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Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bajan Got It Right


Prime Minister Thompson of Barbados is paving a new path to true Caribbean integration.

The fundamental problem we are facing regarding immigration is this: Irresponsibility. The governor of the ECCB recently mentioned the lack of fiscal responsibility on the part of Antigua and Barbuda, and Jamaica. A few more countries can be added to this list. I want to suggest that it is also political and civil service irresponsibility that is at the heart of the problem.

There are penalties for running a country or an immigration department worse than a peanut vendor. Barbados is taking a responsible approach to immigration and the irresponsible Caribbean nationals, including Norman Girvan, are upset. They are upset because they still do not get it: Running any country, in particular a developing country with a post slavery society, demands almost a slavish attention to professional responsibility. Freedom is not free, in its genesis, deuteronomy or revelation.

In the context of the Free Movement of People, there can be no such thing until the wild and vulgar degrees of political and civil service freedom we practise are replaced by responsibility; not perfection, just plain old measurable and manageable responsibility, as Prime Minister Thompson is trying to chart. Without this, Free Movement of People will be nothing but a public guttural exercise on a public toilet.

And by the bye, Antigua and Barbuda should NOT enter an IMF program. If we do, our lack of fiscal and other professional responsibilities will mean that not even dog will want to eat our supper.