We need a local think tank

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Last month some of the brightest Caribbean and regional minds gathered in Barbados to talk about the most important issues in terms of risk confronting our region. Six big concerns were identified and discussed: 1. The no-deal Brexit; 2. A potential US recession; 3. Venezuela; 4. The new cold war in the Caribbean; 5. Climate change and 6. Derisking (the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from Caribbean banks by US banks).

I’m not going to discuss these topics even though I’ve written extensively in the past about the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and the new Cold War in the Caribbean involving the US, Russia, China and Taiwan. The point I want to make, or rather the question I want to pose is why we on Curaçao are not publicly discussing these matters? It baffles me that we, not only government but also NGOs, academics and the media have failed so far to create awareness about the changes and challenges our nation and region are facing.

I get it, in the beginning some of these challenges may seem negligible and remote from our lives. Politicians here are therefore more likely to postpone policy response because of the periodic cycle of elections which makes them focus on short term, day-to-day matters only. These neglegted topics could however easily end up turning into a full-blown crises.

But don’t politicians in the Caribbean and elsewhere also have to face elections periodically? That could not be the reason why rarely our Parliament discusses the future. I think it’s safe to say that politicians in general here are more involved with gossip and conversations about other people than with the shaping of our future.

We are in dire need of an independent think tank which performs research, advocacy and encourages public conversations regarding the national strategic vision, new ideas that anticipate global trends. I’m not saying that there’s no brainpower locally, but that brainpower is organised for different ends. In the civil service brainpower is engaged in mostly administrative tasks. In the private sector it’s devoted to enhancing profitability. In the university it’s devoted to academic research and teaching. We need an independent think tank to be able to tap the ideas and imagination of Yu di Kòrsou at home and abroad, as well as friends of Curaçao. Let’s stop blaming everyone  and everything we can think of  for our state of affairs. We need to challenge the status quo.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

4 thoughts on “We need a local think tank”

  1. Alex, You’re absolutely right! Sometimes I get the impression that we are mainly concerned about local issues, dealing with very personal political matters, while we seem to be blind to the world around us. I’ve already suggested to Ruben that we resume the critical attitude that we organized quite a few years ago when there was indeed such a group of critical people who expressed their opinions on matters concerning the government and related issues, like the economy, corruption, internal division, poverty, education, etc. It’s time for such a critical group to be active again, more than ever! Let me hear from you,

    The usual best

    Jopi

    On Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 10:32 PM Alex David Rosaria Blog wrote:

    > alexdavidrosaria posted: ” Last month some of the brightest Caribbean and > regional minds gathered in Barbados to talk about the most important issues > in terms of risk confronting our region. Six big concerns were identified > and discussed: 1. The no-deal Brexit; 2. A potential US r” >

    Like

    1. Jopi: If we don’t make things happen; things will continue to happen to us. I’m tired of those blaming the past, the Netherlands, US, colonialism, neo-colonialism and any other ‘ism’ you can think of. Now more than ever we need a think tank.

      Like

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