IF, as is said, nothing happens before its time, then the world continues to turn around the Caribbean while we continue marching in time with just what’s driving us at home. But if so, isn’t it time for the region’s leaders to pay and show a little more attention to those things happening beyond our borders, boundaries and horizons that have implications for us?
Take some of this past week’s major happenings in the rest of the world:
President Donald Trump was surprisingly invited by the two Koreas to talk with the North’s Kim Jong-un. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly advised against it, but his boss ignored him and agreed. The man who appointed his State Department head then proceeded to dis-appoint him, firing Tillerson forthwith — and announcing it on Twitter.
In Europe, the UK, France and Germany seem set to mend broken fences in the trans-Atlantic alliance, joining the USA to issue a joint declaration accusing Russia of using a weapon of mass destruction in England to try to kill two Russian citizens with UK citizenship – Moscow responding that it intends to respond, in kind, to the sanctions imposed against it by London.
Some among us will say the Trump-Kim meeting or Rex Tillerson’s firing has nothing to do with us. But both actually do:
If the summit results in all the sides smoking the peace pipe at a round table in the Korean Peninsula, it will mean less chance for Saint Lucians (and persons of Saint Lucian and Caribbean heritage) serving in the US army, navy and air force perishing in any confrontation of the new type of hi-tech armed engagements envisaged should all sides instead get a chance to test their new hi-caliber weapons of mass human destruction.
Similarly, Tillerson is no longer at the helm at the State Department, not just for describing his boss as a ‘moron’, but more for their many shared disagreements. But the Tillerson Policy in Latin America — and especially towards Venezuela – was (and still is) precisely of the ‘muscular diplomacy’ and ‘military intervention’ type that President Trump prefers. If and when ex-CIA Director Mike Pompeo (in his new job as Tillerson’s replacement) decides to allow the White House to continue to call the political shots that drive American diplomacy, then a real war with and in Venezuela can be among the cards on the table — again having implications for Saint Lucians, not only in the US military (and their families) but also in Venezuela itself, whether as visitors, regional public servants or students.
What future for Tillerson? Will he return to his old job as CEO of Exxon-Mobil? We may say we don’t care, but whether he does or not, the biggest US oil company’s unequal partnership with Guyana in pursuit of oil in disputed waters will surely continue to impact CARICOM’s position on the age-old Guyana-Venezuela dispute. What implications then, for CARICOM’s position as it relates to a continuing and undisguised multi-dimensional onslaught by an extra-regional power in a relentless pursuit of a self-serving political and economic agenda against a neighboring Caribbean state?
In Grenada, for the third time in 19 years, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, a mathematician by training, has again demonstrated his remarkable ability to read the arithmetic of national elections, leading his party to win all 15 seats contested – and for the third time as well, his next government will govern without an elected Opposition in Parliament.
Here, this past week:
There was continuing concern about the growing number of people dying from un-natural causes, with the confirmation of four deaths suspected to have possibly resulted from ingestion of a stolen deadly substance mistaken for alcohol and allegedly served at a funeral.
The local press tried hard too, to prove that the House Speaker did resign after all, with no seeming interest in who will replace her – despite the Prime Minister’s confirmation of an intended Cabinet reshuffle.
The revolving door of Police-Government politics continued to swirl with the National Security Minister and the Police Welfare Association embroiled in a storm in a teacup over whether the Cabinet of Ministers did or did not instruct the Police Commissioner on which police officer to appoint to what position.
Saint Lucia’s removal from the EU’s ‘black list’ of countries not doing enough to discourage offshore tax evasion and addition to a ‘grey list’ of similar concerns came as good news. But Saint Lucia still needs to know what was promised on our behalf to qualify for that graduation.
Not that the death rate, who will be the next Speaker, whether Cabinet can influence promotion in the Police Force or our graduation to another ‘list’ of countries under close EU watch aren’t important. By all means they are.
But while paying needed attention to these domestic issues of national concern and import, it’s just as important to also pay attention to those issues and factors taking place on the world stage that have implications for us.
Yes, our local business is our business. But what’s happening elsewhere in our shrinking global village is now – more now than ever – also our business.