29 Questions you should ask about CSME

First Published: 2005-05-20

Government has promised a "White Paper" for discussion on the Bahamas becoming a part of the Caribbean Single Market Economy.

Twenty-nine questions to help you decide which side you are on.

1. The free movement of people is a compelling idea, but are we ready for this?

2. What guarantee do we have that there won't be a United States of the Caribbean and end of The Bahamas as an independent country?

3. How can we be sure that sometime in the future we will not be 'forced' to adopt a common Caribbean currency?

4. If a common currency is adopted will it be a floating currency, or pegged to the U.S. dollar like the Bahamian dollar is now?

5. Will a Central Bank of the Caribbean make economic decisions and monetary policy for the Bahamas?

6. How happy are you that the Central Bank of Bahamas would be nothing more than a branch satellite of the Caribbean Central Bank based in Jamaica – or Trinidad – or wherever they set it up?

7. Can you give me an example of a single currency anywhere in the world without a single taxation rate behind it?

8. How much, exactly, will it cost us to convert all our systems and so on? If you don't know, why not?

9. How will the United States view us? If the CSME countries become even more anti-American – how does that affect our number one product – American tourists?

10. How many of our laws will be subordinated to their laws in the future that we have not been told about yet?

11. Is this really not all about personal or professional advantage to some individuals who may not even support the CSME?

12. Is it worth risking a compromise of our democratic system for one that is untried and unproven?

13. What are the advantages in being part of a "supranational" state that we do not already enjoy as a separate country?

14. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Where can we read in black and white what we will be giving up if we join?

15. Putting all political correctness aside, do you honestly trust the Jamaicans, the Haitians, the Trinidadians, etc. to run our economy on our behalf?

16. If they decide to "harmonize" taxes for the region, what guarantees are there that we will forever control Bahamian Tax Policy?

17. People need to feel a part of the institutions to which they elect representatives. How do we know we will ever feel part of the Caribbean institutions? If yes, why?

18. Will we get more or less bureaucracy from CSME should we join?

19. Who will control future budgets, that is our ability to tax and spend – them or us? What guarantees do we have in writing that it will always be us who decide our budgets?

20. You say that the "days of the independent nation-state are gone". Can you therefore explain why the following countries, over the last 100 years or so have broken away from larger units to get their independence: – Ireland, Norway, Finland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bosnia, Cyprus, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Malta, Panama, virtually the whole of Africa, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, and others too numerous too mention?

21. Do you agree that any powerful body not elected by us will always put Bahamian interests above their own?

22. How would you feel if our laws were to originate in Jamaica, or Trinidad, or Haiti – or wherever they decide to make the Capital of the Caribbean?

23. Why should we join when we are not exporters?

24. Do you believe that only the Bahamian people should be allowed to elect those who make the laws under which they are governed? This is called democracy. Can you explain how we get rid of the Central Caribbean Government if they start doing things we don't like?

25. How would we deal with fraud and corruption – typical of large bureaucracies?

26. How would you feel if your local MP writes to tell you after we join the CSME that in future people who you do not elect and cannot remove will govern you?

27. What will happen if we do not join? Will CSME put trade sanctions on us?

28. Can the CSME guarantee economic freedoms for all Bahamians?

29. Which flag will be on top – the CSME Flag or the Bahamian?

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