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To waive or not to waive

Monday, April 2, 2018

The nation is yet to have a credible explanation as to what really happened regarding proposals to waive Dominica’s Organisation of American States fees and the country’s official position on the matter.

The irony in all this is that whoever took issue with the waiving of the fees had at least a point (shame that he or she then decided to throw our representative at the OAS under a diplomatic bus).

Our geographical location means that Caribbean islands are always exposed to major natural disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding or volcanic eruptions can strike at any time. This is our reality, as pretty much every country, over the years, can attest.

Ad hoc decisions, even when well intended, can have unexpected long term consequences. What would be the criteria, in future years, for similar waiving of fees to other natural disaster-torn countries? What is the threshold for help – scale of damage, GDP per capita, debt levels? Should a joint fund be created to help nations in distress with their international obligations?

In fact, none of these questions have been answered – and they should be.

Once the Prime Minister emerges from his Easter break, together with dealing with whoever is responsible for this diplomatic faux pas, perhaps he could also explain Trinidad and Tobago’s preferred policy to help hurricane-ravaged neighbours, with the ever important detailed criteria. That would go some way towards fixing the mess.

Easter hope

Pope Francis’ Easter message focused on Syria’s plight, where its citizens have been going through seven years of a horrific civil war, with thousands dead and many more displaced.

In his message, he said he hoped the light of the risen Christ would ‘illuminate the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course; that humanitarian law may be respected; and that provisions be made to facilitate access to the aid so urgently needed’.

Although human nature tends to suggest otherwise, let’s hope he will be heard.

Kite time

Sometimes the simple things make most sense. This Easter long weekend, it is a pleasure to see families enjoying kite flying together in our parks and green spaces.

This is more than sentimental longing for an innocent past that never existed. It’s because better adults need to enjoy better childhoods, and family play is a key element to achieve that.


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