“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:29-30

This week, here is an amalgam of web feeds which may inspire hope for the future of the Caribbean.

(1) The VISION: ” Dr. C. Fred Bergsten Director Emeritus of the Peterson Institute, has suggested that the upswing in the global economy will filter down to the Caribbean. He said that the worst of the global recession has passed and the region must now look to new economic interests as it repositions itself. According to Bergsten, the Caribbean must look towards new partnerships and linkages with the world’s emerging markets; Latin America, Brazil and more so East Asia and China”.

“The truth is neither North America or Western Europe are the new dynamic leaders of the world economy. The emerging markets of developing countries around the globe now account for the half of the world economy, they are growing three times as fast as high income, traditional economic power houses and that’s where the dynamism is. He believes China is a potential goldmine for the region’s tourism dependent economies which have been losing their market share in the US and British markets”.

“China is already the second largest spender in tourism in the world, over a 100 billion dollars but it’s only just begun. China is going to explode as a source of tourism. There is going to be a tsunami of Chinese tourists flooding the world over the next several decades and if the Caribbean can get a small slice of that huge market it would do wonders for the economy. Bergsten believes Tourism is the game changer for the Caribbean – which he says already has a competitive edge. He tells Caribbean countries to pool their resources to cash in on the lucrative Chinese market”.

(2) The ACTION by Trinidad and Tobago as Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar visited China last week: “Chinese President Xi Jinping, recalling his state visit to Trinidad and Tobago in June last year, said he was deeply impressed with the hospitality of the Trinidadian people and that he was glad to see the consensus reached then with the prime minister being implemented in recent months. As 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, China is ready to work together with Trinidad and Tobago to seek more convergence of interests, plan medium- and long-term cooperation, push ahead with key projects, enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and cement friendship, Xi told the visiting prime minister”.

“PM Persad-Bissessar said the visit gave her a better idea about prospects for cooperation and that the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation is connected with hopes for a better future in Trinidad and Tobago. She said her country is willing to boost cooperation with China politically, economically and culturally in pursuit of common development and that Trinidad and Tobago will play an active role in promoting cooperation between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries”.

(3) The ACTION across the Caribbean pond in Barbados as Barbados’ Ambassador to China, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, arrived in China last week. “Before leaving Barbados it was reported that Dr Brathwaite believes that there are tremendous benefits to be derived from having a renewed and strengthened relationship with China. China has made great advances in the areas of technology, renewable energy, and also tourism that can benefit our tourist industry. Of course it is not only about China, but the whole of South-East Asia… and the growth that has taken place in that part of the world in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand. And I believe we are doing the right thing in strengthening our embassy in China”.

(4) The West Indies has an attractive, globally recognised cricketing brand as well as nine active and attractive test playing venues – OUR HERITAGE. We are fooling around with it. Here is an Excerpt from Anu Lakhan’s article in the May/June 2005 issue of the BWIA Caribbean Beat: “There is nothing more West Indian than cricket. There may be things that are more Trinidadian or Guyanese, or things that come more readily to mind when we think of Jamaica or Antigua – idiosyncrasies of each country in the chain – but no institution of government, trade or culture has been more enduring. Indeed, it might be more accurate to consider it not the most West Indian thing, but the only true West Indian thing, the only thing that belongs equally to all the countries that comprise the West Indies”.

(5) The OPPORTUNITY for a link between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Chinese cricket team: “The Chinese cricket team is the team that represents the People’s Republic of China in international cricket. The Chinese Cricket Association became an International Cricket Council affiliate member in 2004. The Special administrative region of Hong Kong is a member of the ICC in their own right, becoming an ICC associate member in 1969. In 2009 the Chinese Cricket Association set itself ambitious goals as follows: In 2009: Have 720 teams across the country in a well-organised structure; in 2015: Have 20,000 players and 2,000 coaches; 2019: Qualify for the World Cup in England and Wales; and 2020: Gain Test status”. They are proceeding apace. How can the WICB leverage this opportunity to market their cricketing brand to the Chinese?

(6) The COMMITMENT by the Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados Embassies in China to collaborate and put the Caribbean on the economic recovery map – tourism and cricket for starters.

Keep company with Him and Caribbean Commitment in China will be easily achieved.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org)