During The 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this past September, one of the Caribbean’s own, a political heavyweight from Barbados, spoke to approximately 200 national representatives in New York. Mia Mottley’s presence at the podium energized this group of diplomates, with the hope that the super-powers of this world will take the plight of smaller nations seriously especially during this pandemic crisis.
The Caribbean as a whole has benefited from the assistance given it, mostly from US authorities. The US has supplied over 40 million doses to many of the Caribbean and Latino populations. China has offered approximately one million to specific governments friendly to the Chinese. A form of political sleight of hand is going on in this part of the world, where vaccines are offered as payment for resources and services to be rendered at a later date, all benefiting the giving governments.
Many of the island nations have done well vaccinating their populations, such as Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic. Other nations not so well, such as Jamaica, Grenada and St. Lucia whose population has been vaccinated at low levels, perhaps 25 per cent. Availability of vaccines combines with the economic issues that exist due to the property destruction and misplacement of the population due to fierce seasonal storms and earthquakes in Haiti. Due to these health restrictions the usual services given the island nations during such crises are on hold, difficult to acquire or proceeding very slowly.
The nations of this world who have, usually share with the have-not nations, except when a global health crisis exists. Nationalism raises its ugly head, and the needs of the few will outweigh the needs of the many. The First World’s population’s needs trump those of the other nations of the world.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley called out the United Nations and its many powerful national members to not forget the Little Guy. Like the “mouse that roared”, the Barbadian used forceful images and words to direct everyone’s attention to her part of the world, and also to many global smaller nations.
I hope Mia Mottley’s attention-grabber was as forceful and effective as Nikita Khrushchev historic shoe-slapping event. As we move out of this crisis pandemic mode the great powers will once again ignore the plight and needs of the smaller nations of the world. It is only natural for them to do so.
Perhaps it is time the Caribbean’s leaders and those of all smaller nations realize that only through unity and collective action can the little guys’ needs be met. The powerful nations of the world cared for their own first, and then shared the leftovers. Unite the Caribbean like it has not been done before. Meet all of the islands’ selfish needs through strict community planning and management. Establish an economic and political alliance with Canada, a large nation with a small population. Like Prime Minister Mottley, think our side of the box. It is the only way The Caribbean can develop into a self-sufficient region.