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Commentary: Contributors' criticism notebook!
Published on March 11, 2017Email To Friend    Print Version

By Jean H Charles

Being a regular contributor, I take time to read the news and the essays on Caribbean News Now with the same passion and attention that I do in reaching out to my news from the Guardian or the New York Times.

Jean H Charles LLB, MSW, JD, is a regular contributor to the opinion section of Caribbean News Now.  He can be reached at
My criticism with the readers of CNN is very few of them, at least those in the Caribbean region, take time to send an opinion in response to these essays, contrary to readers from the United States, Europe or even the Dominican Republic, who react with engagement to every published material. The passion to engage the contributor with comments (minus insults) is a citizenship duty that will enrich not only the writer but also the region. After all we are all human, we are expecting a cuddle or advice to improve or do better.

On Donald Trump and the gold standard of the American passport

In an essay this week by Armand Arton entitled Trump's travel ban backfires - Mexican passports could soon be worth more than American, it is indicated that Singapore, Sweden and Germany will take the lead in the ranking on the number of countries the citizens of these nations can visit without requiring a visa in their passport. I am surprised Holland is not in that high ranking because, after all, it seems the status of a nation on a welcoming path is indicative of the wealth of the citizens of that nation.

The American passport and the American visitor will continue to remain a sought after instrument as long as America remains a strong and wealthy nation. I have often commented on the status of Singapore in the world, a true leading country that needs to take a stronger leadership role in teaching how to treat one’s citizens in this world, Anyhow, the Donald Trump doctrine of “America First” is leading the United States into uncharted territory; it is too early to cry defeat or wolf.

On Donald Trump and his detractors

I am watching with passion and interest how President Trump is being knocked down by detractors of all size: the media, the women, the stars, the die-hard Hillary Clinton fans and the operatives of the Democrat Party. He did not enjoy the free 100 days honeymoon usually accorded to new heads of government. It is true he has been a good student of the doctrine that the head of a nation, like a good pilot of an airplane, must engage the plane with all its strength to succeed a smooth takeoff towards a pleasing cruising altitude.

The executive orders on immigration and all other matters have fallen like spring showers, provoking all types of adverse reaction. It was Nicholas Machiavelli, the great counsel of kings and princes, who advised that, on bringing in a new order, you will occasion riots and palace coups.

Mexico might be objecting to the building of a wall that will separate America from Latin America. There is now a Mexican wall that separates Mexico from Guatemala. In addition, staying at home will hasten the development of one’s country. No more pretext for evading the hard task of nation building. Mexico, or Haiti as a matter of fact, should react with their own doctrine of “Mexico or Haiti first”, their citizens would cease to be treated as international nomads. Prosperity would happen faster in Mexico or Haiti.

Remembering Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, did not hesitate to fight the whole American and the entire world establishment to dismantle the slavery standard that only the republic of Haiti challenged half a century earlier, it seems I am a Republican at heart.

Donald Trump is bringing in a new order based on America first, challenging the neoliberal doctrine of the Bush and the Clinton era. It has caused countless steady jobs of the industrial belt to leave America towards China and others countries of South East Asia with dubious economic results in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, on the issue of kinship with Russia, would it be nice if Trump was playing with Putin the Kissinger diplomatic handball foray that led to the America-Sino rapprochement, easing tension in the world with the giant tiger nation.

On woman’s international day

As I write this essay on March 8, Women’s International Day, it is comforting that Sophie Gregoire Trudeau; the wife of the Canadian prime minister is encouraging women to celebrate men in their lives who usher their way into liberation. It will lead more men to do same. I remember 40 years ago when the women’s movement was in its infancy, I advised the militant women in my class at Columbia University to include men in the women’s movement. In hindsight, the fight would have been easier; the women’s movement would have had a better lifespan of success today.

On nation building in the Caribbean

I had some eight years ago set out a road map for the growth and the development of the Caribbean, I take time to re-read the essay from time to time to make the observation we did not go that far in implementing any of the suggestions.

But for the CBI programs, most of the countries in the Caribbean would have been in the deep red; not one of the island nations, except for the Dominican Republic, albeit treated as an orphan of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is practicing a true integrated approach to development, offering a varied menu of growth sectors such as agriculture, business services, high education, tourism and light industry that would incite the citizens to stay and be happy at home.

As I look at the news showing the rigor of the winter in Canada, the United States and Europe, I often cogitate how lucky we in the Caribbean should feel, having been placed in a lookalike paradise setting, except as sons and daughters of Cain, we keep transforming the islands into a true purgatory and blaming God for placing us there.

To conclude, it would be a bonanza for the region if the editor of Caribbean News Now could organize by contributor the excellent essays produced for the magazine reproduced in book format, leaving for posterity, materials for students and for lovers of the region, enhancing and enriching their education of the Caribbean.
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Richard Charron:

Perhaps more comments would be offered if the commenting process were facilitated. Why not use discus or someone like that to make the process easier.


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