BY R.D. Miller
A critical strategic marriage:
Modernization is crucial, but should it mirror a nation of its former colonial power where only the ruling class, well connected and the rich rewrite the rules? China’s increasing presence globally has been the topic of many studies and publications in recent years.
Though these new inroads, may not be Chinese investments alone, many reports have shown that Caribbean islands and nations in Africa have experienced a cultural explosion of Chinese companies over the past decade. These private investments reported offering a path to better economic growth, but is it panning out for who needs it most?
Many communities are unease, and in a holding position that these investments may also a platform for the dumping of their cheap goods to maintain their economy for over a billion people of to drive an authoritarian agenda. Over the past few months, upon arrival from a few trips, I have some deep thoughts and began to look into this trend. I called a few experts and friends, and it is not doomsday.
Some of these expansions are attractive, like a hanging Pinata. However, a piñata often leaves garbage for someone else to clean up. Sadly, many political leaders from poor and developing countries look at this colorful hanging package, and it seems unavoidable to take a strike.
Unfortunately, when poor governance, economic stagnation, crime, budgets issues and getting people out of poverty, it often opens a space for forced marriages. But after the honeymoon is over, what will it take to maintain the community socio-economic and environmental relationship when the actual purpose of those marriages and the dirty laundry of high debt piles up?
“After years of laying the foundations, some economic experts claimed that several industrialized countries have politicized these inroads and only disgruntled because they missed out on these attractive investment opportunities.”
An up-close look at a few weddings.
Unwrapping the other side of these colorful gifts of those pinata weddings is not a fight against investments, but a deeper look at potential counseling and impact for the family who wasn’t invited.
Foreign inflow investments can be a good sign if it promotes safety, increases education, employment, modernize technology, local infrastructure, bringing structural barriers up to standard and more efficient in the flow of valuable goods and services, and should be considered.
But if these agreements only further an economic divide where only the politicians, wealthy investment partners benefit, are these marriages built to last where these communities especially the poor can even enjoy what maybe be left over?
China’s financial power throughout the Caribbean Community through [CARICOM] and pervasive influence is not new. Several projects from medical centers, stadiums and other businesses in Saint Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and Jamaica with low-cost loans according to reports.
China started its diplomatic engagement in the Caribbean region in the early 1970s, or what you might call its master plan. For Jamaica, this historic marriage began under the former Prime Minister, P. J. Patterson, on a high-level visit in 1998, then opened an embassy in Beijing and Caribbean Economic and Trade Co-operation was forged.
In 2005, Jamaica hosted the first China-Caribbean trade show, and this trend persists, while the people who elected these decision-makers as it seems continue to have no say in what is coming.
Recent reports noted that, Jamaica alone owes $650 million and growing debt to China, even a toll they financed around 65 km, one-way—collected by the Chinese developer makes driving the road an expensive journey for most Jamaicans.
While several loans aid development projects and have their advantages, but they need to be closely scrutinized, especially ones that may pose danger later to the environment. They may carry risks, and “debt trap” or one-sided diplomacy, as others have noted in various places?
One person argued that, “a loan was highlighted for border security, and when did Jamaica and China have border issues? “The country is not having political turmoil by and the local populations not fleeing their nearby islands, parishes, or counties.”
You are not alone:
Forbes also pointed out that China has also spread into a significant player in the acceleration of urbanization in Africa, as a huge percentage of the continent’s infrastructure initiatives are led by Chinese companies and/or supported by Chinese funding. China is now Africa’s biggest trade partner, with Sino-African trade topping $200 billion per year.
Though many African and Asian countries are seeing the same push and joined the Polygamist families; according to many experts, China’s “socialist market economy (SOEs), and its interests in Africa are geared toward securing enough energy, resources, and minerals to feed its industrialization program. Again, it will be up to the experts to decide if other industrialized countries should make a deeper push for a piece of this pie.
Who has authority in these marriages or debt diplomacy:
This is a delicate balance because often the decisions made in most poor and developing countries are political, and the leaders of the ruling party in most of those final agreements have a unilateral pen.
Who are all the investors and beneficiaries in the long run many asked as more people are talking freely via social media?
Simply put, do they have a choice when the milk has already been taken from the cow, and it is ready to graze on a set of green grass without the gates to stop them from entering.
Analyzing the fate of the outside region can be difficult, but who stands with the investment bankers for the poor, or is it always an economic investment or hidden exploitation?
“You cannot undergo a trade deal expansion or any other development, and only to find your international competitiveness reduced.” Where are the long-term economic gains to local populations to improve their standard of living?”
The concern is that when these investors’ ATMs start knocking for payments, and if those countries cannot afford to repay, they will have the power to dictate where they build and explore new precious land areas as collateral.
Many experts have pointed out that poverty is rarely transformed. These arrangements often resemble colonization with a new face. Many see only locally grown products and businesses reduced to tiny corners, such as information carriers covered by international news clips, while they push local customs and cultural identity to the back rack of these new isles.
Some argued that when they arrived, they brought their staff, and the locals are out of work in all management positions to earn a decent salary. Although new businesses have contributed to the decline in employment rates, poverty remains acute because of underemployment, low-skilled jobs, with little or no protection of employees.
Everything on the table, the ocean, and the hills.
There are also reports that leaders are preparing to grant exploration permits, has already sold or lease famous undeveloped mountains that are vital to the ecosystem of the environment. Some have argued that the new arrangements result in personal financial gains, even after leaders leaving elected offices.
Very often the downtrodden are abandoned or used like experimental rats. The long-term health problem of potential mining carries risks.
Unfortunately, when several manufacturers once principal and engine of these nations have been closing over the past decade, and more privatization, it leaves many locals a few places to look for a good-paying job. Some of these new businesses are important, but should a rescue result in more toxins that could lead to other health problems and force local farmers out of business?
Has anyone analyzed the effect of current non-operational mining plants and their impact?
Today, contaminants may have affected the health of the local population, and coastal lines marine life because of the poor drainage system from the previous bauxite mining industry.
While it has generated economic gains from inland to offshore, tax revenues, employment, goods, and other services to the national government. It also had a lasting negative impact when several areas abandoned after the minerals were extracted, processed, and shipped out.
If they do not regenerate these zones, by planting trees or other facilities; with each rain, a poor drainage system, runoff can also collect waste from paved surfaces and deposit it into the water, bypassing the wastewater treatment plants.
Besides several environmental reports have shown that mining affects the quality of water, soil, and air, degradation of forests, and availability of water. Also, it can create erosion in other places several miles from its operations. Even heavy fishing in the Caribbean experts noted can cause the death of coral reefs within 20 years.
The ongoing debate locally, and in many other poor and developing countries, the lack of transparency, accountability, even corruption, and ignorance as reported have created frustration, distrust, and violence.
What may yet to come: Seeing the impact of this wedding upfront-from both sides.
Tropical coral reefs play a crucial role in the Earth’s ecosystem. If the coral reef continues to disappear now, the beauty and marine life of the island will suffer. Not only does it contribute to air quality, but it also allows a local fisher to fish in uncontaminated waters, free from toxins and bacteria, to support his family and attract tourists
During a recent trip with a couple of friends and family, we took a glass-bottom boat on a quick tour. Our travel guide tried to convince us it is the best coral in the region. Looks like somebody extinguished a fire under the ocean in some areas. Warmer temperatures are noted on these islands as well.
I thought, maybe he has never been to other areas in the Caribbean where there seem to be more environmentally friendly policies to explore what a flourishing coral reef should look like, or he’s just doing his job. Many coral reefs are like dying plants on land that could use fresh water under the sea. For the 20-minute walk, only a few small fish showed up as if they too wanted to escape.
A fading culture from the hillside covered in silent gentrification.
Several viewers realized the hidden stratification dilemma on Sunday, November 17, 2014, after CNN broadcast Part Unknown by the late Anthony Bourdain.
This memorable episode illustrates a deep tide that uprooted the soul from those shores and other places. This lovely island, which shares many of our heritage with a global image, few are ready to exchange their soul for financial gain.
Very often it seems, some use the cool vibrations of one love while quietly threatens the native culture and its surroundings?
Driving on undeveloped coasts can be breathtaking, and places where you forget your phone numbers and flight time. However, for many residents, a quick race to the beach on a hot day becomes just a no-cost idea that development has reduced areas for relaxation and they have to drive for miles to other areas.
I had my doubts whether a young police officer with a modest salary can run a house in certain areas that they will patrol to keep his residents and visitors safe or when they cool-off at a local beach?
While new development from new investments may provide an employment opportunity for a local artist to support his family, selling handmade souvenirs leading to these doors, imagine forbidding citizens to go to a public park. A local street seller talked about his legal struggle to stay on one of the last beaches free from excessive development another person mentioned.
Jamaica is not just a question of toughness, reggae music, crime, marijuana, and one of the best places to relax. Under the broad smile that welcomes you and the cool vibrations, it is more complex than its legislative body to the street vendor.
One person mentioned, “these now closed shores are self-inflicted injuries by local people.” When it was free, they littered the area with garbage and other questionable activities, and nobody takes the trouble to put it away.” But where should they find the right balance? ”
Economic and environmental policies aimed at improving living standards should not only benefit investors regardless of their location. There has to be a balance while protecting their environment. Any policy that further restricts upward mobility and potential health hazard experts noted creates conflict, violence, and isolation for social equality and economic survival.
I’m not an authority on global climate change because the equipment may be still on its way, but development permits, with little or input or if their recommendation is ignored, that may lead to dangerous climate change issues, regardless of the political side, everyone will suffer.
This is why the local environmental agency has to be autonomous and qualified because the public must have access to any findings, recommendations, and even names and heads of companies pursuing to explore, and the long-term impact reviews.
It takes two to Tango to maintain this rich history
If local, international or influential people who care do not hold elected officials and even powerful environmental agencies accountable, where does it stop the sand from being gently swept under their feet?
The failure of the leadership very often and perhaps the inability to protect the natural beauty of these islands seems to have diminished. Now, as it seems, a shift from long-term manufacturing to a service-based economy on these shores has crates more imports that exports.
Like most poor and developing countries, economic stagnation, corruption, lack of opportunities, often create criminal enterprise, violence, more division if some people feel that they are being pushed out of their economy and concerns are overlooked.
Lets date again we have time
I may not have a place or a vote on the next stop, but share some of your back yards, and remain hopeful that environmental and socio-economic policies can co-exist through a balanced approach
We love and treasure you always, wishing only the best for everyone. One love!
As Burning Spear, one of the favorite reggae stars of Jamaica put it in a song, “My island don’t sell.”