Of turquoise waters gently moistening warm sun-drenched white sands, set against an island-scape of palm trees, scented by rum drinks and heavily seasoned foods, is representative of many imaginations of what is indicative of the Caribbean. This is the Caribbean - or at least, some aspects of it, of which there are many with variations categorized by the individual beholder.
My navel-string, like that also of the calypso-educator, the "Mighty Gabby" , and that of many others, is buried in the Caribbean. This collection of small islands, with common landscapes of tranquil beaches gracing the Caribbean Sea on western coasts, and the mighty Atlantic Ocean in the east, share many common characteristics; yet, stark differences, in respect to topography, language, religion and identity remain very much in evidence.
From the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe to the Dutch islands of Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba, to Spanish-speaking Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to the former British colonies of Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia and the Bahamas, the nature of the Caribbean today, yesterday and into 2015, is etched upon history and upon the acceptance of geo-political limitations imposed on the region tempered against the economic might and influence of others in the international community.
Thus, in 2015, the Caribbean could be expected to continue its tradition as host to many international visitors while determining its own local government out of a series of squabble that have become common place from Guyana, to Barbados to Trinidad and Jamaica.
With the recent move to normalize diplomatic relations between the United States(US) and Cuba, 2015 holds out much hope to Cuba. But will new interest in Cuba subtract from attention and investment interest elsewhere in the region?
Parliamentary procedural matters skirting on constitutional and electoral issues will effect governments in Haiti and Guyana and possibly Barbados in 2015. Immigration issues will dominate national debate in gas and oil rich Trinidad and Tobago in early 2015. National energy and economic concerns along with an immigration squabble with Trinidad and Tobago, will continue in Jamaica in 2015.
While a possible European economic slow down could have a ripple financial impact on the Caribbean in 2015, the islands, having a hardy appetite and a crucial necessity for tourist dollars, will look to the east, and especially China, to shore up their incomes. Caribbean islands will offer a number of visitor incentives to China in 2015.
Radicalized Islam will remain an issue of concern in the Caribbean into 2015 particularly in Trinidad and Tobago. But the Caribbean should remain mainly peaceful and stable in 2015 except for some political rumblings emerging in Guyana and on a few other islands.
Guyanese President Donald Ramotar recently suspended the parliament to prevent a no-confidence vote against him from taking place. The opposition parties, A Party for National Unity(APNU) and the Alliance for Change(AFC), have been demanding transparency from the government of its infrastructural spending. The president has accused the opposition of placing its agenda above that of the development of the country. These political differences will continue into 2015.
To appease protesting Haitians who are angry over the lack of overdue legislative and municipal elections, President Michel Martelly, has sought and has attained the resignation of his friend and business partner, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. In seeking the prime minister's resignation, President Martelly acted upon the recommendations of a special commission that had been en-paneled to resolve a long-running dispute between the government and opposition that has delayed elections in Haiti. The commission has also called for dismissal of the country's Supreme Court.
And if an election is not called in Haiti by January 12, 2015, the parliament will be forced closed. Prime Minister Lamothe, a graduate of the University of Miami, and entrusted over recent years to bring business to Haiti, is expected to run for the president role in 2015.
Still recovering from the effects of an earthquake five years ago, Haiti has known prolonged suffering since its independence of 1804. But the spirit of the Haitian people has always been strong and in 2015, Haitians will make the decision on how stability and prosperity is brought to the land.
Trinidad and Tobago:
The Trinidad and Tobago government has given undocumented aliens on the island until January 2015 to rectify their status or face deportation. Authorities, championed by Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, claim there are some 110,000 illegal immigrants which represents ten percent of the population in Trinidad and Tobago. Describing the immigration condition as "unacceptable", Trinidadian officials will go from door-to-door on the island in 2015, in search of illegal aliens to deport out of the country. Trinidad's planned actions on immigration will pit it against Guyana and Jamaica on the immigration issue in 2015.
Jamaica's future lies in its people and concerns over energy and police actions could be solved in 2015. With an angelic beautiful Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna, Jamaica has a direct communicator with its youth to avert any youthful troubles other countries will experience in 2015.
The sun will shine more brightly on Cuba in 2015 once the benefits of the island coming in from the cold, and the normalizing of relations, with the US are realized. But the momentum for normalcy should not be allowed to slow in 2015.
Political issues brought by differences of the economic policies and agendas between the government and the opposition should not be tolerated to hold the continued development of the island up for ransom in 2015. Politicians should be reminded that they are servants of the people, and in spite of differences, their service must be conducted for the public good on behalf of all the people, and not one particular political party or another.
The lure of the beaches and the mannerly hospitality of the Caribbean will carry on into 2015. Pressures, socially and economically, will not be sufficient to render any noticeable changes to the peace and serenity of the beautiful isles in 2015.