Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents MAY 2013 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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At one time, a Caribbean nation
stood at the front of a movement
of small, developing nations trying
to assert their place in the world.
This "non-aligned" movement,
with Cuba taking the lead, stood
in defiance of the great world pow-
ers who, at the time, demanded
allegiance to either the capitalist
American model of governance or
the socialist Soviet model.
While the Cold War is over and
the non-aligned movement has
been relegated to an interesting
footnote in history, it appears as
though another coalition of small
nations is attempting to voice its
defiance of the influence wielded
by the powerful of the world. And
again, it appears as though a
Caribbean nation is attempting to
take the lead in this movement.
Last month, Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar addressed
an assembly of the United Nations.
In her remarks, she outlined the
concerns of small nations of the
world when it comes to interna-
tional financial institutions and
how they interact with these small
The most notable subjects of
this address were the World Bank
and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and how they interact
with small and vulnerable states.
The Prime Minister noted the
perceived risks involved when
these lending institutions do busi-
ness with small states and offered praise
for reforms that have been made that
appear to reflect a concern for small
state loan recipients.
However, Persad-Bissessar went on
to add that "a gap still persists" and
"the old approach is not working."
Small and developing states continue
to struggle with the terms and con-
ditions that come with aid from these
international financial institutions. This
is partly due to the fact that the terms
and criteria are developed by institu-
tions from large states in near isolation
from the smaller states that they are
intended to be investing in and devel-
The Prime Minister noted many
decisions regarding international eco-
nomics and finance are made by G20
states and imposed on smaller and
developing states with no regard to
how those decisions will affect them.
She laid out her argument as one of
justice denied to the many small states
of the world.
To remedy this economic injustice,
she called for the creation of a "more
inclusive and consultative mechanism"
within the IMF that would assure that
small economies have a voice in inter-
national finance. She called for further
realignment of the chairs of the IMF
executive board to reflect the concerns
of small economies of the world.
This address before the United
Nations was coupled with her visit to
the Inter-American Development Bank
in Washington where the Prime Min-
ister raised the issue of the declining
number of Caribbean nationals with
senior management positions.
The Prime Minister is not the only
one who has raised the issue that
financing the governance of small states
requires different thinking and different
practices than are typically demanded
of these large, multinational financial
Winston Dookeran, then minister of
finance, was addressing a meeting of
Eclac (Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean) in 2011
when he spoke of a "new diplomacy
in international affairs for small states."
He, too, called for a review of how
small states and small economies are
represented in international financial
"Some of us have found ourselves
in an appendage relationship with a
larger country, which doesn t neces-
sarily represent a common interest."
In an effort to be the leader of the
dialogue, Dookeran went on to suggest
that all small economies should have
a role in the decision-making process
when it comes to these development
loans that have such a dramatic effect
on the future of these small economies.
The activism of Trinidadian politi-
cians is of note because the nation is
not reliant upon these institutions for
While T&T desires foreign direct
investment to help stimulate and grow
the economy, the energy sector pro-
vides a solid economic foundation
which negates the need that many
small states have to acquire loans from
institutions like the IMF and World
Bank simply to pay their debts.
This advocacy of some of T&T s
leading political figures could be an
attempt to lift the country up as a
leader amongst the small nations of
the world. If the strategy works and
the small states of the world were able
to persuade the international financial
sector to look at small state assistance
differently, it could be of great benefit
to the many small nations that take
on debt in an effort to grow their
Winning a David versus Goliath bat-
tle of this nature would most assuredly
enhance the prestige of T&T globally,
perhaps thrusting it into a globally-
respected position similar to that held
by Cuba some 40 years ago.
---MICHAEL W EDGHILL
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar at the United Nations General Assembly
Thematic debate, The UN and Global Economic Governance, last month.
Incredibly smart people
really do accomplish a lot
1IN 10,000: A study of 320 people
whose test scores prior to age 13
placed them in the top 1 out of
10,000 in reasoning ability shows that
their achievements by age 38 were
truly dazzling, reports a team led by
Harrison J Kell of Vanderbilt University.
The group achieved 2,749 awards and
significant accomplishments, for an av-
erage of 8.6 per person. Twenty-four
individuals produced 128 creative writ-
ten works; 52 produced 1,069 fine-arts
achievements (one person generated
500 musical productions); 59 produced
392 science and tech publications; 117
developed software; 31 received more
than $25 million in grants; one founded
three companies; and another raised
more than $65 million in private equity
investment for his company.
(Source: Psychological Science.)
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