LACC Caribbean Working Paper Series

The Caribbean Potential: Reimagining the Region’s Policy Frameworks

Dr. Georges A. Fauriol, Former Vice President of Grants Operations and Evaluation, National Endowment for Democracy and Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium
January 2021
The Caribbean enters 2021 outside many of the violent crosshairs affecting the rest of the world, but a mix of factors, notably the global pandemic, an uncertain economic outlook, an unsteady US policy footprint now merging into a new administration in Washington, and an expanding politico-humanitarian crisis with Venezuela, are going to test Caribbean national leadership and will require a more robust regional consensus to emerge. The region’s layered institutional machinery anchored in democratic norms, and the emergence of the southern Caribbean as a heavyweight oil and gas producer, can provide major buffers to effectively tackle the confluence of factors affecting the region. But unless deployed strategically to benefit the Caribbean’s future, those same assets will also shape a much bleaker future. +Full paper

The Southern Caribbean Energy Matrix and the Consequences of the Regional Push for Renewable Energy

Dr. Anthony T. Bryan, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of International Relations of the University of The West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Senior Associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium
March 2021
The current energy landscape of the Southern Caribbean and Northern South America is complex. The Guyana-Suriname Basin (GSB) is emerging as the Holy Grail of new oil provinces. In trying to achieve cooperation in energy security and complete the transition from dependence on fossil fuels, there are game changing financial opportunities for the Southern Caribbean and Northern South America. Concurrently, there are serious challenges and impacts on domestic economies, political governance, energy security, geopolitics, regional and international cooperation, and environmental protections. Continued investment by the international oil companies (IOCs) in the GSB, and national oil company (NOC) investment in northern South America are the current exceptions to the global trend of a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Oil and gas will be around for decades to come, but the warning signs are clear. We are witnessing a dress rehearsal for a structural decline in the oil and gas industry that can threaten traditional resource development models. Agencies in the GSB countries responsible for the petroleum sector, finance ministries involved in planning, and political leaders will need to adjust their goals and acknowledge the risks inherent in this volatile sector. It is important for them to understand the changes, work with different scenarios to support their planning, and update their policies and systems. A more fundamental re-evaluation of policy goals may also be necessary. The risks associated with fiscal dependence on the fossil fuel sector should be clearly understood. The old mantra of economic diversification is emphasized. +Full paper

Health Geopolitics in the Contemporary Caribbean

Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, Senior Associate, Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Fellow, Caribbean Policy Consortium
May 2021
This paper examines the health geopolitical implications of COVID-19 in the Caribbean, including its scope and impact on the region, the pandemic diplomacy conducted by the United States, China, India, and other great powers, and Cuba’s leveraging of its medical capabilities to punch above its weight globally. The study suggests that the dawn of the Age of COVID-19 has added to the region’s geopolitical complexity, accentuating the importance of health geopolitics. It argues that COVID-19 has been testing the political and diplomatic adroitness of leaders in navigating the turbulent geopolitical high seas where the United States, China, Russia, and India have been jockeying to secure more geopolitical gains. +Full Paper

US-Caribbean Relations in Biden Administration Year 1

Sir Ronald Sanders, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organization of American States
April 2022
When Joseph R Biden became the President of the United States, on January 20, 2021, he inherited a reactionary and indifferent policy toward the Caribbean. To the extent the policy had any meaning, it was based on the determination of his predecessor, Donald Trump, to secure the votes of Latin American and Caribbean exiles and disgruntled persons, especially in South Florida which he calculated he had to win to be re-elected President in 2020. In this connection, Trump had developed a virulent anti-Cuba posture and an equally hostile attitude to Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela. It was against this background that President Biden came into office. The time was, therefore, ripe to shift toward a meaningful Caribbean policy. But his administration has failed to elaborate and roll out a specific Caribbean policy and he has certainly not attempted to consult with the Caribbean leadership on what such a policy should look like. In year 1, the Biden administration did not establish a policy toward the Caribbean, except in relation to Cuba and China. In year 2, the Biden administration should remedy this neglectful situation which has encouraged Caribbean governments to gravitate to other nations, especially China, that have extended much needed economic and financial cooperation. +Full paper