Notes From The Margin

July 6, 2007

Passport blues….

Filed under: Barbados,Capitalism,Caribbean,Globalisation,politicians,terrorism,tourism,USA,WTO — notesfromthemargin @ 9:06 pm

The Caribbean continues to try in vain to get the US to repeal it’s new passport regulations. The Caribbean is not on the strongest ground here because the US views this as a form of protecting themselves in the war on terror. The thing that is almost embarrassing about it is that no one in the Caribbean seems to want to publicly recognise that. We go on and on hoping for the US to do something which we all know it considers to be fundamentally against its own interest, and then act surprised or worse yet wounded when they don’t do it.

The Caribbean’s otherwise weak arguments are further undermined by the fact that Barbados has required Americans to have passports for some time now and does not seem to have suffered unduly. I’m not saying that Barbados is somehow at fault here or that it should change it’s position, I’m just saying the Caribbean might do well to stop acting like chicken little going on about the sky falling, and look at Barbados as perhaps a case study.

My take on this is that

1. The US will eventually require passports for everyone to come in or out of the USA. Any delays in that day coming are for the US’ convenience not for anyone else.

2. The perceived advantage of the US territories is not necessarily as great as some people argue.

3. The chicken little act is a waste of time and energy, let’s work pro-actively to promote our destinations in a passport carrying world.

Finally let’s recognise that in this world the “Please take pity on the small poor developing island”, isn’t going to amount to a pile of seashells in front of a rising tide. Let’s craft a better offer to entice visitors to our shores. Let’s develop innovative marketing to attract peoples interest. Let’s have islands that are a joy for tourists to visit, and a pleasure for locals to live in.

Yes it’s not as easy as begging the US to do something that makes no sense, but at least the chances of success are higher.

Marginal.

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