨. Obviously the jury is still out on how much of a ¨part of caricom¨ that makes them. I´ve been watching the news in Japan or should I say I have been observing Japan or by all means should I just consider myself a part of them? After all we are all the same right?

    The long and short of the story is… when in Rome you do as the Romans do. I truly welcome any alienation or affiliation of Caricom that will bring additional benefits to my Belizean people. But we have to let the Dominicans know that you can´t take over the party when you´re an invited guess. It doesn´t matter who or how big you are.

    At the end your argument gets blurry. I can´t figure if you´re calling me African or Latin. Speaking of Latin friends, I have lived in the heart of latin America for years and I can tell you with no uncertainty that I am not Latino. Being latino is not a bad thing, there are many aspects of the culture that I love and have tried to take on. However, if I have to try….. then it is not natural nor in my culture to do so.

    Lastly, I still stand by my statement that Caricom with 15 full Members should not allow 1 observer country (DR) to dictate the pace. Further if Caricom, all 15 strong, still need Dominican Republic then it´s a sad testament of how badly off we are as a people.

  7. DappaBZ says:

    This is what you intially said below,
    ___
    Culturally Cubans and Dominicans are not Carribbean people, there is a stark difference.
    ___

    This is where your theory doesn’t make sense. Are you saying they are on a different hemisphere geographically like the Asian continent/or islands in the Pacific? Or are you saying your letting an organization like CARICOM RE-define the definition of “caribbean” which existed decades later after the abolishment of slavery in the WHOLE caribbean to use as your argument? Ask anyone who designs maps for a living, they don’t go by what an organization dictates to them, they go by the facts.

    ___
    Would you also say that everyone on the Asian continent shares the SAME asian culture? Are they also all chinese? I mean after all they all look alike right? Would you also say that the former colonies of Spain, Great Britain, and France are the same? Or have you simply decided that it would be more convenient to your argument to throw one big cultural blanket over the entire Carribbean Sea and Eastern Atlantic and say ¨all a we dah one¨?
    ___

    You mention another continent which aren’t islands in the first place and is NOT located in the western hemisphere. Even with that statement, FACT: Asian people come from one similiar tribe, FACT: Everyone doesn’t speak the same language, FACT: Everyone cannot fit in one country defined within its borders … So everyone in the caribbean is linked to one common element, AFRICAN GENES regardless how you put it given there was slavery in all of the countries in the caribbean historically. They can be proven through DNA testing. If you think because you speak English that your “culture” which is a EUROPEAN language is better than anyone else who speaks French, Dutch or Spanish, then I don’t see any reason for to want to badmouth Dominicans. On the flipside, I NEVER SAID THEY SHOULD DICTATE WHAT SHOULD GO ON!!! You never heard that from me. What you did heard from me was correcting you where you get your facts from that they aren’t caribbean people given you just explained your reasoning in your most recent post.

    ___
    BTW currently both Curacao and the Dominican Republic are listed as ¨Observers¨. Obviously the jury is still out on how much of a ¨part of caricom¨ that makes them. I´ve been watching the news in Japan or should I say I have been observing Japan or by all means should I just consider myself a part of them? After all we are all the same right?
    ___

    Do you have any Japanese roots? HAHAHA … I don’t have any asian roots in me unless you want to say indigenious arawaks and maya are asian descendants when the ice age occurred.

    __
    The long and short of the story is… when in Rome you do as the Romans do. I truly welcome any alienation or affiliation of Caricom that will bring additional benefits to my Belizean people. But we have to let the Dominicans know that you can´t take over the party when you´re an invited guess. It doesn´t matter who or how big you are.
    __

    Well the only statement I disagree on is the point you mention about Rome. All great empires never last. Obviously Rome wasn’t built in a day and Rome fell because everyone didn’t agree with Roman way of life. So Belize, not everyone believes in this government currently. So eventually Belize may end up going to Guatemala … !@#$%^ up but true if you grasp my concept.

    ___
    At the end your argument gets blurry. I can´t figure if you´re calling me African or Latin. Speaking of Latin friends, I have lived in the heart of latin America for years and I can tell you with no uncertainty that I am not Latino. Being latino is not a bad thing, there are many aspects of the culture that I love and have tried to take on. However, if I have to try….. then it is not natural nor in my culture to do so.
    ___

    Being latino doesn’t mean you speak spanish. Brazil speaks Portuguese and Guyana is broken up into 3 Guyanas (English,French,Dutch) and Suriname speaks english. Back to the geographics, your a latino based on the geographic location. Belize isn’t and never will be in the caribbean because of its geographic location. Culturally, if you want to classify an english dominant role and say yes we are, by all means go ahead. But its still an opinion of yours and not a fact. And for those countries that don’t know about Belize, I blame us for not educating the rest of the world because our population is a greater than the population of St. Kitts and Barbados and those countries are known. So what do you have to say about that? Don’t blame the music either! HAHAHA

    Spanish culture, English, culture, French culture, Dutch culture, Asian cultures are all different. Thats common sense. But lets make sure we have a clear understand of geography 101 and not mix the word “caribbean” with “culture” :) And unless you have spanish roots in you kinslito, than what is wrong with some Dominican women in our country??? Dem bad to !@$$ enuh!!!

  8. DappaBZ says:

    Correction: Suriname official language is Dutch ;) from wikipedia

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