Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Don't worry about these two days!

St George's College Photography Club
From my wise friend 'Aunt G'...
There are two days in every week about which we should not worry,
two days which should be kept free of fear and apprehension.
One of these days is Yesterday, with its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.
Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.
We cannot undo a single act we performed, we cannot erase a single
word we said. Yesterday is gone.
The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with its possible
adversities, its burdens, its larger promise.
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.
Tomorrow, the sun will rise, either in splendour or behind a mask of
clouds, but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow for it is as yet unborn.
This leaves only one day - TODAY.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities-
Yesterday and Tomorrow, that we break down.
It is not the experience of today that drives men mad,
it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday,
and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.
Author Unknown

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dr. Henry Lowe for US National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics

April 26, 2014: Renowned Jamaican research scientist and entrepreneur, Dr. the Hon. Henry Lowe has been invited to be the special guest presenter at the Eighth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, May 8-10, 2014 in Portland, Oregon, USA. The Conference is being sponsored by the University of California's, San Francisco School of Medicine. The Conference is being held under the theme "The Endocannabinoid System and Age-Related Illnesses". Its main purpose is to educate healthcare professionals, scientists and the public about cannabis (ganja) for the treatment of a variety of health related problems. In addition to examining the potential of cannabis as a treatment for many diseases, the policy, regulatory and institutional framework to create and enabling environment for the development of medical cannabis will also be assessed.  Several distinguished scientists and healthcare professionals will be participating and making presentations at this year's Conference.

Being the only presenter from this region, Dr. Lowe's invitation to speak at this Conference at this time is significant and underscores the extent of the recognition of his work in the applied sciences with special relevance to healthcare issues, and more particularly his knowledge and contributions to advance medical cannabis internationally. Dr. Lowe has done significant research and development (R&D) work on medical cannabis and is recognized as one of the pioneers of researching, developing and commercializing medical cannabis since the 1970s.  Dr. Lowe has developed strategic working relationships with scientists at the University of the West Indies, Mona as well as other academic and R&D institutions. 

Having recognized the social, health and economic demand and potential of medical cannabis, Dr. Lowe launched Medicanja Limited in December 2013, the first medical cannabis company aimed at undertaking cutting edge R&D on the medicinal potentials of cannabis as well as a variety of medicinal and healthcare products which can be part of the US multi-billion dollar market.  When Medicanja was launched, it created worldwide media attention, being reported through the global media network in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Australia as a major innovation with great promise for Jamaica and the world.

One of the major aspects of Dr. Lowe's presentation will be the potential use of cannabis in cancer therapy and to alleviate the symptoms associated with "Midlife Crises" such as anxiety and depression. Dr. Lowe et al recently published a comprehensive book on ganja entitled "Ganja – the Jamaican and Global Connection" which is a handbook for anyone interested in the medicinal aspects of cannabis. Highlights from the Conference will be shared with local scientists, doctors and policymakers by Dr. Lowe in an effort to support R&D and commercialization of medical cannabis in Jamaica.


EHF Group of Companies 
Tel: 927-3040
Email: ehfgroupofcompanies@gmail.com

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A resurrection for Jamaica?

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer column for 21 April 2014                                              THE announcement of new taxes took a bit of the flavour out of our Easter bun and cheese — in fact, some of us may have sliced these seasonal treats a little thinner when we heard that we had to find an additional $6.7 billion worth of taxes to close that ever-recurring gap in our $118-billion budget.
from go-jamaica.com
To make matters worse, water is scarce, and electricity is threatening a 21 per cent rate hike. We the honest residents of Jamaica are being asked to pay more to help cure others of their chronic electricity-theft habit. That 'freeness' mentality has been nurtured over the years by politicians of every stripe. When a thug gets a politician's 'hug', he is being given permission to 'take charge' of his constituents. 'Badman' throws up an illegal connection and you dare not touch it. 'Badman' becomes the hero of the poor, who emulate him, creating a critical mass of electricity 'takers' whom we must now subsidise.
'Badman' helps some of our councillors and MPs to keep these folks corralled in ghettos, pack them tightly in easy-to-control yards or complexes, and in campaign buses. Children become traumatised as the collective grief in their communities weighs heavily on their slight shoulders, stunting their self-esteem and making them easy prey for said 'badman'. All the 'Unite for Jamaica' ads cannot help us if our politicians are not practising what they preach.
Our beloved Jamaica has been crucified by some of the very folks who pledged to dedicate themselves to her development. Yes, there are some well-meaning politicians, but they have been very shy about demanding better of their less admirable colleagues. However, we now have the technology to monitor the behaviour and connections of the cynical ones. Let us use it to ensure that our lawmakers are worthy of this title. It is a hard truth that some of these, more absent than present as we watch them entertain themselves in the House, have such a serious mandate.
'Tough love' from the IMF
Our generous international friends may very well be becoming impatient. Governments and international development multilaterals have poured billions into this country and have heard a great deal of promises, but seen little change in the condition of the poor. Clearly Jamaica needs leadership of high calibre, both in intellect and character, to keep their trust. Let us be aware that our closest neighbours — Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba — are making great strides and have far more to offer than our tiny rock; this is no time for complacency. Indeed, the size and plight of our country in proportion to the largesse we have enjoyed should be cause for embarrassment on the part of Jamaica's leaders past and present.
Richard Byles - photo from JamaicaObserver.com
In a brief chat with that phenomenal multi-tasker Richard Byles, head of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), he suggested that the conditionalities set down by the IMF may end up being "one of the best things to have ever happened to Jamaica". He believes that this is the tough love that will help us to become more disciplined and productive.
Furthermore, we all need to be more courageous in promoting accountability and standing up to the victimisation that is rife in this country. Individuals may not be able to weather the backlash from being a whistle-blower, but well-organised groups, including key influencers, can. If we want a resurrection for Jamaica, now is the time to speak up and be counted. We must tell both the PNP and the JLP that their cosy little Gordon House members' club is presiding over the dumbing down of this nation at a time when only the brightest and most efficient can play a meaningful role in our development.
Taxes with a smile
A poor, unproductive nation will never be able to cough up the level of taxes being demanded. Yet, my friend in Norway, who pays far more than we do, declares: "I pay my taxes with a smile," because he sees what his money in paying for: accountable, no-frills government presiding over a well-run country. What is our large Cabinet doing about these hundreds of families huddled in unsanitary shacks?
Food for the Poor Jamaica Chairman Andrew Mahfood
If there is a news story about a dire situation, the volunteer chairman of Food for the Poor Jamaica, Andrew Mahfood, is on e-mail before 7:00 am asking for quick action. Last Saturday, over 5,000 less fortunate persons, most of them seniors, attended the Food for the Poor/Lions Club Health Fair, many in dire need of proper health management.
If our leaders want us to pay more taxes, they must display 'the urgency of now', in the words of Martin Luther King Jr, to take our poor out of their miserable circumstances. The technology exists to power a smaller, more-efficient government, so let us use it instead of overburdening the Jamaican taxpayer.
We are not saying that our leaders need to live like Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay, who donates 90 per cent of his salary to charity and lives in a humble neigbourhood, farming his property. However, it would help if our ministers, MPs and councillors acted like the servants of the people and not their masters.
The West Kingston tragedy
MP Desmond McKenzie
The recent shooting in West Kingston in which a 12-year-old boy was killed is a sad reminder of how difficult it is to wrest the control of a community from the hands of gangs once they are allowed to take hold. It is a frightening situation and we send our prayers to MP Desmond McKenzie, who has shown courage in the face of these challenges.
Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor has been steadfast in his security post there, and I recall an interview with him many years ago when he was assigned to East Kingston. He explained that he would go to the parties organised by the young people and try to get them involved in sports. He said that many of them would bury their guns and, if they were kept occupied, would forget the hiding places. A very observant man indeed, who went the extra mile in community policing.
Solar energy for Grand Palladium
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Her Excellency Celsa Nuño
We attended an informative PSOJ seminar on solar energy, co-sponsored by the Spanish Embassy in Jamaica and Sofos Jamaica Limited, which was established here two years ago by its parent company in Spain. The company recently completed a massive solar energy project for the Fiesta Group in the Dominican Republic and was recommended by them to the Palladium Hotel in Lucea, Hanover. They explained that the Grand Palladium's investment of US$3.45 million, with an annual savings of over US$730,000, will be recouped in just over four-and-a-half years.
Speaking at the event, Spanish Ambassador Celsa Nuño noted that successive governments of her country had been promoting renewable energy generation. She said the smallest of the Canary Islands, El Hierro — population 11,000 — is set to become the first island fully powered by renewable energy. It was pointed out that the sun provides 4,000 times the energy consumed globally and that Jamaica had one of the highest levels of solar irradiation in the world, making us ideal candidates for photovoltaic energy generation. We need not be slaves to electricity rates — let's do it.

Comments from The Jamaica Observer website ....

  • Our politicians past and present need to apologize to this country for wrecking it. They have brought this nation to its knees, and now even Haiti is making progress while we are still experiencing regression. And these shameless politicians show no sign of embarrassment or remorse, but they go about with high chest expecting they subjects to worship them. The atrocities committed by these people warrant some serious prison time.

    Between 1970 - 1980 Jamaica had a PNP admin
    Between 1980 - 1989 Jamaica had a JLP admin
    Between 1989 - 2007 Jamaica had a PNP admin
    Between 2007 - 2011 Jamaica had a JLP admin
    Between 2011 - Now PNP.
    If you was to take away the two JLP admin from the entire period 70's-now; do you think that Jamaica would be better off; socially and economically today ????.
    If you was also to take away the three PNP administration from the entire period; do you think that Jamaica would be better off; socially and economically today ???. The truthful answers to those two simple questions will clearly highlight why we are; where we are today.

    You point is blunt and can clearly bee seen. We must understand that the Garrison idea came to certain densely populated areas of Jamaica and force was used to intimidate people. This idea took root and right now it is going to take much willpower to come down from that hill. The police will have to use some creative ways to change people over time. When people get to see that there are other ways of surviving without violence it will catch on .
    Right now the only game in town may be tightening the belt and dancing to the tune of that IMF. It is going to take much political will and even sacrifice for any leader to emerge with a different direction to crime and violence. We can salute Desmond Mc Kenzie for taking a stand for which he is going to come under much fire !

  • A large cabinet is not the problem, the real problem is the large burdensome political structure- we need to reduce the number of MPs and replace the Parish councillors with County councillors with a drastic reduction in their numbers, and we need to stop paying pensions to part-time workers, ie politicians.
    The solar energy issue is not as simple as it this columnist seem to think it is.

    Jamaica politicians seem incapable of doing what is right for the greater good of everyone.

    You write so well, and always seem to seek to light a glimmer of hope in your columns. I appreciate it, but really long for the day when our grand hopes, or even the modest ones, are proven justified.
    One Love !

    Jamaica needs to be split up into three major divisions Corwall, Middlesex and Surrey, then Govern primarily by a representative of each division, Kingson the focal point for Surrey, Mandeville for Middlesex and Mobay for Cornwall under a federal Government off-course, in this way their would be more direct Governance and transparency each Governors should start hands on with the security Issue,and try to garner the earnings of their own division instead of everything going to Kingston,,The Country badly needs a make over starting with spatial and new political entity,,,MAY GOD HELP US!!!

    Very well written. You are spot on about needing an intellectual at the front of our great country....sadly that is lacking now!

    Down through the years, intellectuals have not had good track records leading governments.


    We should but it nah guh happen cause the PtB (powers that be) wont allow it. How will they be able to bleed us and suck our people dry if they cant impose sky high charges for energy, road use and cheap imports which only serve to destroy our local industries.

  • The country democratic process has been hijack all section of govenment is controlled and entrech to suit a political end Not to mention the media .We have a silent dictatorship even if the Government changes the structure and system will be still inplace supported by the churches civil groups,and the unions.Elections are a waste of time.Many of the political sympathisers are so disapointed because food not running fast now that they are pushing their representatives to target business people and the working poor to tax in order to put more in the eat a food/freeness basket. AS long as the media practise bigotry,hypocracy Jamaicas resurrection is an illusion .

    Norway is a very rich country,probably the richest on the planet ,while we should be doing better and could be doing better despite our history ,I don't think comparing poor poor Jamaica with rich rich Norway is fair .

  • well said the only problem is I don't believe Jamaica politicians have a clue about running a country I think they all just trying a thing how could both parties fail every time they get a chance to govern

  • Well pointed observations. I sometimes wonder if the politicians will ever own up to the gross deception of our people. The bundles of free cash delivered in scandal bags to keep constituents loyal have created an entitled generation bereft of the aptitude and inclination for hard work. Whether the IMF deal is a silver lining in the current economic climate is still left to be seen. However, your point on Solar power is spot on. Its no secret that we are blessed with an abundance of this resource, yet surprisingly, large scale commercial interest still lags significantly behind fossil fuel.

Christine Craig for DRP Writers' Retreat!

Photo: I'll be in Highgate next month -I'm so looking forward to being there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Norman Girvan on his life - One Thing Led to Another

The late Prof Norman Girvan who died on April 11 this year

Influences on my choice of subjects and approach

Norman Girvan  - Autobiography written in October 2007 – shared by Dr Trevor Golding
My field is the political economy of development. My work has been mainly concerned with the harmful effects of certain metropolitan institutions on the development of the Caribbean and other areas of the Global South, leading to strategies for independent development and self-empowerment. Within this broad approach, I have addressed issues and case studies in foreign investment and multinational corporations, dependency, technology, the IMF, debt, social development, Caribbean integration and the relationship between power and development knowledge.
I realise that this is a somewhat wide range of subjects, but one thing always led to another, and the connecting thread is there. I get particular satisfaction from examining inter-relationships among issues that are normally compartmentalised; and relating them to a bigger picture. Over the years I have also mixed academic work with forays into the world of government and international organisations related to these subjects. 

I was born in Jamaica in the early 1940s; a time when the society was emerging from colonial rule. My father had thrown himself into the community development movement spearheaded by Jamaica Welfare and the nationalist project of ‘building a new Jamaica’; I think much of his passion must have rubbed off on me. At Calabar High School in the 1950s, we were fortunate to have a group of talented and capable teachers, possessed of a nationalist ethos and devoted to their calling. I learnt about the Arawaks and Rastafari in second form and about Toussaint and Christophe in the fourth; was immersed in the great Shakespearean political dramas; and studied the momentous political movements of the 20th century. 

Class sizes were relatively small and there was intense student-teacher interaction, which lent itself to what is now called ‘critical thinking’. History, literature and Spanish were my favourite subjects; evidently this was a major influence on the issues I later to chose to address and on the way I addressed them. 

 In 1959 I won a scholarship to study economics at the University College of the West Indies. There was much excitement—Arthur Lewis had just been appointed Principal, and the West Indies Federation had been launched. In remembering C.L.R. James and New World and its Critics, I try to evoke the spirit of my Mona days. Significant intellectual influences included Roy Augier, M.G. Smith, Lloyd Best and Alister McIntyre. Fellow students Orlando Patterson and Walter Rodney were among my closest friends. 

I entered Mona as a Jamaican nationalist and left as a Caribbean regionalist. I have never recognised a contradiction between the two; the one melds into the other seamlessly; and I believe that anyone who thinks otherwise either does not know our history, or chooses to deny it. Regionalism is a passion and a recurring subject of my work.  

 In 1962 I received another scholarship to do my doctorate at the London School of Economics. My thesis was on the contribution of foreign capital to Jamaica’s economic development in the post-war period; this was motivated largely by the ‘industrialisation by invitation’ policies of the time. Jamaica had experienced a growth boom due largely to investment in the bauxite industry; but I concluded that the growth was not self-sustaining because the required structural changes in the economy had not taken place (this was confirmed after 1972, when the investment cycle in bauxite came to an end). I attributed this in part to the effects of foreign-owned institutions in the economy, particularly in the bauxite industry and the financial sector, and to the pattern of public expenditure financed by foreign loans. 

But it was the subject of bauxite and the multinational corporations (MNCs) that most excited me; and this was what I pursued in my early post-doctoral work.  My thesis was that corporate vertical integration of the MNCs discouraged the kind of integration of the mining sector with the host economies that was required for it to realise its potential contribution to development. Inputs were sourced externally, raw materials were processed abroad, production could not be adequately taxed, and profits were reinvested abroad. So I argued that regional bauxite exporters should form an association to negotiate jointly with the MNCs, increase taxation, secure state participation in ownership, and implement a regional industrialisation strategy. My monograph on the subject was part of the UWI Integration Studies best known for the seminal study by Havelock Brewster and Clive Thomas and was meant to be one element in a comprehensive programme of regional economic transformation. I subsequently generalised the analysis to the case of multinational corporations in mineral-export economies in the Caribbean and Latin America; this paper was prepared for the plantation economy study project of Lloyd Best and Kari Levitt. 

My work on bauxite became associated with policy initiatives such as the nationalisation of bauxite in Guyana and ownership localisation in Jamaica, the formation of the International Bauxite Association and Jamaica’s bauxite production levy (I acted as a government adviser for the first two of these). My book on Corporate Imperialism represents a kind of synthesis of this line of my work.
 Immediately after completing my doctorate in early 1966 I had joined the UWI Economics department at St Augustine; later that year I transferred to Mona, where I taught until 1973. During those years I was active in the New World Group (I served as Chairman of the Mona Group in 1966-1969) a Pan-Caribbean intellectual movement that aimed to indigenise economic and social thought in the region. I was also associated with the Abeng newspaper during its brief existence in 1969, which combined Black Nationalism and Marxism in a radical race/class perspective on Jamaica. 

In 1969/1970 I spent time in Latin America (mostly Chile), on a Ford Foundation/ISER Fellowship and then at the Economic Growth Center of Yale University on a postdoctoral fellowship to further the work on MNCs and the mineral industry. The study of Chilean copper was one of the results.
My interest in Latin American dependencia thinking was a natural outgrowth of work on MNCs and Caribbean dependency; the similarities were obvious, and I returned to Chile for two months in 1972 to do research comparing the Latin American and Caribbean dependency schools. Another product was a think piece on the Political Economy of Race in the Caribbean and Latin America that has attracted some interest. Contact with Latin America heightened my awareness the region’s rich intellectual tradition and more sensitive to the cultural prejudices that cause the Anglo-Saxon world either to ignore it or to belittle its importance.   

In 1973 I resigned from UWI to take up an appointment at the UN’s African Institute for Development and Planning (IDEP) in Dakar, on an invitation from Samir Amin, then Director. My main responsibility was to develop IDEP’s research and teaching on multinational corporations. It was around this time that I began to work on the subject of technology transfer--I had earlier done a study of transfer of technology arrangements in Jamaica, and MNCs were the main channel in which this was supposedly taking place. When I returned to the Caribbean in 1975 it was to coordinate a regional (University of Guyana/UWI) project of technology policy studies that had been developed by Maurice Odle. The task was intellectually challenging in that the team of researchers was both regional and multidisciplinary. My contribution was to propose a conceptual framework of technological dependence, technological underdevelopment and technological dysfunctionality for interpreting the Caribbean situation; and then to identify policies for capability development to break the vicious cycle. My own book on the subject was one of four which resulted from this project (Owen Arthur, the current Prime Minister of Barbados, was a member of the project team and co-authored of one of these). 

 By the time the studies were published the policy environment had changed, and the kind of active technology strategies we proposed were discouraged by the Washington Consensus of the 1980s and prohibited by the TRIPS agreement under the WTO in the 1990s. The TRIPS agreement is now widely recognised as being inimical to the interests of the developing countries, as I pointed out in my Patel lecture. I believe that the conclusions of the CTPS studies are relevant today.

Around the time that the technology studies were being completed I got caught up in the ideological debates over democratic socialism in Jamaica and the role of the IMF. By early 1977 I had joined the Michael Manley administration in Jamaica as head of the government’s planning agency, in order to oversee the preparation of a ‘people’s plan’ as an alternative to the proposed IMF programme. The plan was completed in record time, with several thousand suggested projects coming from the general population. The government nonetheless negotiated an IMF loan, believing that it was the only means of staving off complete economic collapse. I stayed on to prepare a five year development plan.
Within less than four years, and after two failed IMF programmes, the Manley administration was voted out of office. The experience taught me a great deal about the real world of government, economics and politics. My reflections on the lessons learnt continued for several years: initially I focused on the role of the IMF; subsequently I emphasised the nature and dynamics of the internal political economy as decisive factors in the failed experiment. My paper for the Conference on the 1970s, Not for Sale, should be read by anyone with an interest in that turbulent period and in my interpretation of events.

Shortly after the fall off the Manley Administration, in 1981, I accepted an appointment in the research arm of the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations in New York. This was my first experience as an international civil servant. The work was interesting—I prepared a chapter in the Centre’s Third Survey on TNCs, and studies of TNCs and the transfer of technology and of their role in non-fuel primary commodities; the last being a kind of reprise of my earlier work on bauxite.
But it was also frustrating—although the Centre was created to strengthen the hands of developing countries in dealing with transnationals, we were not allowed to publish anything that might offend the Americans or the Russians. During this period, I also directed a series of month-long training workshops on technology transfer and development in Africa and the Caribbean; my book with Kurt Hoffman distils the substance of what we learnt and tried to communicate in this project.

In 1985, I was happy to return to Jamaica and to academic life at the Consortium Graduate School of Social Sciences on the Mona Campus of the UWI; first as a faculty member, and then as Director from 1987. Here I was challenged to provide leadership for an experimental multidisciplinary programme of postgraduate training in the applied social sciences. I view with satisfaction the fact that under my stewardship the CGS produced around 100 graduates, many of whom went on to make notable contributions in academia and government; and established a reputation for excellence in research and multidisciplinary studies.
 The responsibility also encouraged a degree of cross-disciplinary excursion on my part. I found myself engaged in Rethinking Development as well as discussing Jamaica’s external debt; in reflecting on Jamaica’s experience in community development as well as researching the impact of new information technology; in speculating on the relationship between economics and the environment as well as bemoaning the social consequences of Jamaica’s currency liberalisation.
Cross-disciplinary orientation is most explicit in a book resulting from the conference on Poverty, Empowerment and Social Development and a monograph on the Caribbean rather provocatively entitled ‘Societies at risk?’

During my CGS years I began to think of myself as a kind of ‘transdisciplinary political economist’--a hybrid creature that does not command ready acceptance in an academic environment marked by increasing disciplinary specialisation and compartmentalisation. For the same reason my idea that the CGS model of postgraduate training could form the basis for the creation of a single graduate faculty in the social sciences did not find favour with colleagues in the regular departments.  The epistemological issues related to inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinarity were explored in a paper I co-authored with Kirk Meighoo. Although interest in this subject appears to have died; I believe there would be value in revisiting it. My recent report on a Vision for Caricom employs a holistic multidisciplinary perspective; and its positive reception suggests that this might be an effective approach for building stakeholder consensus around developmental goals.

Another aspect of my work in this period was Caribbean integration. In 1987 I had helped to found the Association of Caribbean Economists (ACE), the brainchild of my colleague George Beckford, as a pan-Caribbean association of economists in the critical tradition of the New World Group. ACE has held regional conferences and workshops and published books on structural adjustment, the social aspects of development, alternative development strategies and regional integration.
I was particularly interested in strengthening links between the English and non-English speaking countries of the region as a means of enhancing their sovereignty in the wider world and especially vis-a-vis the hegemon of the North. For instance, there was the need for collaboration in confronting the challenges posed by the FTAA project.

The opportunity to work on this ‘from the inside’ came when I accepted election as the Second Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to serve from February 2000 to February 2004. My efforts were aimed at rationalising and prioritising the ACS’s programme by focusing on functional cooperation in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters; and to ‘build bridges’ between the English- and non-English speaking countries.

I succeeded in the first task but not as well in the second. Caricom countries tend to give priority to building the CSME and to their extra-regional trade relations; the Central Americans opted for a trade agreement with the US (CAFTA-DR), and the countries of the Group of 3 and Cuba have preferred to pursue their regional goals through bilateral programmes. The ACS experience is evaluated in my book, Cooperation in the Greater Caribbean. During these years I did a number of occasional lectures on various aspects of Caribbean integration, and wrote a weekly newspaper column; many of these can be still be found on the ACS website or in the book.
On leaving the ACS I returned again to academic life; at the UWI’s Institute for International Relations in St. Augustine, Trinidad, as Professorial Research Fellow. I have continued to work on Caribbean integration, specifically the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), focusing on the problem of the ‘implementation deficit’, issues of sovereignty, and the limited benefits expected from a purely market-centred approach to integration. I have proposed that the vision for the Community’s development should be all-encompassing, and not just about trade. My report on this subject was approved by the Caricom Heads of Government as a framework for the future development of the region. Currently I assist the Caricom Secretariat by coordinating the preparation of a Regional Strategic Development Plan.
I have also deepened my interest in the development of Caribbean economic thought and on issues of knowledge and power. This subject has become topical because of growing disenchantment with neo-liberalism (and its correlate, corporate-led globalisation) and renewed interest in contextually grounded economic analysis. It was interesting to revisit Caribbean dependency thought after a break of over three decades and to speculate on its contemporary relevance. This review led to papers on the New World Group, on the contribution of Arthur Lewis, and on the relationship between Lewis’s work and that of the plantation school. I have drawn on this work to explore issues of policy autonomy   in the Global South.
A recent paper on power imbalances and development knowledge is an overview of North-South relations from a political economy perspective and on the use of knowledge as an instrument of domination/empowerment. I subscribe to the view that true sovereignty begins with independent and critical thought, which this must remain the goal for those who have been subjected to centuries of colonisation and metropolitan imposition of one kind or another.
 One particularly enjoyable offshoot of my work has been preparing tributes to outstanding individuals with whom I have been associated in one way or another. These include George Beckford, Lloyd Best, John and Angela Cropper, my father D.T.M. Girvan, C.L.R. James, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Arthur Lewis, Michael Manley, and Surendra Patel.  These appreciations have helped me to better understand the intellectual, social and political currents that shaped me personally and the times in which I lived. 
The years have passed quickly: I am still startled when I meet young people who were not yet born at the time of the New World Group, the Rodney Riot in Jamaica, Trinidad’s Black Power Revolution, or the 1970s. Absence of personal memory is understandable, less so is absence of knowledge of these and other events, and of the people who helped to make them, among the younger generation. We cannot chart our future unless we know our past; nor can we see further than those who came before us unless we ‘stand upon their shoulders’.
Reading is a constant source of pleasure and discovery; and I enjoy writing even more now that the pressures of academic publication are absent. The world has obviously changed a great deal since the 1960s: to old problems, such as global inequality, have been added new and infinitely more complex issues, notably the environmental crisis. In my youth the fear for the future of mankind was of nuclear annihilation; today it is of damaging our planetary life-support systems beyond repair. It is also astonishing to me that the kind of 19th century imperialism that was thought to have been banished by the middle of the 20th century, has returned with renewed force in the 21st. I do not see how thinking and informed people of today can fail to address these issues; or at least can fail to take account of them in the work that they do.
Norman Girvan
October 18, 2007