For the last two years CIGI has been hosting a Caribbean Economic Governance research project which has produced a number of reports covering issues deemed relevant for the Caribbean region’s economic future. These reports have been published in CIGI’s Caribbean Papers series and cover themes ranging from trade, services, human capital (for example, diasporas), public sector management practices, and investment.
As part of its aim to achieve legitimacy and consensus through dialogue, partnership building and dissemination, a workshop was organised in conjunction with the Institute for International Relations at the UWI campus in Trinidad on November 20, 2009. The event was held ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The pre-CHOGM workshop offered the opportunity to introduce the latest set of papers from the Caribbean series to a wide audience. These papers continue the emphasis on development and growth seen in the previous papers, and highlight the role of services such as communications or maritime and air transport in the region’s future. Some of the papers consider the role of social partnerships and assess the themes of sovereignty and statehood and their implications for the region.
The papers and presentations generated lively discussions throughout the day with representatives from the European Union (EU) noting the strength of the work, specifically the research done on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), as an example of the kind of research which is needed in the Caribbean. The work was marked as being essential in assisting not only Caribbean governments but also development partners such as the EU in designing and assessing the impact of their policies in the Caribbean.
Among the very diverse audience were representatives from the EU, the Caribbean Court of Justice, private, public and non-profit sectors, students and a number of senior regional scholars. These partnerships are vital in ensuring both the credibility of the project and the dissemination of its results throughout the region.
The papers were well-received; the value of such work in filling the gap in Caribbean-specific data and analyses was noted by some, while others called for the research to be sustained over time — an important consideration given CIGI’s desire to provide pertinent policy related insights on issues relevant to the Caribbean’s present and future growth prospects. The latter request was made given the interest in assessing the long-term impact of trade agreements such as the EPA on Caribbean economies.
Beyond the workshop, delegates (Dr. Alvin Curling and Dr. Indianna D. Minto-Coy) from the Caribbean Economic Governance Project also attended the Commonwealth Business Forum and a number of related events where they were able to discuss some of the findings of the project through the distribution of papers in the Caribbean series and via discussions. They also attended networking events with senior representatives from the Trinidad and Tobago Investment Promotion Agency, representatives from various private companies and scholars such as Joseph Stiglitz.
CIGI Senior Fellow Alvin Curling also participated in a number of television interviews and meetings with senior officials in the Trinidad and Tobago government. These provided additional outlets for dissemination and dialogue about CIGI and the work being done within the Caribbean Economic Governance Project.