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Come What May in November….!

Campbell’s Commentary: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Good day folks. Another day to rejoice in the Lord! In this crazy, silly election season for the presidency of these United States of America, I wake up thanking God that the greater portion of the craziness is over and done, the debate portion. And if you agree with me, say AMEN!

The real deal (early voting) has started and will continue through Super Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Election Day! I must admit that the media campaign, the TV portion that is in my face, up close and personal, is becoming something of an overkill. Well, an overkill to me but certainly not to the media house raking in the big bucks. What is good for them is that, that is live cash. ‘Dem nah tek no check.’ Politicians are not allowed to owe, they are given no credit, come election time and rightly so, because when the campaigning is over and the votes are counted, if the result is not in their favor, they go underground, leaving a half starving, commission only, sales rep like me, without food for days, months even!

Well, that was in my previous life. I’m older, smarter and more handsome now! I will not be scammed again. Never!

Folks, I hope I am the only one but come what ‘May in November’ (sic), I can’t wait for this unnecessary and unwanted punishment to end, especially when you consider that these two candidates do not make one! Badly flawed characters making for very questionable leadership. It’s like..damn if you do and damn if you don’t! Personally, I can’t blame those who have already packed their bags!

And while we await the results of this most pivotal presidential election in the 240 year history of this great nation, something else is worthy of our attention from the viewpoint of the migrant Caribbean community, often referred to as the Caribbean Diaspora.

More and more, governments of the Caribbean region are calling on its Diaspora to help bankroll their development agendas. Some have even gone the troublesome route of selling state property and citizenship to the highest bidder.

The USA, police to the region if not the world, is not happy with this latest development and has asked the guilty parties to cease and desist.

There is no more ‘cold war’, or so we are made to believe. We know that Cuba is back in the bedroom but the air is stiff…oops, pardon the pun! Still too much clothes on, and too little fun going on. The relationship will need a little more time to thaw but China is already causing a commotion. Seizing on this vacuum, she is spreading love and affection, like the new girl on the block at summertime.

So here comes ‘Action Barack’, the lame duck president, sending an emissary to Brooklyn, NY, regarded by most as the epicenter of the Caribbean community/constituency/Diaspora…all of the above! And what is the message? That the Caribbean Diaspora is absent from the discourse on foreign policy.

If you were paying any attention to the election campaign, you know what American foreign policy (AFP) is/is not. Put another way, AFP has nothing to do with the bedroom and romance. It’s not about sleeping with the enemy as some comic’s definition of marriage!

The USA wants more input on its foreign policy deliberations from Caribbean nationals. Seriously?

I know you don’t believe me and that’s fine, perfectly normal, but just take a minute to read this CMC account of that meeting in Brooklyn this past Summer.

A top United States official is calling on Caribbean nationals in the United States to help shape Washington’s foreign policy.

“Our diversity is our strength, and it needs to move faster,” said Juan Gonzalez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean at the US Department of State as he addressed a panel discussion on the Caribbean Diaspora at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.

The event, which examined the social and economic problems facing Caribbean nations, was organized by Medgar Evers College and the US Department of State.

It represented the first-ever partnership between the college in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn and the US Department of State to, “underscore the deep connections between the US and the Caribbean,” according to Medgar Evers College.

 “I would encourage you to join us and to help show how our foreign policy is designed,” said Gonzalez, one of the three panelists.

The others were; Lowell Hawthorne, the Jamaican-born president and chief executive officer of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, and Dr. Sheilah Paul, Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Education at Medgar Evers College, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago.

The discussion was moderated by veteran journalist Tony Best, of Barbados.

Gonzalez said extant US policy towards the Caribbean surrounds education, security and energy security, lamenting that the Caribbean pays more than the rest of the world for energy.

“If we can help the Caribbean, it’ll have implications for the world,” he said.

On exchange, Gonzalez said the goal is to have 100,000 students study in the Caribbean, stating that President Obama earlier this year launched the Young Future Leaders initiative to aid, among others, Caribbean young scholars.

The State Department official said the US has a “special interest in the Caribbean,” which is aimed at seeing “prosperity and security” in the region thrive, disclosing that Washington has provided US$427million to the Caribbean since 2011.

“The Caribbean Diaspora is an incredible force,” Gonzalez said, adding “the community here can have an impact on the Caribbean.”

He said that he migrated to the US, when he was only seven years old, adding that “this country affords lots of opportunities.”

Gonzalez said the Caribbean Diaspora can influence US foreign policy in much the same way as the Colombian American community.

I have said it in this forum before. China is buying its way in the Caribbean. ‘Money for honey’ disguised as development via modernization that will lead to economic growth and prosperity for all, not just some. We have seen is the last 3-5 years where the political opposition has used this Chinese development dynamic to create a new political paradigm in the region. Those who pass this off as idle, empty promise, do so at their own partisan, political peril!

The USA was always uncomfortable with Cuba being the much loved stepchild of Moscow and the Kremlin. Not anymore. Big, bad, bold and beautiful Barack from Chicago, is making sure that his legacy has some positives to it, so his latest affection for the Caribbean is not without precedent. You will remember that this past June, lawmakers in Washington, DC, made their intentions known that the Caribbean region and its Diaspora must be seen as friends and partners, not the enemy. Reference: HR Bill 4393.

Both sides have long past the casual dating stage. There is now a high level of engagement which we hope will not be broken off, come what ‘MAY in November’. I’m looking for a June wedding. What says you?

Folks, that’s today’s conversation. You have the last word. Share your thoughts.

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