UK-Caribbean relations unequal says Hague

| 18/01/2012

william-hague-pic-getty-images-663996526.jpg(CNS): The UK’s relationship with the Caribbean is unequal and backward looking, the British Foreign Secretary said on the eve of his visit to the region. William Hague said the relationship should be a modern partnership and he wanted the UK and the Caribbean to cooperate more closely on what he described as the big international issues. As well as fighting crime and building resilient economies, he said the partnership should involve business, civil society and ordinary people.  “I believe that our relationship in recent years has been too backward-looking and less equal than it should be for the twenty-first century,” Hague wrote on the FCO website.

“There is no need for this, as there are many areas where our interests, values and views coincide, where our people, companies and NGOs interact and where we work together in partnership to tackle the scourge of drugs and crime.”

The Conservative Cabinet minister said that the delegation he was leading this week was one of the strongest groups of UK Ministers and senior officials to attend a UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum.

“This is both a sign of the strength the UK attaches to our enduring friendship with the Caribbean, and of our desire to use the Forum to mark a step change in our relationship. We believe this will herald a transition to a more modern, dynamic and forward looking affiliation,” he said.

Hague referred to what he called “the strong bonds that tie the UK and the region together” in all walks of life, from music to food, sport to prominent international figures. “We in the UK value these ties highly,” the minister stated.

He said that the UK government’s aid donation of £75million over four years was focused on creating a brighter future for the next generation but he noted there was also British private sector investment in the region.

“The private sector is the engine of growth for our economies, so it is right that they frame the questions that we politicians will discuss,” he said, noting that the first meeting would be with the business community. “The UK is a major investor in the Caribbean. BG has recently made a large investment in Trinidad & Tobago, and Pinewood Studios are building a state of the art film studio in the Dominican Republic with local partners Grupo Vinci.”

He said there were more business opportunities available, which was why Nick Baird, Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment, was among the delegates and would lead a discussion with a range of UK and Caribbean businesses at the forum.

Hague added that 2012 provided an unprecedented opportunity for the UK and Caribbean to come together – in marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating fifty years of independence in Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago, and in cheering on our athletes at the London 2012 Olympics.

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Comments (23)

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  1. Loopy Lou says:

    I feel a Chagossian moment coming on.  Whodatis?

  2. Dare to Dream says:

    Pardon me but we have always stood on our own feet!!  We are probably the only Crown Colony that has never gone to The Mother Country for hand outs.  In fact Cayman was the only Crown Colony that actually sent money to England.  During the Falklands war this  Crown Colony sent  one million pounds- fifty of which was collected from ordinary citizens and the other fifty from the government coffers.  So you really need to check your stupid comments.  There are some of us who think that discussions should be on- going on the subject so that when the time comes we will be prepared. I don't think that things could be  much worse that there are now. We have an English Governor and English Chief of Police  in charge,sent over from the Mother Country and unfortunately we are still waiting for them to do something positive.  Cayman was founded by our hard working  fore fathers and mothers who did a fantastic job of keeping the island going.  If you don't know what you are talking about maybe you should pick up a copy of the History of the Cayman Islands and do some reading before you make such stupid comments. Remembe when we do go independant there won't be any place here for the likes of you!! 

    • noname says:

      "Remembe when we do go independant there won't be any place here for the likes of you!!"  We will remember.

  3. Shock and Awe says:

    Business, civil society, and ordinary people.   In that order?  What's he saying?

    "The private sector is the engine of growth for our economies, so it is right that they frame the questions that we politicians will discuss,”

    Oh yes I get it.  Of course government will listen and take direction from business.  Why should they not?  Look at what business has done for the world.

    It has brought financial collapse for people everywhere and at the same time wonder of wonders -reaped enormous profits.  Business is good.

    Governments have to clear the way for business by "stabilizing" unrest. Look at Iraq. They had lots of oil. But it was unstable. After a mild military intervention, it has now become "stable". For giant oil companies like BP and Total and Exxon to do business.  After bombing the bejeesus out of Iraq they will now put the effort into "rebuilding the economy" in their image and to the requirements of business. The people are now free because before they were being ripped off by a tyrant and that wouldn't do. Now they can be ripped off by a cooperative government put in place and multinationals with full protection.

    You have to read between the lines to understand what this is all about. And don't forget "ordinary people".  They are needed by businessmen.  To open doors and clean pools.

    Who are these people??  These businessmen. These diplomats. And why do we let them decide our fate??  They have failed in every respect. We can't listen to them any longer. And if we do it's clear where their priorities lie.  Business is first. People are secondary we should just play football and leave the rest to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow you're hard to please. If we'd only had you in charge everything would be peachy.

    • Erik Depthsounder says:

      Dear Shocking Ignorance

      You, like the rest of us are responsible for these politicians, we elected some of them and we are partly responsible for their failings.

      The alternative to a Capitalist driven economy is a Socialist one party state and I for one would prefer to stick with democracy and have an Obama rather than a Chavez screwing things up.

      Your typical negativity, suggests that we should change our name to the "Complaining Islands"….stop bellyaching all the time on this web site and get out there and do something positive to promote the Cayman Economy, just for once, please.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We may have our own idea what it is that the Foreign Secretary said, but perhaps it would be best  to wait untill he explains what exactly he meant!

  5. Senior Citizen says:

    I think he is only talking from a business level. He doesnt seem down-to-earth to me in touch with islanders and what we want / need in terms of democracy. But I must give him some credit in acknowledging some unequality between us. No one wants Independence. What we want / need is better relations and respect.

    • Anonymous says:

      why don't you want independence?….. have you not got the backbone as people to stand on your own two feet?

      • Senior Citizen says:

        My friend, it is not because we don't have any backbone. Cayman has no military, not much natural resources to depend on, and our government is always in need of a watchdog over her to fight against political corruption. Independence could work for a larger country, but we are too small for it. We will always need that outside help. Now – can we annex to another mother country?  Of course we can. That is not as bad as being Independant alone.

        • Anonymous says:

          military / natural resouces argument is bogus in the 21st century…..but thanks for saying that you can't go independent because your politicians are corrupt……..honesty at last….

          • Anonymous says:

            El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba. I think you live in a bad neighborhood. Not even mentioning thecartels in Mexico and Jamaica. go independent and you'll probably be the next Grenada.

      • Anonymous says:

        Come on CNS is it not about time we asked the question "do we want independence?”

        ..I am sick of the constant winging of some readers about how dreadful the UK is…..if you don't like being an overseas territory then seek independence, be masters of your own destinies…there is absolutely nobody stopping you, except yourselves (and your inability to make a simple decision), but whatever you decide, for heavens sake stop complaining like spoilt school children and grow up as a nation.

      • Anonymous says:

        On the contrary; we are merely rational about our self-interest, and honest about it – unlike your country.

        • Anonymous says:

          what is my country?… are 'honest' about your 'self interest'?….. but you don't explain what that means????

        • Judean People's Front says:

          CNS …. any joy with that WTF button?

      • C-Mon 2 de Bone says:

        I would like you to go "independant" on your own 4×4 piece of island, we the islanders who were good enough to develop our countries from nothing into the booming economies that they have become (prior to 911, Iraq, Afgan wars etc which put the world on a whole in the mess that it is in financially, govt"s spending Millions per day funding wars to murder people, seeking to explot these war torn countries for all they have( oil, diamonds, uraniaum, etc in exchange for help to get rid of the opressive leaders that they have or had). 

        Independance from the Queen would in turn put this country in the same as all the third world countries in this region, Caymanians are not "spineless" we have foresight as to  what will happen to us if we made such a foolish move, the only source of reoccuring revenue that we have is not garanteed. Success with tourism and banking depends soley on finances and at present we all know that everyone, everywhere are having financial problems.

        so once again if independance is what u feel is right and u have enough backbone to goon your own then get to steppin!!!!!     

        • Anonymous says:

          1. this island would never have developed to the extent it has without expats and foreign investment

          2. as cayman receives no financial assistance from uk why can't you go independent?..why?

          • Anonymous says:

            Let me paint a small picture of independent Cayman.

            Consulates. Any Caymanian travelling abroad has access to a British Consulate/Embassy in times of trouble to assist citizens with problems such as lost passports. What would it cost to have a Cayman Embassy in New York, London, Rome, Tokyo, Paris, etc? Remember these are political appointees, so imagine what sort of peopleyou will get to staff these offices. Think of various politically appointed board members now if your imagination hasn't kicked in yet.

            Security. The UK is responsible for our defense. I doubt that in the 21st century we would be invaded by Cuba, Jamaica, Bay Islands, etc. But just for good measure we would need to have a small army reserve of about 500 people with guns that are answerable to the Premier. They would of course be responsible for good order during important events such as elections.

            Legal. There would be no need for a Privy Council. Important cases could be heard in the LA so as to not inconvenience the number of Members who might wish to attent trial to show their support for the accused. And of course, letters to real estate developers would never see the light of day.

            I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

          • noname says:

            Because the expats would take their money, skill, experiance, and leave Cayman with only its Caymankind to feed itself.

        • Anonymous says:

          I guess I must have missed the bit about the Cayman Islands developing the Islands from 'nothing to the booming economies they have become'.

          I always thought that the finance industry  started to gear up to move to the next poltically stable, offshore jurasdiction wherever that could be found, towards the end of the Pidling /Bahamas Independence era in the seventies.

          Due to this, the Cayman Islands had the business from the Bahamas appear almost overnight.

          Prior to that, the Islands remained dependant on remittances and pensions mainly from the bulk carriers.


          • Anonymous says:

            The "Cayman Islands developing the Islands"?.

            No, it did not just fall into our laps. There were real efforts to make us an attractive choice when at that point we had little to distinguish us from anywhere else.