CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Wednesday, October 19th

Folks, this is the day which the Lord has made, therefore rejoice for life. And to get right to today’s conversation, I wish today’s US Presidential debate never happen. Let me be clear. Debates such as these are essential, even critical, but not when it descends into the gutter. A spirited exchange that is hinged on real issues, must always be encouraged, not so for one that bares  the slime and grime that has defined the 2016 Race for the White House, the seat of governance here in these United States!

I honestly thought I’d left this kind of politics and campaigning behind me, many moons ago and as my dearly departed mom must be saying from her place on high, ‘that one (was) bad but this one beat (it)!’

The two previous debates were bad for what was said and the manner of the utterances. You get the feeling that they were said with hate and a lot of menace and malice. Facial expressions say it all. When a man utters one sentence and steps away, don’t underestimate him. When a woman smiles before she answers, don’t think it’s an invite to ‘bare me as you dare, mister!’

Watching rounds one and two, it’s as if the knockout punch was just one question away! And so, here I am deciding if I want to watch tonight’s third and final round of The Apprentice v The Secretary, reality TV at its lowest best or highest best!

And yet, millions are salivating at/for what lies ahead in those 90 minutes of ‘must see’ TV. Seriously?

I can hear the moderator ‘Johnny Cochrane’ cautioning the candidates just before the start…’If you can’t take the heat, you must stay out of the kitchen’.

The Donald had his face too close to the Pandora’s Box, while popping the lid, so now all the egg (or another substance of your choice), is on his face!

Folks, make no mistake, this US Presidential election on November 8, must not be taken lightly. Staying home and not voting is not an option, neither is it about Barack Obama’s legacy! Keep in the back of your mind, the election outcome and its implication for Caribbean unity and development at a time when global institutions are downgrading its worth and import.

It’s against that background that I want to share with you, the opinion of Wesley Kirton, a former Guyanese diplomat to the US. Kirton, is the director (Caricom), Outreach Aid to the Americas, based in South Florida. He writes

Dear Friends:

To say that people around the world are looking at the US presidential election campaign with disbelief would be an understatement. Never before in the history of American presidential campaigning has one candidate so consistently offended so many, so profoundly, while displaying so little respect for women, children, immigrants, muslims and others and so little knowledge of the real issues which ought to be engaging his attention.

This one candidate’s violent, misguided, untruthful, crazy and hateful rhetoric, is an embarrassment to America. Should he win the November election, it would place America in a position where it would lose the authority to lecture other countries about moral correctness, women’s rights, religious tolerance and more. And while that candidate’s victory would demonstrate democracy at work, in that the people’s choice is/must be respected, his victory would be a big blow to the democratic process itself.

While it is perhaps good strategy for the Hillary Clinton campaign to allow the other candidate to self destruct and implode, Mrs. Clinton and her team are continuing to focus on the real issues and are meeting with and addressing problems that confront the electorate, including Diaspora communities, including the Caribbean.

Secretary Clinton has already outlined what would be some of her priorities for engagement with the Caribbean and its Diaspora and continues to take on board new issues which are brought to the fore. Just last Friday, a high level team of former US officials familiar with US policy toward the Caribbean and Latin America, met with Diaspora leaders to further discuss the views of the Diaspora and the issues we need addressed when Mrs. Clinton becomes president in 2017. Friday’s meeting discussed a range of issues and recommended action regarding the Caribbean inclusive of Haiti, correspondent banking and climate change.

The Clinton campaign has accepted an invitation to participate in the second annual Florida Conference on Current Caribbean Issues: the Diaspora Discussion, to be held today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday), as part of the Florida International Trade Conference and Expo (FITCE). Representatives of the campaign will have an opportunity to hear experts discuss and offer recommendations on issues such as the impact of de-risking (correspondent banking) on the Caribbean; climate change and the impact of sea level rise; and barriers to trade and investment. These are critical issues for the Caribbean Diaspora and the Caribbean region since these negatively impact the livelihoods of people both in the US and the region.

Against this backdrop therefore, please allow me to encourage you, your family and friends to register to vote and to cast those votes for Hillary Clinton. I know that the campaigns, as reported in the media, especially television, have degenerated in recent weeks with little focus on the real issues. But please be assured that the real issues are being addressed “behind the scenes” by the Clinton campaign. The issues that negatively impact us are being addressed and solutions are being identified. Hillary isn’t perfect. None of us are, but she offers the better hope at this time for a secure future for ourselves, our children and our children’s children….our hemisphere and our world. 

And a special word to the Caribbean American community in Florida. Al Gore lost Florida and the presidency in 2000 by 537 votes. Every vote counts. As Gore said just last week at a rally in Florida “elections have consequences’! Let’s ensure that the consequences of the 2016 elections are positive ones for us all.

Our future is now in our hand. Let our hands be safe hands!


Folks, it’s summer outside, influenced by very interesting discourse from the inside, all part of today’s conversation. You have the last word, as usual. Share your thoughts and remember to take your lady, that very special someone, to see the doctor! An ounce of prevention….?



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