By Jabari Fraser
“Where do we go from here, with or without COVID?” That was the question that St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves put to politicians, businessmen and investors at a November 2020 conference.
The Vincentian leader was opening a virtual conference entitled The Caribbean: Building regional trade and economic resilience post-Covid, organised by the UK-based Caribbean Council. The audience worked through virtual sessions on agriculture, shipping, air travel and digital services as well as networking in today’s virtual business manner.
Prime Minister Gonsalves spoke of the Caribbean’s development from colonialism to being defined by one crop/ one product economies, underpinned by cheap labour. Then, he looked at what he called the development of light industrialisation.
Taking in the more recent regional developments of citizenship-by-investment programmes, which he called “sale of nationhood”, and some of the unsustainable developments in modern times, Prime Minister Gonsalves said that it was time to build a modern, many-sided, post-colonial society which is national, regional and global. He pointed to education and the development of knowledge and skills to achieve sustainable development.
Click below to view Prime Minister Gonsalves’s opening of the Caribbean Council conference.
International lawyer, Dr Jan Yves Remy, the Deputy Director at the Shridath Ramphal Centre at the University of the West Indies also spoke at the conference opening.
Dr Remy spoke of previous comments by Sir Shridath Ramphal about key moments when regions faced a chance to change things in decisive ways.
“We are living through one of these inflection points”, Dr Remy told the virtual audience. She outlined conclusions from a Ramphal Centre policy brief on using trade as a way to recovery after COVID-19.
Click below for Dr Remy’s briefing.