Roseau, Dominica – March 07, 2008…….One of the Caribbean’s most eminent academics, Professor Norman Girvan, disagrees with persons who claim that Dominica’s decision to sign on to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) undermines the country’s membership of the Caribbean Community(CARICOM).
The distinguished Professor made his views on the issue known in an article published recently.
“Dominica’s announced decision to sign on to ALBA-the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas- has been the subject of some media comment because of its supposed undermining of CARICOM. However this is by no means the first time that a CARICOM member state has acted in a way that may be at variance with its regional commitments and responsibilities.
“Back in the early 1990s, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago each acted unilaterally in attempting to qualify for ‘NAFTA parity’ treatment by the United States by signing certain bilateral economic treaties with that country. I don’t hear people talking about that.”
“Later in the 1990s several countries also broke ranks with their regional counterparts by negotiating separately with the US on the infamous ‘Shiprider agreements’; and still later (2002) the equally infamous agreements to grant immunity for US personnel from prosecution under the International Criminal Court. These were egregious examples of failure to follow a united CARICOM policy and I don’t hear people talking about that either.”
” I am curious to know why Dominica’s ‘membership’ in ALBA is, in principle, inconsistent with its membership of CARICOM,” Professor Girvan argued.
Professor Girvan added that Nicaragua is a participant in the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement with the United States and is also a member of ALBA.
“Venezuela itself is a member of the Southern Common Market MERCOSUR, with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay; at the same time it is promoting ALBA,” Professor Girvan stated.
“In my understanding ALBA is not a trade bloc in the normal meaning of that term-a group of countries that agree to abolish trade barriers among themselves and to follow common trade policies towards third countries….” Professor Girvan concluded.