The Ward Post Bi-Monthly Brief
Vol. 2. No. 2. (March – April 2017)
The Ward Post Bi-Monthly Brief brings together in one convenient location a synopsis of, and links to the TWP blogs posted during the two previous months.
Remittances Are Not Faceless, Mr. Trump! (04/30/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
On March 30, 2017, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) introduced H.R. 1813, the Border Wall Funding Act of 2017, which, if enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, would impose a 2% fee on all remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Mr. Rogers’ Bill was co-sponsored by eight of his Republican colleagues. The Bill has been referred to the relevant House Committees for consideration. As members of the immigrant community, members of the Caribbean Diaspora must send a very strong message to Mr. Rogers and President Donald Trump: Taxing Remittances to build your Wall is not an option!
Good News for Caribbean Integration, or Not? (04/22/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
I like good news. I welcome any news that indicates, even marginally, that Caribbean integration is on a positive path. It is a sad fact that good news on Caribbean integration has been a rarity. There has been a great deal of dissatisfaction with the pace of implementation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME). One major issue is lack of full implementation of the free movement of nationals of CARICOM member states in the region.… Now the good news, or is it?
Drums of War Resonates Across America (04/14/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
What’s next for America – War or Peace? Will the Drums of War grow louder, or will diplomacy and peace triumph? While there is hope, the future doesn’t look so good for peace. It appears from statements by President Donald Trump that U.S. military leadership is in total control of how, when and where a military response is used in furtherance of U.S. geopolitical and geostrategic objectives. Antithetical to this new reality is that the State Department is being sidelined, and diplomacy will be a postscript when military intervention fails….
Trinidad Considers hanging as Murders Continue Unabated (04/13/2017) Adam Raffoul
(Port of Spain, Trinidad) The last time Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj was Attorney General he successfully hanged Trinidad and Tobago’s Most Wanted Drug Lord, Dole Chadee. It was 1999 and the murder toll for the entire year was 93. Fast forward to 2017, Trinidad and Tobago’s murder count has reached 144, and it is only April. At this rate, the murder count will cross 500, a number not seen since 2008. Despite rapid economic growth in the 2000s, our murder rate has skyrocketed. The last two decades have been the most violent in our nation’s history. A recent US State Department Crime and Safety report stated that most of our murders can be attributed to street gangs in Trinidad’s urban ghettos, fighting for turf. Drugs, guns and money, combined with poverty, broken homes and a failing justice system, together create a toxic mix.
Tomahawks Over Syria; Trump’s Impusive Response to Assad’s Carnage (04/10/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
No civilized society should tolerate or ignore crimes against humanity. The use of chemical weapons, internationally outlawed, is a war crime. The chemical weapon attack which took place on April 4, 2017 at the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria was carried out by aircraft. As at this writing, no evidence has been offered proving Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s responsibility for the chemical weapons attack which killed more than 80 people, almost half of them children. However, the fact that Assad had used chemical weapons in the past, in particular in 2013, verified by the United Nations Security Council, left little doubt in most minds of his guilt…. I am not here arguing guilt or innocence. It’s difficult to argue innocence given Assad’s record of killing hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians using conventional and chemical weapons.
When Girls Go Missing – Is it Trafficking? (03/29/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
There was a time when a young girl or boy failed to return home on schedule an alarm would be raised that the child is a runaway. There are other reasons. While runaways are often due to social and/or economic conditions, or abuse at home we know now recognize human trafficking as a reason. This is in no way intended to overlook or under-emphasize other crimes against girls, including child abuse, abduction, rape, or murder. The scourge of human trafficking plagues all countries and has become one of the greatest challenges facing society. One would never know this from mainstream media which is more often preoccupied with other issues of far lesser impact on human lives and human security.
Trump Presidency has Consequences for the Caribbean (03/23/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
As a keen observer and analyst of American politics and government over the past several decades, I find the policies of the Donald Trump presidency so far to be disconcerting. Increased geopolitical uncertainty and instability across several regions now seem more probable than at any time in recent history. American leadership generally, and its valuable financial contributions to international and regional organizations, such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, as well as America’s financial support for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank have served to facilitate global stability, and have contributed significantly to fostering democracy, rule of law, and economic development, including in this hemisphere. A U.S. pull-back from a constructive leadership role in global affairs, including development assistance, will have unpredictable, long-term negative implications for world order.
Human Trafficking a Threat to Caribbean Human Security (03/04/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
In September 2009, I gave a lecture at the National Defence University in Washington DC/USA addressing Human Trafficking in the International Context for Combating Transnational Threats. As I pointed out then, transnational threats and challenges, of which human trafficking is the focus of this discussion, also include trafficking in illegal drugs, illicit arms trafficking, and international terrorism. These criminal activities are supported by many other illegal activities, including travel document fraud, money laundering, corruption, and multiple other related crimes. Because of the linked and overlapping nature of these international criminal activities, one has to approach these challenges and develop solutions to them in a holistic manner…. The seriousness of this crime cannot be overstated in terms of human suffering and the loss of human lives in many cases. Children and women are more often the victims of human trafficking.
Corruption Matters Cut Links to Transnational Crimes (03/03/2017) Ambassador Curtis Ward
A recent headline in The Gleaner Jamaica newspaper, (26 Feb. 2017), 6-Month Deadline! – Holness Gives Cabinet Members Time to Prove Their Worth gave me pause and reason to celebrate. At least so I thought. Why was I celebrating? I totally misinterpreted the meaning of the word “Worth.” My initial interpretation was that the Prime Minister Andrew Holness-led government was beginning a process to make it difficult for Cabinet Ministers, and hopefully the entire corps of public officials at all levels, to hide their wealth. Transparency in the economic and financial assets of public officials is the first step in reducing corruption, real or perceived, which tends to plague Jamaican and other Caribbean societies. I whispered under my breath, “Great move Prime Minister Holness!”…. My joy was short-lived. As I read the article I felt betrayed. The Prime Minister was not talking about economic and financial assets. His reference to “Worth” meant job performance.