The Caribbean Papers

About the series

CIGI's Caribbean Papers present and discuss policy issues pertaining to trade, investment, human capital, the fiscal outlook and public sector management practices, among other issues, relevant to the Caribbean region's economic future.

In the Series

The port structure of the Caribbean has been heavily influenced by global change over the last 200 years. The historical context — colonialism, piracy and slavery — meant that ports were originally designed to serve colonial interests. The advent of containerization and globalization have dramatically changed cargo shipping, while at the same time, cruise tourism has increased significantly — the Caribbean accounts for 50 percent of the global market — which means that cargo and cruise ships now compete for limited berth space.
The effects of the ongoing global financial crisis have intensified the existing economic issues facing the Commonwealth Caribbean, including declining investment, productivity levels and employment opportunities for its citizens. Although the current crisis presents challenges for governments in the region, it also offers an opportunity for these countries to implement innovative solutions to contend with the short-term effects of the financial crisis, while addressing long-standing problems. A solution that has been successful in Botswana, Ireland and Barbados, is the use of social partnerships. Undertaken while these countries were facing economic and social crises, social partnership as a specific governance model allowed them to achieve levels of development and stability that other states yearn to attain.
Growth in the Caribbean region has been on a downward trajectory for two decades. The region is showing dangerous signs of sinking under the weight of excessive introspection — the real debate concerns how to enable change. The Caribbean is not globally competitive, but dependent. The cost of living is high, ratcheted up by inefficient ports, monopolistic transport markets, high fees and taxes. The appearance of “openness” in trade and finance hides protectionism. The economic framework in the Caribbean is shaped by the political structure, making it difficult for governments to alter the economic structure — where state employment tends to be high, few political parties will risk the wrath of public sector workers. Real change has not been undertaken because the current situation in the Caribbean suits the people with influence.
This publication is a compilation of summaries and abstracts of previously released and forthcoming Caribbean Papers. Summaries included cover topics such as regional transportation, the communications industry, national and regional identity, migration and social partnerships.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be a powerful enabler of growth and development. For the countries of CARIFORUM, beset by small internal markets, loss of preferential trade advantages, a downturn in demand for their traditional products and vulnerability to global
economic pressures, the transformation to a knowledge-based, ICT-intensive society could assist in propelling the region toward desired levels of growth and development. However, access and affordability, lack of infrastructure, fragmented policy and regulatory frameworks and differential levels of educational attainment, among other issues, are hindering progress toward that goal. This paper distills the critical qualities and interventions required for the Caribbean to benefit from global innovations in ICTs.
This publication is a compilation of summaries and abstracts of previously released and forthcoming Caribbean Papers. Summaries included cover topics such as regional transportation, the communications industry, national and regional identity, migration and social partnerships.
Dialogue on diasporas and their role in the development of the home country has grown in the last twenty years and Caribbean states have begun to identify ways they can engage their nationals residing abroad in this process. Those in the region looking to harness the power of the diaspora have turned their attention to the example of Ireland, a country with a large diaspora that has contributed significantly to its national advancement. By highlighting the lessons of the Irish experience, this paper argues that while the Caribbean's diaspora has the desire to contribute and does help through remittances, there remain a number of challenges to this participation including perceptions of security and stability, establishing the conditions necessary for attracting investment and a lack of confidence in government institutions in the region.
The importance of an efficient and effective public service in the delivery of economic and social development is a long-standing theme of development policy. To this end, comprehensive public sector reform has become a major feature in many developing countries in recent years. This paper examines the recent experience of the Commonwealth Caribbean with a particular focus on the successes and failures of New Public Management (NPM) as a strategy for reform. It begins by briefly examining the institutional environment that has shaped public administration and public management in the Commonwealth Caribbean and then examines some of the principal ideas behind NPM, distinguishing it from the previous dominant paradigm of development administration. The paper then identifies three key issues that have emerged in the reform process: the political-administrative interface; the private sector as a model for the public sector; and the human resource dimension of managing change. In each case the background to reform is given along with the NPM solution to the problem and a case study exemplifying how it has worked out in practice. The paper concludes by discussing two key dimensions of the NPM experience: its internationalization and the importance of politics in promoting and sustaining a successful public sector reform program. Te final section examines some of the main lessons of reform and what direction it might take in the future.