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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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FUTURE GLOBAL LEADERS CONFERENCE OPENS

A common currency, language and internal political structures stand as the primary impediments to the economic unification of the Caribbean, regional academic leaders said Tuesday as the 6th annual Summer Institute for Future Global Leaders in the Caribbean got underway at the University of the Virgin Islands campus.
More than 45 students from colleges in the Caribbean, the United States and Canada, all with Caribbean heritage, are participating in the two-week conference which concludes Friday, June 12.
The institute grew out of the concern of Orville Kean, UVI president, and Solomon Kabuka, chairman of UVI's business division, for the economic, political and intellectual development of the Caribbean. Kean, who also is president of the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA), opened the conference.
He said to the students, "If you do not think of yourselves as a work in progress, chances are there will be no progress." He continued, noting the Caribbean's commonality and common destiny, "We rise or sink together."
Keynote speaker, Patrick A. Lewis, ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, said that "small island developing states are at a terrible disadvantage," without unification. "We are invisible countries because of our smallness," he said.
Participating in a panel discussion were Carlyle Corbin, USVI representative for external affairs, Fred Constant, vice president for international affairs of the Universite des Antilles in Martinique, Carl R. T. Camelia, of the University of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao and Mervyn Alleyne, Secretary General of UNICA.
Camelia deplored the breakdown of unification within his own Netherlands Antilles, and noted the need for the entire Caribbean to "cede some sovereignty to gain unification." He said that CARICOM has been most successful, but not all countries are members. Puerto Rico and the USVI are associate members, he noted.
Corbin mentioned the "political plurality" that exists in the Caribbean. He said that by 2004 a free trade area of the Americas, a hemispheric grouping, would come into being and that the USVI and other Caribbean islands would be left out because they are outside of the Eastern customs trade zone. He said this must be addressed in a hemispheric initiative.
Alleyne commented on the language barrier in all the islands. He noted "it's no secret the French are still resentful that the world isn't using French, and Puerto Rico vastly prefers Spanish." Still, he said, these language barriers must be broached if the Caribbean is to integrate successfully for economic survival.
All of the participants agreed that a common currency would be another boon to an integrated Caribbean community. It was noted that even Ecuador in South America is now using the American dollar.
Local business leader Edward Thomas, CEO and chairman of the board of the West Indian Company Ltd., will speak at 9 a.m. Thursday on the developing Caribbean cruise ship industry for the new economy.

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A common currency, language and internal political structures stand as the primary impediments to the economic unification of the Caribbean, regional academic leaders said Tuesday as the 6th annual Summer Institute for Future Global Leaders in the Caribbean got underway at the University of the Virgin Islands campus.
More than 45 students from colleges in the Caribbean, the United States and Canada, all with Caribbean heritage, are participating in the two-week conference which concludes Friday, June 12.
The institute grew out of the concern of Orville Kean, UVI president, and Solomon Kabuka, chairman of UVI's business division, for the economic, political and intellectual development of the Caribbean. Kean, who also is president of the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA), opened the conference.
He said to the students, "If you do not think of yourselves as a work in progress, chances are there will be no progress." He continued, noting the Caribbean's commonality and common destiny, "We rise or sink together."
Keynote speaker, Patrick A. Lewis, ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, said that "small island developing states are at a terrible disadvantage," without unification. "We are invisible countries because of our smallness," he said.
Participating in a panel discussion were Carlyle Corbin, USVI representative for external affairs, Fred Constant, vice president for international affairs of the Universite des Antilles in Martinique, Carl R. T. Camelia, of the University of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao and Mervyn Alleyne, Secretary General of UNICA.
Camelia deplored the breakdown of unification within his own Netherlands Antilles, and noted the need for the entire Caribbean to "cede some sovereignty to gain unification." He said that CARICOM has been most successful, but not all countries are members. Puerto Rico and the USVI are associate members, he noted.
Corbin mentioned the "political plurality" that exists in the Caribbean. He said that by 2004 a free trade area of the Americas, a hemispheric grouping, would come into being and that the USVI and other Caribbean islands would be left out because they are outside of the Eastern customs trade zone. He said this must be addressed in a hemispheric initiative.
Alleyne commented on the language barrier in all the islands. He noted "it's no secret the French are still resentful that the world isn't using French, and Puerto Rico vastly prefers Spanish." Still, he said, these language barriers must be broached if the Caribbean is to integrate successfully for economic survival.
All of the participants agreed that a common currency would be another boon to an integrated Caribbean community. It was noted that even Ecuador in South America is now using the American dollar.
Local business leader Edward Thomas, CEO and chairman of the board of the West Indian Company Ltd., will speak at 9 a.m. Thursday on the developing Caribbean cruise ship industry for the new economy.